Four Philly Projects Named 2016 Knight Cities Challenge Winners
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced the winners of the 2016 Knight Cities Challenge April 12, and this year’s 37 winners include four projects from Philadelphia.
The foundation received more than 4,500 answers to the question it posed: “What’s your best idea to make cities more successful?” The 37 winning ideas will each get a share of $5 million in grant money distributed through the challenge. All of them aim at helping cities attract and keep talented people, expand economic opportunities and create a culture of civic engagement.
This year’s Philadelphia winners of the Knight Cities Challenge are:
20 Book Clubs, 20 Co-op Businesses: The Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance will receive $146,000 to launch book clubs in 20 city neighborhoods whose members will read and learn about cooperative businesses and then form their own.
Breaking Bread, Breaking Barriers: The foundation awarded $84,674 to this idea that will use the city’s great multicultural food emporium, the Reading Terminal Market, to build bridges between immigrant communities via cooking classes featuring market chefs specializing in various ethnic cuisines.
The Institute of Hip-Hop Entrepreneurship: Little Giant Creative’s proposal to use hip-hop as a hands-on business training tool for low-income Philadelphians will receive $308,640.
The Little Music Studio: Group Melvin Design’s traveling playground for musicians, aimed at breaking down community barriers, will get $334,050 to put the show on the road.
The four winners from Philadelphia give the city the second-largest contingent of Knight Cities Challenge winners this year. Only Detroit, with five, had more. The winning entries represent 19 of the 26 communities in which the Knight Foundation invests.
“At its core, the Knight Cities Challenge is about discovering and connecting civic innovators, creative interventionists who inspire positive change,” said Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation president, in a news release. “The winners reflect this goal. Their ideas have the potential to create stronger communities and spaces that spur learning, engagement and growth.”
Two of this year’s winners have connections to last year’s winning crop of projects. Group Melvin Design won a 2015 Knight Cities Challenge grant for its Pop-Up Pool Project, and Reading Terminal Market General Manager Anuj Gupta was the executive director of Mt. Airy USA when it received a Knight Cities Challenge grant for the Immigrant Innovation Hub last year.