Charlotte is one of the fastest growing cities in the country and makes regular appearances on various “best cities for…” lists. The continuous construction of apartments and shopping centers is visible evidence of how quickly Charlotte is growing.
Alongside private development, the city and county are working hard to keep up with our population growth. They’re building new schools, connecting utilities, and paving new roads. Things like housing, infrastructure and transit make up the foundational framework of a city.
But in my opinion, it is the people and the community that we create that is the heart and soul of a city. And so, in the midst of all this growth, I can’t help but wonder, “How is our city growing as a community?” and “Who is tending to the heart and soul of Charlotte?”
And this is why, as a member of the Charlotte Community Advisory Committee for the Knight Foundation, I am excited about the Knight Cities Challenge. The Knight Foundation is looking for great ideas that will make a city successful, particularly ideas that touch on the heart and soul of a city: the people.
Anyone with ideas that focus on attracting and retaining talent, expanding economic opportunity and creating a culture of civic engagement are welcome to submit their idea at www.knightcities.org for a share of $5 million dollars. The Knight Cities Challenge application is intentionally short and simple to make it accessible and easy to share your ideas.
We focus on the three areas of talent, opportunity, and engagement because research has shown that the best cities do these things well. We look at talent because the percentage of college-educated people in a city is one of the best predictors of economic success. We want to invest in ideas that expand economic opportunity because economic opportunity and upward mobility are at the core of the American Dream. And, we want to explore innovative ways to foster and cultivate civic engagement because the strength and sustainability of our democracy depends on it.
We also want to invest in people, especially people with the vision and courage to see possibility and the tenacity, know-how, and commitment to discovery necessary to see a project come to life. Whether you love this city and have the passion and ideas to make it even better or you don’t love it yet and have suggestions for improvements, we want to hear from you!
The Knight Cities Challenge is an open invitation to have a conversation about how we grow as a community and how we tend to the heart and soul of our city. Let’s talk.
Facts about the Knight Cities Challenge
- $5 million dollars is awarded
- There are 26 Knight cities – Charlotte is one of them.
- Application has 3 questions + 100 word limit per response
- Ideas due at noon on October 27
- Individuals, non-profits, businesses are all welcome to apply.
Last year’s Charlotte winners
No Barriers Project – Sarah Hazel
‘Porch Swings’ in Public Places – Tom Warshauer
Take Ten Initiative – Alyssa Dodd
Want more info? Attend this session
Date: Thursday, October 8
Time: 6 p.m. to 8pm
Place: @809, 809 W. Hill St, Charlotte, NC
More questions? Ask me @amychiou or @knightfdn #knightcities or visit www.knightcities.org