Knight Foundation Awards $1 Million to Boost Civic Engagement

Knight Foundation Awards $1 Million to Boost Civic Engagement

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced more than $1 million in grants to eleven projects aimed at making San Jose a more vibrant place to live and work.

Led by a range of nonprofit and urban development organizations, several of the projects will focus on transforming the city's public spaces into active hubs that serve to connect the community and improve civic life. From a network of protected bicycling lanes, to learning opportunities designed to help city officials design more vibrant public spaces, to programs that empower people to get more involved in shaping the community's future, the projects are designed to create a more vibrant and engaged San Jose built for and by its residents. The projects also tackle some of the city's most pressing problems, including a lack of affordable housing, traffic-caused deaths and injuries, and low civic engagement.

Recipients of the grants, which range from $28,00 to $280,000, include California Walks ($150,000), which will use the funds to support the launch of Walk San Jose, the city's first pedestrian advocacy program; SV@Home ($75,000), which works to increase employment opportunities for people in underserved communities; San Jose Taiko ($45,000), which will work to connect the city's diverse residents by launching Yokoso!, a project designed to promote and preserve the unique neighborhood feel of Japantown; and YWCA Silicon Valley ($30,000), which aims to build grassroots leadership capacity in San Jose and Santa Clara County by engaging underrepresented communities, especially young women of color, to shape the priorities and implementation framework of a "Women's Bill of Rights" ordinance.

"At the root of these projects is the idea that San Jose, like all cities, must be built for people — encompassing public spaces that connect and energize, streets that make walking and biking irresistible, and pathways that open access to local decision-making for all residents," said Danny Harris, Knight Foundation program director for San Jose.

For a complete list of the funded projects, see the Knight Foundation website.

(Photo credit: San Jose Taiko)