The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced investments totaling $2.2 million in support of nine projects aimed at advancing equitable community development and driving digital innovation in Philadelphia neighborhoods.
The foundation's investments in public spaces include grants of $687,775 to John Bartram Association (Bartram's Garden) to support digital and in-person youth-oriented leadership opportunities; $624,244 to the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in support of "Southwest Tree Tenders," a community-centered stewardship program; and $250,000 to Mural Arts Philadelphia to establish resident-led programming and engagement for FloatLab, a new floating dock, classroom, and performance space. Digital innovation investments include $145,000 to Friends of the Rail Park to create and utilize digital engagement tools and a digital archive; $60,000 to Smith Memorial Playground to support the launch of new virtual programming models that enhance in-person engagement and enrich playful learning experiences; and $40,000 to Our Plan (Akira Drake Rodriguez and Ken Steif) to develop a scalable, collaborative planning process and Web-based tool that engages community residents around community values, cultural and historic preservation, housing affordability, and future land use within their neighborhoods.
"The pandemic taught us that communities need better access to quality spaces and digital services to be more engaged in community," said Kelly Jin, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives. "As we continue to recover from the pandemic, it’s vital that civic assets continue to serve everyone and adapt to the changing needs of residents. These investments will help ensure that Philadelphia is poised for the future."
(Photo credit: Bartram's Gardens)