In its second year, the Knight Cities Challenge invites individuals and groups to design projects that connect people of different backgrounds and incomes, that invite people to engage in their communities, and that make it appealing for talented people to stay in their communities to make a difference.
Winners of the challenge sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation were announced Tuesday; four are from the Philadelphia area:
Caitlin Quigley of the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance won for the “20 Book Clubs, 20 Co-op Businesses” initiative. The organization plans to organize people in 20 Philadelphia neighborhoods to read books about cooperative businesses with the goal of spurring a cooperative business in each neighborhood. The project will get $146,000 from Knight.
“I shared this idea with people at the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance, and, since we’re pretty much all about co-ops all of the time, they were really excited about it,” Quigley said. “It’s a new thing in the co-op world to combine book clubs with intensive development. So that’s what we’re bringing that was kind of new to the situation.”
Tayyib Smith of the Institute of Hip-Hop Entrepreneurship aims to work with 36 people to look at the business influences that hip-hop culture brings. Smith, who calls himself a “serial entrepreneur,” has worked in the hip-hop industry for years. His project will receive $309,000.
“I think, sometimes, people undervalue the influence of hip-hop in business,” Smith said. “If you look at what Sean Combs has done to the alcohol industry with his partnership with Diageo or with Dr. Dre and his partnership with Apple and Beats By Dre, they’re seismic changes in the industry.”
The Reading Terminal Market’s “Breaking Bread, Breaking Barriers” project to bridge cultural divides through cooking classes also $85,000. The Little Music Studio, described as “a traveling playground for musicians” and submitted by Group Melvin Design, will get $334,000 for its plan to open.