The Knight Foundation is putting up $5 million to fund great ideas to improve Akron and other cities the foundation benefits. Josh McManus joined Jasen to explain what the foundation is looking for, how to apply, and why he thinks some of the best ideas will involve Downtown Akron and vacant storefronts.

Published in Jasen Sokol
Tuesday, 11 February 2014 12:36

Knight Foundation Resignation

The Knight Foundation's Jennifer Thomas is moving on.  She's been a fixture in Akron since 2010, overseeing Knight-funded projects and otherwise being engaged in the community, but Thomas says she's leaving the Knight Foundation this month. 

It sounds like she might be involved in some similar projects, but from a different perspective.  Thomas will be coaching companies on community investment.  She noted in a blog post that announced her resignation the amount of private investment that is being made in cities.

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AKRON, Ohio (AP) -- A foundation with ties to northeast Ohio has awarded a $75,000 grant to back a Cleveland-Akron film festival collaboration.......

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A big new grant received by the Akron Art Museum is aimed at helping them bring in a new audience.

The Beacon Journal reports the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is giving the museum $750,000. The money will help pay for six exhibits over the next three years. some of which will be designed with the public's help. The first of those exhibits - called Real/Surreal - is on display now.

The museum will also use some of the money to continue providing digital resources. A previous Knight Foundation grant also funded the museum's online initiatives. The building built for the museum in 2007 was also funded by the Knight Foundation.

The multi-year grant is nearly three quarters the amount of all grants and donations raised by the museum in all of last year.

On the Web:

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Tuesday, 14 February 2012 13:12

Akron Arts Groups Share $600,000

The Knight Foundation can be excused for doing some "home cooking" in Akron; it is, after all, the mother ship. That "home cooking" shows up in grants from the foundation started by John and James Knight with the vast wealth built by their media empire.

13 Akron arts groups sharing in more than $600-grand in support with the biggest grants going to the Tuesday Musical Society and Civic Theater. Music, dance, theater all making the grade. There's even money to bring programs from Cleveland's Film Festival -- to the Rubber City.

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(Knight Foundation) Thirteen cultural and performing arts groups will enrich and engage Akron in innovative ways, with $601,000 in support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The funding is part of Knight’s efforts to weave the arts into Akron residents’ everyday lives. The foundation targeted programs and wide-ranging projects with the potential to transform Akron’s arts scene and enhance community engagement through theater, dance, film, music and visual arts.

“Through these projects, Akron residents will have the opportunity to become more engaged in their community’s growing and vibrant arts scene,” said Jennifer Thomas, Akron program director for Knight Foundation. “Collectively, these projects cover a broad range of cultural offerings, from providing theater and artistic enrichment programs to new opportunities to encourage young people’s participation in the arts.”

The recipients are:

• Tuesday Musical Association: $125,000 to support its 125th anniversary season, dedicated to the memory of Clara Knight, the mother of Knight Foundation’s founders and an enthusiastic supporter of the association. The season includes high-quality programming, a strengthened commitment to its highly successful complimentary student ticket programs and outreach activities, and community engagement with town hall meetings to continue a dialogue about the arts. An additional $20,000 supported a 2011 collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, which featured Wynton Marsalis.

• Civic Theater: $100,000 to help engage diverse audiences in the Akron Civic Theatre’s 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons with intergenerational, multicultural and community-based programming.

• City of Akron: $65,000 for the Akron Summer Arts Experience, including Lock 3 summer concerts, festivals and community events, the Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival and Sunday Symphonies.

• Cleveland International Film Festival: $70,000 to support “Knight Night in Akron” and the Akron Preview Event for the 36th annual festival in March, which provides audiences the opportunity to see the newest and best films from around the world and informs them about other cultures. Funding also supported the Akron Preview Event for the 2011 festival.

• Greater Akron Musical Association: $50,000 to support “American Visions,” multimedia concert combining music and photography in celebration of the Akron Symphony Orchestra’s 60th anniversary. The concert will feature the World Premiere of “Akron Chronogram” by Akron composer Roger Zahab, with videography by Laura Ruth Bidwell of the Akron Art Museum. An additional $36,000 will take musicians out of the concert hall and into unconventional public spaces in 60 Random Acts of Culture, which brings cultural performances to unexpected places in Akron as a reminder of how the arts can enrich people’s lives.

• Akron Art Museum: $35,000 to fully realize Phase Two of the Akron Art Museum’s collection digitization project, including the development of new content for engagement.

• Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet: $20,000 to expand the Reach Out and Dance (ROAD) program in Akron Public Schools, which visits 15 elementary schools with free dance classes for 1,250 students.

• Actors’ Summit: $20,000 to bring new audiences to Actors’ Summit performances, through a community engagement program targeting youths and their parents.

• DANCECleveland (Cleveland Modern Dance Association): $15,000 to provide lead sponsorship for the 2011 performance and multiple outreach programs of DANCECleveland, including MOMIX, a company of dancer-illusionists under the direction of Moses Pendleton.

• Keepers of the Art: $15,000 to support the production of the fourth annual Akron Hip-Hop Showcase, which presents concerts, arts and a conference around “true school” hip-hop, which is based on positive messages and storytelling.

• Ohio Shakespeare Festival: $10,000 to produce professional, theatrical productions of Shakespeare’s infrequently staged masterpieces, “Love’s Labours Lost” and “The History of Richard III.”

• GroundWorks Dance Theater: $10,000 to support acclaimed choreographers Ronen Koresh, Doug Elkins and Kate Weare, who will bring innovative dance to Akron audiences.

• Weathervane Playhouse: $10,000 to provide theater and artistic enrichment programs to Akron schools with limited field-trip budgets.

In the 60 years since Knight Foundation was formed, Knight Foundation has committed over $132 million to Akron – more than a quarter of that, or $32 million, since 2008. The amount represents Knight’s largest commitment to any single community.

On the Web:  Knight Foundation


Published in Local
Thursday, 20 October 2011 12:29

Considine Joins Knight Foundation Board

A well-known Akron philanthropist will take a seat on the board of trustees for the Knight Foundation.

William H. Considine, president and CEO of Akron Children’s Hospital, will join the board of leaders for the organization. Considine was honored with the Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award. He also serves as the board chair for the Knight-funded Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron.

Press Release:

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced today that William H. Considine, president and CEO of Akron Children’s Hospital, will join the foundation’s board of trustees.

 “Knight Foundation started in Akron and continues to be inspired by the ideals of Akronites Jack and Jim Knight,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president of Knight Foundation. “Bill Considine is the embodiment of those values.  As the head of one of the region’s most important hospitals and an active and engaged member of that community, Bill represents the values and ethic of our founders.”

In addition to his position at the children’s hospital, Considine has helped lead numerous health-care, educational and cultural organizations at the local, state and national levels. He is also the board chair of the Knight-funded Austen BioInnovation Institute.

“I am excited to work with Knight Foundation on helping create a more informed and engaged Akron,” Considine said. “This opportunity is personal to me. I grew up in Akron and used to deliver the Akron Beacon Journal. My life was touched by the Knight family in many ways. Becoming a trustee is a privilege that I welcome on many levels.”

Knight Foundation is dedicated to the ideal that democracies thrive when communities are informed and engaged. The foundation supports transformational ideas that engage communities, promote quality journalism and media innovation, and foster the arts.

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