About the Program
Here are the eligibility requirements:
- Applicants must live in the U.S., and they must be aged 19-35 years old at the time they apply.
- Applicants must be available to participate in the online Virtual Learning Lab on August 22 and 29, 2020. Supports will be arranged for participants for whom computer and/or internet access is a barrier.
Applicants must also be able to travel to Canada in October 2020 for the ECC Studio. This requires a valid passport.Update: The program will be completely online this year. Learn more here.
- Applicants must propose a community project that activates public life in public spaces, enhances mobility options, and/or builds a culture of civic engagement. The project must take place in one of the 26 communities where Knight Foundation invests. Priority will be given to projects that also address Knight Foundation’s goals in that community, OR support Knight's Smart City Strategy. Learn more here
- Applications must include a multimedia submission that describes their project (blog post, video, slideshow, poster, etc.)
Participants will receive:
- An immersive experience through the Emerging City Champions Virtual Learning Lab
and in-person Studio in Toronto, Canadato develop leadership and project management skills such as stakeholder engagement, budgeting, and communications. Update: The program will be completely online this year. Learn more here.
- $5,000 (USD) in seed funding to implement a community project.
- Ongoing support and mentorship from city building experts.
- Access to a national network of peers and community leaders.
- Opportunities to be publicly recognized and promoted by 8 80 Cities and Knight Foundation.
Your project should:
- Be implementable within 12 months.
- Activate public life in public spaces, enhance mobility options, and/or build a culture of civic engagement in one of Knight Foundation’s 26 investment communities. Priority will be given to projects that also address Knight Foundation’s goals in that community, OR support Knight's Smart City Strategy. Learn more here.
- Be innovative, with an emphasis on addressing existing community needs.
- Be managed and led by you, but developed through community collaboration.
- Be affordable to implement and free for the public to enjoy.
Past projects have ranged from beehives to jukeboxes, mentorship programs to art projects, block parties to shared meals. Read more here.
Yes, we encourage applications for both new and existing projects. If your project is already underway, your application should demonstrate how your participation in the program will help you scale up or advance the goals of your current work.
Each champion is required to:
- Participate in the online Virtual Learning Lab in August 2020.
Attend the in-person Studio in Toronto, Canada in October 2020.Update: The program will be completely online this year. Learn more here.
- Implement (at minimum) one community project.
- Participate in ongoing networking and skill-building opportunities.
- Submit regular project updates via blog posts, videos, or other media content.
- Submit a final report to summarize progress and accomplishments. This report can take various media forms (i.e. video, blog post, posters, etc.).
Emerging City Champions is a year-long program, running from August 2020 to August 2021.
20 champions will be selected to participate in the program.
Each champion will receive a $5,000 (USD) grant to implement their proposed idea or project.
No. You do not need to raise matching funds to qualify for the Emerging City Champions program.
The program is managed by 8 80 Cities, a non-profit organization that exists to create safe and happy cities that prioritize people’s well-being. The program is funded by John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Internal Revenue Service regulations on private foundations define some items that Knight Foundation can and cannot fund. We are prohibited from making grants:
- to carry on propaganda, or otherwise attempt to influence legislation (as explained in Internal Revenue Code 4945(d)(1));
- to influence the outcome of any specific public election, or to carry on a partisan voter registration drive (directly or indirectly) (as explained in Internal Revenue Code 4945(d)(2)).
Intellectual property developed using Knight Foundation grant funds generally needs to be released to the public under an open-source license. We make exceptions in a limited number of cases; the criteria are spelled out in Knight Foundation's intellectual property licensing policy.
About the Application
The online application opens on Monday, June 1, 2020. The competition closes at 11:59 pm EDT (8:59pm PDT) on Sunday, July 12, 2020. Late entries will not be considered.
Applications will be reviewed and evaluated on the strength of the project idea and its potential to enhance civic engagement, improve mobility, and activate public life in public spaces. Finalists will be scored against three criteria: the potential impact of their idea, the level of innovation it displays, and the capacity of the applicant to carry out the project. Priority will be given to projects that also address Knight Foundation’s goals in the community in which the project is based, OR support Knight’s Smart City Strategy. Learn more here.
All applications must include a multimedia submission that communicates the following: 1) what your project idea is, 2) how your project idea is innovative and impactful, 3) who will benefit, and why your community needs this project. You are free to use any digital format (blog post, video, slideshow, poster, etc.) as long as it is shareable online. The submission must be readable/viewable in five minutes or less.
You may submit as many ideas as you would like.
8 80 Cities and Knight Foundation will select the champions in partnership with a review panel of past program participants and city building experts.
All applicants will be informed about the status of their application by July 31, 2020.
We are looking for people with new ideas and fresh perspectives on civic challenges. This program is for talented people with potential who are ready to take their city building work to the next level. We have a preference for individuals who have already demonstrated impact in their community but who may need new training and networking opportunities to meet their potential. We are committed to prioritizing applicants who represent communities and groups who have been historically marginalized and are underrepresented in leadership positions.
Yes. Applicants must be aged 19-35 at the time they apply.
No, but your project needs to be carried out in one of the 26 communities where Knight Foundation invests. If you’re not based in a Knight city, you’ll need a local partner.
No. Applicants may apply independently, or in affiliation with non-profit, for-profit, and/or government entities. If you are proposing to carry out a project as part of a larger organization, you should be the project lead and major decision-maker.
If the project you are proposing is part of your paid work or on behalf of a larger organization, you should be the project lead and major decision-maker, including for budgetary decisions relating to the ECC grant. In the event that your employment ends, our expectation is that you will retain ownership of the project and any remaining grant funds, not your employer.
We will be selecting individuals, not groups or pairs, to participate in the program. If you will be completing the work alongside multiple people or as part of a larger organization, you should be the project lead and major decision-maker.
Yes. Prior funding does not affect eligibility for the Emerging City Champions program. Past ECC participants, however, cannot reapply.
Yes. We encourage you to reapply if you still meet the eligibility requirements. (Please note that past ECC participants cannot reapply.)