Knight Foundation Donor Advised Fund Awards $120,000

By: Community Foundation of North Florida Release
By: Community Foundation of North Florida Release

TALLAHASSEE (December 6, 2010) The Community Foundation of North Florida announced today the award of $120,000 in grants from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Donor Advised Fund. The grants were made to fund 5 local projects each fostering an informed, engaged community.

The Knight Fund, a component fund of the Community Foundation, was created in 2004 as a part of Knight’s Communities Program which aims to improve the quality of life in the U.S. communities where the Knight Brothers owned newspapers. The priority area of interest of the Fund is informed, engaged communities in the geographic area of the Community Foundation (Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor or Wakulla County).

Grant awards were made to (1) Apalachicola Riverkeeper in the amount of $25,000 for the Oil Spill Recovery Video Monitoring Project, (2) Council on Culture & Arts in the amount of $15,000 for the Arts & Culture Live Project, (3) Economic Development Council in the amount of $48,000 for the Regional Leadership Program, (4) The OASIS Center for Women and Girls in the amount of $9,083 for the Women Can Run Project and (5) Tallahassee Community College Foundation in the amount of $23,000 for the Town and Gown Relations Project.

“This first round of grants in the new priority area of fostering an informed, engaged community inspired 5 amazing projects,” said Joy Watkins, President of the Community Foundation of North Florida. “And, this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the impact of the Knight Fund over time. The Knight Fund currently is a $3 million endowment and when it is fully funded, it is expected to have a $5 million value. The endowment will produce a stream of grants benefiting our community for generations.”

The grant cycle will re-open in the first quarter of 2011 when $120,000 will be available for 2011 grants in the priority area of fostering an informed, engaged community.

For more information about these grants and the 2011 grant cycle, please visit the Community Foundation’s website at

Summary of each Project Funded:

Apalachicola Riverkeeper - Oil Spill Recovery Video Monitoring Project: The Project is a citizen-centered approach to discuss, formulate, debate and enact plans for a economically sustainable future based on the protection of the natural resources of the Apalachicola basin. The Project's goal is to develop readily understood and accessible information about current, pre- and post-oil spill, and ongoing condition of the coastal environment with community volunteer involvement in order to address the need for an updated, landscape-level baseline reassessment; one that references our coastline resources, upon which our community depends, in a way that is accessible, searchable, updatable, interactive and multifunctional, for the present and future needs of a diverse group of users. The project includes training and equipping a diverse group of community volunteers with hand-held video cams and GPS units to monitor and video important, recognized areas in Franklin County. The Project (a) is community based utilizing volunteer citizen-scientists, (b) uses new digital technology, (c) utilizes familiar web-based platforms such as Google Earth and Flickr to share the info and reduce costs and (d) provides a platform for citizens to share, discuss and engage in improving the assessment and protection of natural resources.

Council on Culture & Arts - Arts & Culture Live Project: The Project gives people in our community the opportunity to engage and participate in, and learn about, local arts and culture. It establishes a Culture Club that will consist of 4 luncheons with guest speakers or panelists, both local and national figures, who will address subjects that provide new knowledge and insight into the political, economic and also the purely artistic and educational understanding of the arts and culture's significant contribution to our sense of place. The Project uses an intern from FSU, Steve MacQueen, Executive Director of Seven Days of Opening Nights.

Economic Development Council - Regional Leadership Program: This Project brings together leaders across the region from all sectors (business, government and nonprofits) to begin a common dialogue with the goal of establishing a shared vision for the region regarding the environment, economy and quality of place. The Project includes 6-8 lunches over a 10 month period pairing two counties per event with 4 leaders per county being included. The goal is to educate and build leadership capacity with the current local leaders from all sectors along regional lines by offering a curriculum of regional topics important to all local communities in the 10 county region. The key objective is the leveraging of the new leadership capacity to elevate the regional conversation and establish a working model for collaboration on key areas and the shared value of the region.

The OASIS Center for Women & Girls - Women Can Run Project: The purpose of this Project is to increase the number of local women running for public office by spreading the word about women's electoral success and fundraising prowess, dispelling women's anxiety and negative views about the mechanics of a campaign and increasing women's access to resources about how to run for office. The Project is in partnership with the Leon County Commission on the Status of Women and with support from both the Republican and Democratic parties. It is an 18 month non-partisan, non-issues based political training program for women interested in running or learning about how to become campaign staff as well as those who are currently in office but want to enhance their political skills as they consider running for re-election. Bi-monthly roundtables will be held with speakers who have run for public office and worked on local campaigns with the goal of distributing factual information about women running for office and the realities of campaigning and to give women an opportunity to ask questions. 3-5 day training sessions will also be held for 50 women in Leon, Gadsden, Wakulla and Jefferson Counties.

Tallahassee Community College Foundation - Town and Gown Project: This Project educates and informs local citizens and local higher education institutions of the importance of building relationships that can become the springboard to greater success for all the stakeholders and the community as a whole. The Project includes research on perceptions of town and gown relationships and town hall meetings to inform the community about the opportunity that creating better town and gown relations offers. Once awareness of the opportunity exists, the Project seeks to engage all stakeholders in a community building dialogue and communications process with the goal of creating partnerships that diversify our economy beyond government and higher education while building the sense of place that will attract and retain the college graduates and young professionals who will help lead us into the future.

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