Knight Cities Challenge: A Coastal State of Mind

Last year the Knight Cities Challenge awarded nearly $5,000,000 to 32 groups who presented ideas they believed would benefit their cities in the long run.  These plans ranged from a $20,000 grant to fund a neighborhood conservation kit in Philadelphia, PA to a $650,000 grant to repurpose a vacant lot as a culinary incubator and cafe in Gary, IN.

Why does this matter to Gulf Coast residents? Because the Knight Cities Challenge is open to all of the Knight Foundation’s 26 cities spanning all across the country.  And oh yeah, one of those 26 cities is our very own Biloxi, MS.  Although Biloxi wasn’t awarded any grants through the Knight Cities Challenge in 2015, this year we’ve got not one, not two, but THREE finalists!

Director of Gulfport Main Street Laurie Toups, Chef Danielle Rodriguez, and part social scientist, part designer Maryanna Rogers have each submitted an idea that is designed to attract and retain talent, expand economic opportunity, and create a culture of robust civic engagement on the Gulf Coast.  The fact that Biloxi is home to 3 finalists out of 4,500 submissions shows that the Coast is already moving towards a bright future.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be detailing each of the finalists’ ideas, and how their plans will affect change in our community.  So continue to check out our blog to get a more in-depth look at the future of the Gulf Coast.  And keep your fingers crossed that we’ll all have something to celebrate when the Knight Foundation announces its winners in April!  Congratulations, ladies!  We’re rooting for you!