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Organizations: Knight Foundation

As its namesake suggests, the Knight Foundation operates on a chivalric-sounding code.

“Thus we seek to bestir the people into an awareness of their own condition, provide inspiration for their thoughts and rouse them to pursue their true interests,” explained co-founder John S. Knight in 1969, when he and his brother, James, extended their family’s media empire into philanthropy.

With a $2-billion budget, the national foundation claims on-ground program directors in eight cities, including Macon, with additional projects in Milledgeville and Columbus.

“We have three primary platforms,” says Beverly Blake, Macon’s program director. “We invest in media innovation to foster a strong democracy, so we have the Center for Collaborative Journalism. We support the arts – high-quality theater, concerts, exhibits, free events – because they bring people together. Finally, we invest in projects that build strong communities, where there is an intersection of talented people, opportunities and a strong sense of place, such as the Knight Neighborhood Challenge with the motto ‘Dream It. Do It.’”

So Knight will ride to the rescue – to the amount of more than $12.5 million in grants for Macon over five years – in ways that help local visionaries improve the quality of life around them, transforming urban blight into leafy, bike-friendly, nationally honored zip codes.

“The investment in the College Hill Corridor has catalyzed a community to engage in hands-on neighborhood revitalization that continues to transform our area into one of the hippest and economically vibrant places to live in the state,” says Jessica Walden, a spokesperson for the College Hill Alliance. “The foundation preserves authenticity in a progressive way that attracts, retains and engages all residents.”

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