OUR OPINION: Help Grand Forks by taking the Knight Cities Challenge

Answer two questions about your idea for improving life in Grand Forks. Win a share of $5 million to bring that idea to life. What's the catch? There isn't any, and that's why Grand Forks residents with a "quality of life" proposal or idea should...

Our Opinion
Our Opinion



Answer two questions about your idea for improving life in Grand Forks.

Win a share of $5 million to bring that idea to life.

What’s the catch?


There isn’t any, and that’s why Grand Forks residents with a “quality of life” proposal or idea should take the Knight Cities Challenge.

The Knight Foundation has $5 million to give away - $15 million over three years - and is soliciting ideas for how best put that money to use in Grand Forks and the 25 other Knight cities.

The Knight Cities Challenge is the result.

“Knight is deeply invested in bringing the best, most innovative ideas to the table, and wants anyone with a big idea to apply,” the foundation said Wednesday in a press release.

“Activists, designers, artists, planning professionals, hackers, architects, city officials, educators, non-profits, entrepreneurs, block captains, social workers - everyone is welcome.”

The foundation has “intentionally made the initial application incredibly simple - just two questions, no requirement for a detailed budget or a list of bona fides - to encourage applications from people who aren’t professional grant writers and haven’t worked with Knight before.”

Here’s a little more info:

The 2014 contest opened Oct. 1 and will stay open until Nov. 14, the foundation reports on its website.


“The initial application asks for two primary pieces of information about your project in 150 words or less,” it continues.

“You don’t even need to give a budget or amount.”

As for the rules, there are only two:

First, the project must take place in or benefit one of the 26 communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. The Herald was a Knight newspaper at one time, so Grand Forks is one of those 26 communities.

Second, the idea “must focus on one or all of three key drivers of city success: attracting and retaining talent, expanding economic opportunity, and creating a culture of robust civic engagement,” the foundation reports.

And that’s it.

But what about …

Forget about the “but what abouts.” Knight is making this process as easy as possible. The foundation is asking for only 150 words, after all, at least in the initial screening round.


Fans of Grand Forks should take advantage of the city’s status as a Knight community, go to, and apply.


Opinion by Thomas Dennis
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