Got a great idea to help the city of St. Paul succeed? Between now and Oct. 27, the folks at the Knight Foundation want your ideas throught the Knight Cities Challenge.

Now in its second year, the national challenge is an initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The challenge seeks new ideas to make St. Paul and the 25 other communities where Knight invests more vibrant places to live and work.  Winners will receive a share of $5 million and become part of a network of civic innovators; funding will be granted at all levels from small to large amounts. You may submit your application at

The challenge has two main guidelines:

1. A submission may come from anywhere, but the project must take place in or benefit one or more of 26 Knight communities.

2. The idea should focus on one or more of three key drivers of city success:

  • Talent: Ideas that help cities attract and keep talented people.
  • Opportunity: Ideas that expand economic prospects by breaking down divides and making new connections.
  • Engagement: Ideas that spur connection and civic involvement.

The challenge is open to anyone from anywhere: neighbors, architects, activists, artists, city planners, entrepreneurs, students, educators, city officials, as well as governments and organizations. More information is available on

“Through the challenge we want to find new voices and new ideas that capture the three key ingredients of city success—talent, opportunity and engagement. We see these as essential to the challenge and to building stronger futures for all of our cities,” said Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives.

In March 2015 Knight announced 32 winners of the first Knight Cities Challenge. Last year’s winners from St. Paul were:

  • Rolling Out the Warm Welcome Hat- Creating a culture of welcome and inclusion by charging “original” Minnesotans to reach out to newcomers, and by immediately connecting newcomers to the communities they seek.
  • 8-80 Vitality Fellow- Promoting economic development through investments that enliven the public realm by promoting walking and bicycling and creating great public spaces.
  • MN Nice Breakers- Helping newcomers of all types to find new friendships and connections that will develop into their community.
  • 4PLAY- Changing the way transplants to Saint Paul and prospective residents from outside of Minnesota think about our climate.