Four foundations will join forces to fund civic projects in four cities for a full $40 million. But instead of big anchor projects, this initiative is focusing on the little guys—on a bet that the investment will pay off in equitable revitalization, to be enjoyed by many, not just neighborhood elites.
On Thursday, the JPB Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation are launching a new initiative, “Reimagining the Civic Commons.” Matching an overall investment of $20 million with another $20 million from local sources, this initiative will improve civic assets in Akron, Memphis, Chicago, and Detroit.
Those assets include vacant lots, closed-down schools, and neglected parks. Over a period of three years, the award cities will use funds from the Civic Commons program to transform these sites and revitalize their surrounding communities. In Memphis, that means reconstituting a library, a promenade, and two parks along four blocks of public land known as the “Fourth Bluff.” In Akron, the project will boost sites in three spots along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail.
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