News & Press

December 15, 2015

TreesCharlotte and other Charlotte organizations increase civic engagement with boost from Knight Foundation

Foundation for the Carolinas, TreesCharlotte and Queen’s University of Charlotte among funding recipients

Charlotte, N.C. – Dec. 15, 2015 – The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced more than $4.3 million in new funding to 3 projects that will allow people to get involved in making Charlotte a more vibrant, connected place to live.

The organizations receiving support include:

  • Foundation for the Carolinas ($1.6 million): Making Charlotte’s urban core more vibrant and creating new places for the community to connect, by renovating the historic Carolina Theatre at Belk Place and transforming it into a civic engagement space that will host town halls, symposiums and debates. New support reinforces Knight’s previous funding and will help with planning and establishment of interactive technology in the Carolina Civic Theatre.
  • Queen’s University of Charlotte ($500,000): Educating and engaging residents around news that affects their community by providing technology and lab equipment toward the renovation of the new Knight-Crane Hall, home of the James L. Knight School of Communication. Launched with funding from Knight in 2010, the school works to increase digital and media literacy among students and across Charlotte.
  • TreesCharlotte ($2,240,000): Growing the city’s celebrated tree canopy to build attractive public spaces, where people of different ages and backgrounds can meet and connect. TreesCharlotte will continue their program to recruit volunteers to plant and care for city trees and expand marketing and staff development. Included is a $2 million endowed fund to provide ongoing support for the organization.

“From creating public spaces that invite people to participate in shaping their community to ensuring that residents have the information they need to meaningfully contribute to city growth, each of these organizations is helping to drive civic engagement and make Charlotte more of a place where people want to live and work,” said Susan Patterson, Knight Foundation program director for Charlotte.

“This investment in Knight-Crane Hall moves the James L. Knight School of Communication into its critical next phase and furthers our reputation for leveraging new technologies to civically-engaged ends,” said Dr. Eric Freedman, dean for the James L. Knight School of Communication at Queen’s University. “The goal for the Knight-Crane Hall is to build an instructional space, a community space, and a research and development space to bring students, community members and community leaders together to engage in collaborative, holistic problem solving, with a focus on digital media literacy, access and inclusion.”

“Knight Foundation recognizes good ideas and knows how to make them sprout. Building on their previous funding, this new support will help ensure Charlotte’s urban forest remains robust for many generations ahead. We are excited to build a brighter future in Charlotte,” said David Cable, managing director for TreesCharlotte.

Support for these initiatives forms part of Knight Foundation’s efforts in Charlotte to attract and keep talented people, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of engagement. Since 2008, Knight Foundation has invested more than $38 million in Charlotte including a vision plan to re-energize uptown’s North Tryon corridor, and recent support to a new business improvement initiative in the city’s Historic West End.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more visit, knightfoundation.org.