Fayette County

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation seeks ideas to help Lexington succeed

What's your best idea to help Lexington succeed? The Knight Cities Challenge is calling on innovators of all types to answer this question.

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 Lexington and 25 other communities more vibrant places to live and work. The projects are chosen from among thousands of submissions by people in cities where the Knight brothers once owned newspapers.

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. Applications will be accepted through Oct. 27 at Knightcities.org.

The challenge has two main guidelines:

First, a submission may come from anywhere, but the project must take place in or benefit Lexington.

Second, 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, governments and organizations. More information is available at Knightcities.org.

The initial application will be easy to complete. You don't have to be a professional grant writer, but you should be ready with a plan to make your idea a reality.

If you have questions about the challenge, there will be a session from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at The Plantory, 501 West Sixth Street No. 250, Lexington. The session is free and public.

Join a winner of last year's challenge, Richard Young, executive director of NoLi CDC, and George Abbott of the Knight Foundation for a community information session on the Knight Cities Challenge. RSVP via bit.ly/1hb33Sf.