Community Foundation of Central Georgia launches $3 million Downtown Challenge to fund...

Community Foundation of Central Georgia launches $3 million Downtown Challenge to fund the community’s best ideas

Peyton Anderson Foundation and Knight Foundation support new challenge for ideas focused on improving Macon’s downtown core

MACON, GA. – January 27, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The Community Foundation of Central Georgia today announced the launch of the Downtown Challenge, a new, three-year program that will fund community-driven ideas to transform downtown Macon, the city’s urban core. The challenge is offering $3 million to fund the community’s best ideas for downtown Macon.

The challenge, which will be managed by the Community Foundation of Central Georgia, was made possible by the Peyton Anderson Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; each provided $1.5 million in support.

The program will fund creative, transformational projects for Macon’s downtown area—bounded by Interstate 75, Emery Highway, Seventh Street and Little Richard Penniman Boulevard. A broad-based, competitive grant program, the challenge will fund the best ideas – small and large – from individuals and organizations who will lead the development and implementation of their projects.

The challenge was inspired by the Macon Action Plan, a five-year strategic plan designed to improve Macon’s urban core, supported by the Peyton Anderson Foundation and Knight Foundation. Successful projects will respond to four community needs and opportunities detailed in the plan:

§ Economic Development – Diversify the local economy to ensure that downtown is competitive and attractive for new business, support Macon’s institutions as economic anchors for growth, send a clear message that Macon is open for business, and support startups and attract job-creating businesses.

§ Experience – Program downtown’s social life, build the local audience, keep the urban core clean and safe, and transform Macon’s sidewalks and public spaces as the center stage for community life.

§ Living – Encourage more households to locate downtown, update regulations and codes to encourage investment, and strengthen surrounding neighborhoods to offer the best of both worlds (downtown and intown living).

§ Connectivity – Cultivate and improve multimodal transportation options, enhance safety and manage downtown’s parking system in a comprehensive manner.

“We have learned that positive change continues to be driven by the community’s best ideas,” said Kathryn Dennis, president of the Community Foundation of Central Georgia.

“The Peyton Anderson Foundation is pleased to partner with Knight Foundation on this exciting next step that accelerates the momentum of downtown Macon, and creates a forum for engaging the entire community in shaping our future,” said Karen Lambert, president of the Peyton Anderson Foundation. “The Downtown Challenge recognizes and builds upon the hard work, vision and passion of our partners, the Community Foundation, the Urban Development Authority and NewTown Macon.”

“The challenge is an open call for ideas from all of Macon’s diverse residents. It offers them a chance to shape the city’s future and help create a thriving Macon that will encourage talented people to live and stay in the city, while contributing to its growth and development,” said Beverly Blake, Knight Foundation program director for Macon.

Businesses, nonprofit organizations, government entities and individuals may apply to the challenge. Individual applicants are encouraged to partner with a sponsoring organization. The first deadline to apply is March 15, 2016 at noon. For more information on how to apply, please visit downtownchallengemacon.org. A series of public information sessions offering tips on applying to the Downtown Challenge will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Our office is looking forward to working with the community as great ideas are put into action through the Downtown Challenge,” said Dennis. “We proudly challenge residents, businesses and organizations to think beyond downtown Macon’s potential and transform it to our city’s reality.”

About the Macon Action Plan

The Downtown Challenge Fund of the Community Foundation of Central Georgia was inspired by the interest and ideas generated from the Macon Action Plan, a comprehensive, community-driven plan that envisions the future of Macon’s historic downtown and intown neighborhoods. In fact, the Downtown Challenge is recommended in the plan as one of the primary steps for early implementation.

Over the course of 2014, members of the Macon community – those who live, work, worship, learn, and play in Macon’s urban core – participated in building and guiding the Macon Action Plan. The ideas generated through this process crafted a collective vision for the future and identified key actions for change to make the community-driven vision become reality. The Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority and NewTown Macon are the two lead organizations charged with ensuring that the ideas from the Macon Action Plan become reality through continued public participation and public and private funding.

The grants available through the Downtown Challenge are now an available source of funding for ideas generated through the Macon Action Plan. To review the Macon Action Plan, visit maconactionplan.com.

About the Downtown Challenge Fund of the Community Foundation of Central Georgia

Thanks to generous grants from the Peyton Anderson Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, $3 million has been invested in the Downtown Challenge Fund of the Community Foundation of Central Georgia. This three-year program will fund the best ideas to transform downtown Macon, also known as the urban core, into a place that can grow with grace, build upon its good bones, dance to its local rhythm, care for its heart, and coordinate and focus for maximum impact.

This grant will fund creative, transformational ideas for Macon’s downtown from organizations and individuals. A broad-based, competitive grant program, the challenge will fund the best ideas – small and large – that entice both businesses and individuals to want to call downtown Macon home. For more information and to apply, visit downtownchallengemacon.org.

About the Community Foundation of Central Georgia

The Community Foundation of Central Georgia was founded in 1993 by a group of citizens interested in encouraging philanthropy and strengthening communities. Since then, the foundation has awarded more than $67 million in grants. As a local center for philanthropy, the foundation works with individuals, families, corporations, private foundations and nonprofit organizations to carry out their charitable objectives and address emerging community issues. Our donors make possible the foundation’s mission to enhance the quality of life for the people of Central Georgia. To learn more, visit cfcga.org.

About the Peyton Anderson Foundation

The Peyton Anderson Foundation, formed in 1989 to handle the broad distribution of the estate of Peyton Tooke Anderson Jr., is committed to improving lives and enhancing the communities of Middle Georgia. The foundation initiates projects to meet needs in the community, responds to requests from charitable organizations and provides college scholarships to promising students with financial need. To learn more, visit peytonanderson.org.

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. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit knightfoundation.org.

Contacts:

Julia Wood, Community Foundation of Central Georgia, (478) 750-9338,

Jessica Walden, Downtown Challenge, Project Communications, (478) 361-6998,

Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 305-908-2646,

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 www.knightfoundation.org.

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