Two ways you can help make Miami better in just the next week

Two pretty awesome opportunities for people to drive some change in Miami are on the docket right now, one from the Miami Foundation and one from the Knight Foundation. Here’s the lowdown on each:

Miami Foundation’s My Miami Stories

Every two years The Miami Foundation produces a whopper of a report on the state of Miami. How our schools are doing. How much time we spend in parks. What residents can afford. 

It’s paints an impressively thorough picture of the city, but it was missing the humans — and the stories that make up their lives here in the Magic City. So now, as the foundation prepares to launch the 2016 report, it’s bringing us on board.

“When we thought about a way to roll out the Our Miami report, we realized the report is mostly a data-focused picture of life in Miami-Dade County but it doesn’t talk about the human experience behind those statistics and that data: How they got here, why they stay here and what are the kinds of things they want addressed in Miami and what they can do to address it,” said Matthew Beatty, director of communications for The Miami Foundation.

So they’re looking to have Miamians across the city host conversations about just that. Interested?

  • What is it: Community convos hosted by Miamians about their experience with the city
  • What you do: Host a conversation with eight to 12 locals (potluck dinner anyone?). You’ll get a kit of cards with facts about the city from the Our Miami report to guide the convo a bit, but the goal is a natural conversation, not a classroom discussion.
  • How to register: Go here.

The launch is Oct. 18, and they’re hoping for 100-plus conversations to happen that day. If you can’t do it on Oct. 18, they’re hoping to keep these going in the weeks following, so still reach out.)

The Knight Foundation’s Knight Cities challenge

If those conversations get you thinking bigger, grander, there’s the Knight Cities Challenge.

Miami’s one of 26 cities nationwide that are eligible, and locals can pitch their projects for bettering the city. If selected, they’ll receive a chunk of $5 million to make it happen (amount TBD based on your project).

“The question we’re asking is ‘How to make your city more successful?” said Matt Haggman, the Knight Foundation’s Miami program director. “If you’ve long thought about something in our city, ‘Man, this would be such a great idea to solve this problem… well, here’s an opportunity to get the funding to address it.”

You’re probably read about three of the previous winners right here in The New Tropic: the Underline, the Miami Science Barge, and the Civic User Testing Group. The Underline has been lauded as one of the most ambitious park projects happening in the country right now and it’s barreling toward breaking ground. (We’ll be writing more about that later this week.) Submissions don’t need to be public space projects — the Civic User Testing Group is an initiative to expand user testing of our county’s technology. 

Got the beginnings of an idea? The info session for Miami-based projects is Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. at Batch Gastropub in Brickell. RSVP here. The deadline is Nov. 3. You can apply and find more information here.