The Miami Foundation released the 2014 Our Miami Report last October to fuel community solutions, foster collaborations and advance efforts improving Miami-Dade County residents’ quality of life.  Charisse Grant, senior vice president for programs,shared earlier about the countless passionate people in our community working diligently on issues highlighted in the Report.  We developed a way to recognize individuals, groups and nonprofits showing strong momentum around solutions addressing the eight issue areas and the ability to achieve more.

We’re pleased to announce the winners of our Accelerator Grants program – projects reflecting positive, impactful approaches to make this a better place to live for every Miamian.

In the Report’s Miami Herald insert, Howard Herring wrote about fostering a more inclusive and participatory art scene.   The Arts & Culture Accelerator Grants winner,Rhythm Foundation, is advancing that cause through their Dance Band Night.  The monthly series will produce live dance music concerts with local artists, musicians and organizations for a more collaborative experience.  Their work will bolster our cultural landscape around the lively North Beach neighborhood and expose new audiences to the historic North Shore Park Band Shell.

Other winners want to recreate successful initiatives from across the globe, right here in Miami.

Kiva, an international micro-lending organization, is using their grant in the Economyissue area to invest in local entrepreneurs.  While the Report highlighted an entrepreneurial wave spreading across Greater Miami, securing initial funding, especially for Miami’s myriad small businesses, remains highly competitive.  Kiva Zip’s no-interest, crowd-funded capital will encourage job growth and help startups gain traction.

The University of Miami’s Community Scholars in Affordable Housing program partners with South Florida Community Development Coalition and Catalyst Miami to build a network of leaders to help impact the Housing & Affordability issue area – teaching best practices and increasing use of sound community development practices.  This cross-sector group of professionals helps boost industry-wide understanding of the issues’ importance and projects to address it.

Our selection committee (listed below) was impressed with the sophistication, vision and successful track record of the winning projects.  We’re still looking for one that tackles Greater Miami’s complex Transportation challenges while meeting the same level of impact seen in the seven grant winners.  For now, The Miami Foundation will hold the allotted funding for this issue area and continue searching for a project that effectively addresses the issue.

If you’re working on an urban mobility solution you’d like us to hear about, please contact Stuart Kennedy.

With more than 100 projects submitted and thousands of public votes and comments, the Accelerator Grants program has been a clear reflection of Miami’s energy around advancing local civic change.  Moving forward, we will continue to grow partnerships with leaders on these issues and nurture increased collaboration around holistic solutions to address them.

Click here to see all the Accelerator Grants winners.

Stuart Kennedy is the senior programs officer at The Miami Foundation

Special thanks to our Accelerator Grants selection committee:
Leanne Standish | Deputy Director of External Affairs. Perez Art Museum Miami
Nicole Kaufman | Interim Vice President for Engagement, Florida International University
Josh Gelfman | Director of Development, Terranova
Pascale Charlot | Dean, The Honor’s College, Miami Dade College
Elizabeth Wheaton | Environmental Resources Manager, City of Miami Beach
Ralph Rosado | President, Rosado & Associates
Frankie Ruiz | Chief Running Officer, Life Time Athletic Events – Miami Marathon

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