The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced a grant of $2.3 million in support of efforts to create an "Innovation Corridor" in the College Hill neighborhood of Macon, Georgia.
In partnership with Jumpstart America, a nationally recognized nonprofit that works to accelerate the success of entrepreneurs and their companies, the foundation will team up with the College Hill Alliance to attract homegrown businesses to the city's downtown and encourage graduates from area colleges to put down roots after they graduate. Jumpstart, a Knight grantee, has had success with its programs in Northeast Ohio, where it has helped create more than 2,500 jobs and $20 million in economic benefit to the region.
Since Knight made an initial $2 million investment in the College Hill Alliance in 2009, another $25 million in residential and commercial development in the corridor has been leveraged from public and private sources.
"The biggest lesson from the past few years is that the answers to Macon's challenges — and the key to our future — comes from within our own community," said Beverly Blake, Macon program director for the Knight Foundation. "As we worked together to build a stronger sense of place in Macon, and more local graduates wanted to stay in this vibrant college town, the focus naturally expanded to creating the jobs they need to build their lives and community."