Josh McManus will lead Knight Foundation investments in Akron

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New Knight program director in Akron has a strong background in building successful cities

AKRON - (July 2, 2014) – Josh McManus, a highly experienced entrepreneur and city development professional, will join the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as the program director based in Akron. McManus has a range of expertise in the areas of civic action, talent attraction and placemaking with a particular focus on redeveloping local economies through small business.

Akron Program Director Josh McManus

McManus will work with local leaders and other community members to find and invest in ideas that expand opportunities in the city and contribute to its success. He will start July 28. 

Since 2011, McManus has acted as lead inventor at Little Things Laboratories, an independent innovation business he founded to help organizations address pressing problems and emerging opportunities in mid-sized and post-industrial cities. His recent work includes reshaping the strategy for Detroit’s New Economy Initiative, a $100 million entrepreneurship and innovation effort; and building the D:hive, a place-based talent retention and attraction storefront in Detroit.

McManus also co-founded CreateHere, a placemaking project focused on talent retention and cultural change in Chattanooga, Tenn., that inspired the growth of more than 500 creative enterprises, led to more than $4 million in real estate sales, and retained and attracted new talent to the city. It also gave rise to the world’s largest community visioning project, which engaged more than 26,000 Chattanooga residents in a survey about their city and ways to improve it.

Prior to founding several organizations, McManus worked in the nonprofit world for eight years. As vice-president of organizational development at United Way, he established strong fundraising and donor bases, resulting in more than $11 million in fundraising for the organization. As United Way’s national corporate leadership manager he focused on strategic planning and long-term development, building national corporate giving campaigns with major partners.

“Josh brings a wealth of expertise to Akron. He is an innovator in city development with a passion for translating small ideas into significant progress,” said Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives. “His track record of helping diverse cities capitalize on new opportunities and respond to changing markets will be a major asset to Akron.”

“As the birthplace of the Knight newspapers and Knight Foundation, Akron has a rich history of innovation and continues to be a place of great ambition and opportunity,” said McManus. “Harnessing its assets—a solid urban core, incredible educational anchors, strong research and production networks, and burgeoning financial capacity—and weaving them together, while preserving the Knight legacy, holds exciting prospects for the city’s future, and I’m glad to be a part of it.”

McManus has a Master of Science in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is a regular keynote speaker on topics such as informed urban action, talent retention and attraction, and entrepreneurial development. He was chosen as a Marshall Memorial Fellow in 2009 and is a Next American Vanguard, and serves on a variety of institutional boards.

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.  www.knightfoundation.org

CONTACT:

Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677, media@knightfoundation.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. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.

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