Miami Foundation Packs the Stage for Our Miami Project
The evening began with two able-bodied bouncers calling me over to the back alley entrance of the club. After scanning my I.D., they let me in. I walked straight into the packed venue of sweaty bodies. Soft sepia lights against the dark of the room, libations flowing--it's the standard for a night out in Miami. But not necessarily one you'd expect as the launchpad for a community development project.
Briana Saati Kennedy addresses the crowd
Last night, the Miami Foundation kicked off its Our Miami initiative at the Stage with an overwhelming turn out of the city's community leaders and supporters, or "local change-agents," as the foundation calls them. The project was developed in association with a three-year study funded by the Knight Foundation. Known as Soul of the Community, it surveyed residents of metropolitan Miami (alongside 25 other national cities) in order to recognize what residents like most about where they live and which factors play the most important roles in connecting people to their community. In an effort to build attachment to our city and retain and foster Miami's burgeoning talent, the foundation launched the Public Spaces Challenge and Match305. Complimentary cocktails were served as attendees, from the suited up to the dressed down, engaged in a business card exchange of epic proportions.
An hour into the meet and greet, the Miami Foundation's president and CEO, Javier Alberto Soto, took the stage to welcome guests and encourage support. "What we hope to accomplish is to engage Miamians in the task of creating this new Miami, because to successfully build the type of city that we aspire to be, this can't be my Miami, this can't be [the foundation's] Miami, this has to be your Miami. It has to be everybody's Miami for this to work," Soto said before handing the microphone over to Stuart Kennedy, the foundation's programs officer.
"When we set down this course, we decided that there were two really main avenues that we had to focus on to make sure we could make this happen in Miami...livability in our community and connectivity.... Livability is about making our place a more appealing place to live. Connectivity is about giving people those connections to this place, both in their careers, in their personal lives, so they can stay here in Miami and build a life," Kennedy said.
Twitter.com/MiamiFoundation Miami Foundation CEO Javier Soto, addresses the crowd