Press Releases

Volunteers Needed to Help Strengthen Tallahassee’s Economy Through Knight Creative Communities Institute

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Knight Creative Communities Institute (KCCI) is seeking volunteers to help strengthen Tallahassee’s economy.

Thirty new community catalysts will be selected to work with local leaders and advocates to develop projects aimed at diversifying Tallahassee’s economy beyond government and higher education.

Members of KCCI’s most recent catalyst class were responsible for producing an array of initiatives: EllaVate (Lake Ella initiative), Boca Chuba Music Festival and Spark TLH.

The 2007 pilot initiative created the Tallahassee Film Festival, the environmental group Sustainable Tallahassee, and the Get Gaines Going Initiative to turn the street into an arts and entertainment district.

“Since KCCI’s inception, we’ve seen that the community strongly identifies with our mission of creating a sense of place in Tallahassee,” said Laurie Hartsfield, KCCI executive director. “We have a unique opportunity to reshape and influence the city’s economic future. Creating initiatives that contribute to economic development and job diversification beyond higher education and state government is KCCI’s primary goal.”

Catalysts will combine the work of renowned social theorist Richard Florida with survey data and community dialogue to devise new ways to help the city’s economy grow. The volunteers will begin by participating in a three-day training seminar and continue to meet over the course of a year.

“KCCI provides a supportive platform for those with great ideas to plant a seed, nurture it, and have it become an integral part of our community,” explained Mark O’Bryant, President and CEO of Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, Inc. and former community catalyst. “In short, one can become an effective catalyst for change as we transform Tallahassee from being great to being extraordinary.”

Community catalyst applicants must live in Tallahassee or in the immediate surrounding areas.

“The opportunity to serve as a KCCI catalyst has been a highlight of my volunteer career,” said Allie VanLandingham, Client Experience Manager at Capital City Bank. “It was the chance to be involved in an effort that aligns businesses, agencies and organizations with volunteers who work together to support good ideas that can become realities and positively change our community for generations.”

The deadline for applications if Friday, August 30. To apply to become a community catalyst, or for more information, please visit

KCCI is funded through a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and local community businesses and is part of the Center for Workforce Development at Tallahassee Community College.