A Closer Look at the Knight Foundation's Recent South Florida Spending Spree

Followers of the Knight Foundation can be forgiven for associating the outfit with radical, outside-the-box thinking.

After all, their People's Choice Award lets the general public decide who gets the foundation's money. And their work in the field of journalism suggests they're not afraid to embrace the efforts of "hacker journalists."

But the foundation also realizes that as unglamorous as it may seem, sometimes you just need to build a recital hall. 

The foundation awarded a $7.5 million grant to the Philip and Patricia Frost School of Music at the University of Miami to support construction of the new John S. and James L. Knight Recital Hall at the Frost School of Music, located on the University of Miami's Coral Gables campus.

Knight's gift to the Frost School of Music, of course, didn't appear in a vacuum. The school was the recipient of a of a $500,000 Knight Arts Challenge grant three years ago to build its Henry Mancini Institute's "HMI: Outbound" community outreach music program. The program brought "high-quality genre-blending chamber music programming" to Fairchild Tropical Garden and numerous public schools in Miami-Dade County.

Since then, Frost has emerged as one of the top schools in the country lacking one key resource—a world-class recital hall. This gift will enable the Frost School of Music to move forward with the final design and construction of the estimated $15 million project.

The announcement comes on the heels of a massive Knight spending spree to the tune of $25 million in South Florida that includes $5 million for the Perez Art Museum Miami and $5 million for the Institute of Contemporary Art.

But there's more. Knight Foundation's generosity has also funded other key institutions in the Miami region, including a naming gift for the John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, and major support for New World Symphony, Miami City Ballet, and Miami International Film Festival.

Next up? Renaming Miami "The Knight Foundation."

Just kidding. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)