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Knight Foundation Fund Of The Manatee Community Foundation Awards Grant To Realize Bradenton

BRADENTON, Fla. — Realize Bradenton will continue their popular popup series to attract and retain talent to the Bradenton area thanks to a $59,000 grant from the Knight Foundation Fund of the Manatee Community Foundation. Initially funded by the Knight Cities Challenge in 2015 as PopUps for a Purpose, the series experimented with creating vibrancy by temporarily transforming spaces into places for Millennial conversations on local topics in downtown Bradenton. The new series, PopUps: Inside Access, will allow Realize Bradenton to continue engaging Millennials on a variety of topics important to the younger generation and the community.

“PopUps for a Purpose was a successful series for the under-35 crowd in downtown Bradenton,” said Catherine Ferrer, community engagement coordinator at Realize Bradenton. “Realize Bradenton’s research through PopUps for a Purpose revealed that ‘contribution’ is the key to attracting and retaining young talent to the area. They want to learn how to serve on nonprofit boards, start businesses, or how to get involved in local government.”

To kick start PopUps: Inside Access, Realize Bradenton assembled the PopUps Design Team, a diverse group of young people charged with developing the new series of events through experiences that engage the younger generation in shaping future of Bradenton.

“We are engaging Millennials from all walks of life through thought-provoking activities in different locations throughout the city,” explained Amy Phillips, a Bradenton Millennial and PopUps Design Team member. “The first series of pop-up events reinforced the notion that Bradenton wants Millennials to remain in the area, the next round will show Millennials how and where to get involved in their city.”

PopUps: Inside Access is a series of social and educational events from, Feb.–Nov., 2017. The project connects Millennials to organizations, business, and community leaders in downtown Bradenton through engaging activities and workshops. The project will culminate with a report about how Millennials can get involved, and what organizations and business can do to engage Millennials more effectively.

“When talking about leadership, some people say ‘Millennials are the future.’ We say they are the ‘right now,’” said Susie Bowie, executive director of the Manatee Community Foundation. “Realize Bradenton’s approach to continuing the PopUps project is right on in terms of keeping things social while emphasizing purpose. I look forward to seeing how the connections made between PopUps: Inside Access participants grow into future relationships that get things done for Bradenton.”

PopUps: Inside Access partners include Manatee Community Foundation, Manatee Chamber’s Manatee Young Professionals, Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation’s Thought Leaders Group, and Manatee County Government’s M3 (Manatee Millennial Movement).

Millennials interested in PopUps: Inside Access are encouraged to contact Catherine Ferrer, community engagement coordinator at Realize Bradenton:

Learn more about the PopUps for a Purpose initiative at

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About Realize Bradenton
Realize Bradenton is a nonprofit organization that brings people together to create a vibrant and prosperous Bradenton area. For more information visit:

Manatee Community Foundation
The Manatee Community Foundation strives to be the philanthropic organization of choice for donors in Manatee County, touching the lives of all people in our community. For more information, visit:

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