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With 'Macon Money,' Knight Foundation Hopes a Hyperlocal Project Will Go Global

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, June 21 2011

After connecting hundreds of people and generating nearly $65,000 in business for local shops and restaurants in Macon, Ga., an online-offline game that uses alternative currency to spur civic engagement may be going global.

Macon Money, a project created by the game development shop Area/Code and funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation*, created an alternative currency that people in Macon could spend in certain local businesses. To get the cash, they needed to acquire a "bond," which were given out at events, available for pickup, and in some cases, mailed out directly to residents. But there was a twist — players also needed a partner with another bond to match their own. Then, they could go in together to reedem the cash. (Intrepid techPresident intern Becky Kazansky has more here.)

Knight and Area/Code announced Friday that they have released documentation on how to bring the project to other towns. The Knight Foundation's Jessica Goldfin, who focuses on the use of games to inform and engage communities, said Monday that Miami, Fla. and Manchester in the United Kingdom had both expressed interest in importing the game. Miami is Knight's hometown, and Manchester is the home of the FutureEverything festival, where Macon Money won the 2011 FutureEverything Award.

* The Knight Foundation also funded Personal Democracy Forum's 10Questions project in 2010.