The Sunlight Network, our affiliated advocacy group, is announcing today a series of "mini-grants," in the $1,000 to $5,000 range, for local or regional nonprofit organizations and non-affiliated groups that have innovative approaches to strengthening the relationship between Members of Congress and the citizens they represent. (Note that the website for the Sunlight Network is not yet live.)
We are particularly encouraging applications from existing small nonprofits, local or regional chapters of national organizations and groups of individuals. Grants are available to augment existing projects or to jumpstart new ones. Grants will be made available on a rolling basis starting July 15. Sunlight believes that open, honest, sincere representation is possible, and that engaged citizens can make it happen. These are grants designed to stimulate your action!
We'll make our decisions based on projects' creativity, their likelihood of success, and the degree to which they match Sunlight's goals. We strongly favor efforts that are themselves open and democratic in their internal structure. We are very excited to see what you come up with.
Send a one-page summary of your proposed project, a budget (including the amount requested from Sunlight) and contact information to Zephyr Teachout, National Director, Sunlight Network, zteachout at sunlightfoundation dot com.
We don't want to prejudge what might come in the door, but here are a couple of some hypothetical examples which might jump-start your thinking:
An Austin, TX website that aggregates news and commentary on local issues and blogs about it might seek a grant to expand their work to cover their Congressional delegation. The money they request is for travel, a video camera, Lexis-Nexis access.
A group of students in Miami want to investigate the placement of a controversial landfill so they ask for a grant to pay for research that seeks to show that business interests which may have supported local politicians may have distorted decision-making regarding placement of the landfill. Their grant funds the investigative report and its broadcasting on the web.
Citizen Porkbusters in Kansas wants a grant to create an online video to educate other citizens about the powerful moneyed interests behind the promotion of ethanol. They plan to place the video on YouTube.
We can't wait to hear your ideas. Send them to Nisha Thompson at nthompson at sunlightfoundation dot com.