Giving Money Away


We’ve had numerous requests — both by phone and online — over the past several days about how to apply for grants from the Sunlight Foundation so I wanted to take a couple of minutes today to talk about that.

First you should know that we know that there is a large community of people and organizations who are already doing amazing things when it comes to making information about Congress available and accessible. We want to encourage them to go further by digitizing more information to make it searchable more easily and to present it in a truly public-friendly fashion. Our primary example of this is a grant we have already made (to the Center for Responsive Politics) to take the Personal Financial Disclosure Forms now filed on paper (!) by elected officials and make a searchable database out of them. Another example is a grant to OMB Watch to create a searchable database out of government grants and contracts.

Everyday we hear from someone who has a website that contains information about Congress that has important information. It’s really amazing how many people have taken on the tough job of creating information resources about what Congress is doing with little or no financial support. Kudos to these extraordinary citizens. 

But we want to go further than supporting just the traditional subject public disclosure databases. We are mostly interested in supporting those who are interested in using a Web 2.0 model that enables the media, bloggers, and citizens to sift, share and combine this information in ways that are useful for them. The more creative, and user-friendly, the better. Remember that "transparency" for members of Congress is the focus of our work.

The process is simple: Send me a 2-3 page outline of what you have in mind with a budget. If it fits the criteria above, we’ll let you know and then we’ll request more detail. We’ll be making decisions on a rolling basis so there is no specific deadline.