Last Year, New Grants


Late in December, just before our holiday break, Sunlight approved several final grants for 2006, bringing our total grantmaking to just over $1.1 million for the year. As we look back over each of the grants we made, we are impressed by the quality of work that's been produced, the openness to collaboration amongst our grantees, and to the strides being made as each of these organizations enter the world of the Web 2.0. Our investments have paid off well. And yes, to answer the obvious question, Sunlight will expand its grantmaking in 2007.

We made three final grants at the end of the year. The first one of $117,000 went to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government (CREW) to fund the launch of its "Open Community Open Document Review System." CREW had already developed a demonstration version of an online reviewing process that is a really cool tool. It lets anyone review, tag and comment on any of the thousands of pages of documents that CREW has in their possession. (CREW has thousands of pages of governement records as a result of their thorough and repeated FOIA requests.) Our grant will help them build a massive publicly searchable database of every document they receive — a database put together by citizen journalists. Look for the beta version at the end of March.

The second grant of $25,000 went to the Young Elected Officials Network, a project of People for the American Way, to support a track on government transparency and accountability at YEO's annual training and networking conference that will convene in Washington in February.

The final grant of last year of $77,000 went to a project that brings together campaign contributions and legislative votes, connecting political money to specific issues of interest to citizens. The Sunlight grant will help MAPLight to create a beta version of federal money and vote correlation database that tracks legislation in real time in this Congress. This database will allow citizens and journalists to customize their investigation of each bill. Look for this to be online at the end of April.

These are all quite extraordinary projects. We are pleased to support them.