Just before I left town for a two-week break, Sunlight announced its first round of grants for 2007, totaling just over $200,000. On my return, I realized that we hadn't posted anything about them — other than a press release — and so our readers might have missed the news. We are staying the course in terms of the kind of investments were are making with the money going to organizations that are using new "Web 2.0" technology to further the organization's mission of putting information into citizens' hands to increase transparency in Congress. We believe that our grantees are on the cutting edge of work that will open up our legislative branch.
The first grant of $140,000 to the Center for Media and Democracy, is to support the second year of the joint Sunlight Foundation/Center wiki on Congress – Congresspedia. The second year's work is building on the highly successful first year and will focus on growing and developing the community of Congresspedia users and editors and increasing the user-friendliness of the wiki.
The second grant of $55,000 will support the Center for Democracy and Technology's Open CRS project, to use the Internet to promote the distribution of Congressional Research Service reports to the public. This grant will allow CDT to make some major technical upgrades to the site to ensure complete and timely access to CRS reports, develop new features and functions, and launch a campaign to promote the site's availability and attract new partners.
The third, and final grant of this round, was for $22,000 to Taxpayers for Common Sense allow them to develop a comprehensive plan to integrate and advance the use of the Internet and related technologies into their overall work. This work will include an initial assessment and planning process to redesign TCS organizational web presence and online outreach, communication, and constituency development strategies.