We are very pleased to annouce today our third round of grants for 2007 for projects that use the Internet to connect the public to information about the workings of Congress. The groups we are funding are leading the way in making Congress more transparent, and therefore, more accountable to the public. Each in their own way are innovative in their use of ‘Web 2.0' technology to equip citizens with the tools and knowledge necessary to effectively participate in democracy.
$200,000 to MAPLight.org. This grant adds to Sunlight's initial seed funding to provide core support for MAPLight.org's newly launched Web 2.0 federal search engine that reveals the connections between money and votes within Congress. MAPLight.org provides an unparalleled level of government transparency by creatively and interactively exposing the links between dollars spent and votes cast never before seen by ordinary citizens
$100,000 to the Center for Independent Media. This grant will support the Center's efforts to strengthen its New Journalist Program by establishing a national branch in Washington, DC. The fellowship program, with operations currently in Colorado, Minnesota and Iowa, mentors and trains state-based political news bloggers in investigative reporting with the aim of creating a robust corps of citizen journalists to add diversity and local expertise to media coverage of important issues. Fellows serving in the New Journalist Washington DC Program will focus their coverage on Congress, federal agencies, the presidency, Supreme Court and the influence of lobbying, the national press corps and campaign finance.
$50,000 to The Focus Project's OMB Watch. This grant will support OMB Watch's two-year "Fueling Democracy with Information in the 21st Century" project to define a proactive agenda to modernize and increase public disclosure of government information to give citizens a comprehensive view of the workings of Congress. This will spur greater congressional oversight in the same way the Freedom of Information Act provides the means to make the executive branch