Get Funded with Sunlight’s New OpenGov Grants

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We’re happy to announce our new OpenGov Grants program to help you fulfill your vision of making government more transparent and accountable.

We know how challenging fundraising can be. You start an innovative project using technology to make government more open and accessible and halfway through — you run out of money.

At Sunlight, we’ve been there, and that’s why we want to help you out. (Don’t be misled by our name — we’re not a foundation with an endowment, but rather a nonprofit that competes for grants just like any other 501 c3 charitable organization.) Indeed, we know how challenging fundraising can be.

With the financial support of Google.org, our new OpenGov Grants program will offer one-time grants in the range of $5,000 to $10,000 to help you achieve your vision of opening up government through creative innovations. OpenGov Grants can support anything from making a cool app to help residents understand how local government works, to creating an open source site to navigate state or local spending data to extending the capabilities of one of Sunlight’s own websites or apps. We’ll give priority to projects that develop open source software or data. (For details on what we will and won’t fund, please visit our FAQ.) Get inspired to apply by watching our video

Ever since Sunlight’s inception, we have prioritized supporting the growth of a healthy ecosystem of open government reformers. We know our grants can help create an impact for social good. Previously, our grants have helped kick-start some groundbreaking work, including:

  • TurboVote: Our grant funded their ability to build a prototype, demonstrating a real need for better voter services and provided support critical to their ability to build an organization with the right capacity to create those voter services.

  • MuckRock, which helps people liberate government records by facilitating their Freedom of Information Act requests. As they put it, Sunlight’s “support provided not just funding we needed to get off the ground, but validation that helped sell the ideas to others, and it provided that with minimal paperwork and endless encouragement.”

  • Sunlight gave Code for America its very first grant (of $10,000) – and we also served as a fiscal sponsor while it organized itself. As readers of this blog know, Code for America is reinvigorating city-level government and helping open them up with help from a network of developer fellows.

  • Richmond Sunlight, an early project of OpenGov Champion Waldo Jaquith. Our $,2500 grant in 2008 helped support the purchase of an entire session of the Virginia Legislature’s closed circuit video broadcast. Waldo integrated this into the Richmond Sunlight website to help Virginians hold their state officials accountable

Sunlight’s grantees are able to use our early support to bolster themselves for growth, and many go on to receive more substantive philanthropic support, like the Internet Archive’s excellent TV News Search & Borrow service, which just recently secured a $1 million grant from the Knight Foundation. (And that’s just one example.)

Having an influx of cash can make all the difference in the world. It can help you upgrade that non performing server, hire an extra programmer or meet whatever infrastructure needs are lacking — so your project can be a true success. How will an OpenGov Grant from Sunlight help you make your mark? Apply now!

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