June 4, 2010, REDWOOD CITY and OAKLAND, Calif. — Omidyar Network today announced a $250,000 grant to Code for America to jumpstart the process of placing 23 top web professionals in five U.S. cities to help make government information more accessible and transparent. In tandem, Code for America announced a call for applications from web designers and developers who wish to serve their country as the Code for America 2011 Fellows. Those selected will design and deploy open source, citizen-oriented municipal IT projects that can be shared by all U.S. cities.
Inspired by Teach for America, Code for America offers the brightest minds of the Web 2.0 generation the opportunity to spend a year applying their technical skills to bolster citizen engagement with local governments. Working alongside city staff, the Code for America Fellows work in teams to develop open-source applications for municipal governments. The five cities selected for the 2011 program are: Boston, Boulder, Philadelphia, Seattle and Washington D.C.
“By connecting city governments with Web 2.0 talent, Code for America brings improved citizen access to information and government accountability to the local level,” said Stacy Donohue, director, investments at Omidyar Network. “The collaborative nature of the program and resulting open-source solutions allow the impact to be scaled across thousands of U.S. municipalities and eventually benefit millions of U.S. citizens.”
Projects will address a range of information-related services such as the ability to publish data the city collects in formats useful to developers and journalists, and to track how city resources are allocated and how effectively city services are being delivered to citizens. Future projects might include fiscal tracking measures such as how Federal stimulus funds are spent locally.
“The recent fiscal crisis has intensified the need for cities to take smart, new, agile approaches to serving their constituencies,” said Jennifer Pahlka, executive director and founder of Code for America. “Omidyar Network’s support will enable us to help those city governments harness innovative technology solutions, lower the cost of delivering services and continue developing new talent in the government IT sector.”
Web developers and designers interested in joining the inaugural group of fellows and creating positive impact in local communities are encouraged to visit the Code for America website for further information about the application process. Applications are due on August 15, 2010 for the program beginning January 2011. More information is available at: http://codeforamerica.org/become-a-fellow/.
About Code for America
Code for America is a non-partisan, non-political organization that helps city governments become more transparent, connected and efficient by connecting city governments with the talents of cutting-edge web developers and designers. Code for America and its projects are funded by cities, foundations, and private individuals who believe in the power of the web to transform the way government and citizens engage with each other. For more information, visit: http://codeforamerica.org/.
About Omidyar Network
Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change. To date, Omidyar Network has committed more than $330 million to for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple investment areas, including microfinance, property rights, government transparency, and social media. To learn more about Omidyar Network, please visit www.omidyar.com.