October 03, 2012

Foundation Grants Aim to Boost Civic Engagement

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation on Tuesday announced $1.3-million in grants to technology projects aimed at getting people more involved in improving their communities and issued a report designed to encourage more money and attention for such efforts.

The four grants announced were:

• $590,000 to Change by Us, a project of CEOs for Cities, that gives citizens an easy place to suggest ideas to make their hometowns more livable. The grant money will help expand the site so it can accept donations, integrate with Facebook, and make the application available for other cities to adopt. The site already has versions for New York, Philadelphia, and Phoenix.

• $250,000 to Good360, an online product-donation site, to create a marketplace where nonprofits can post their needs, find products, and communicate with individual and corporate donors.

• $236,000 to DailyFeats, a site that helps people take small steps toward a goal that improves health and well-being, such as eating better or getting more exercise. The site plans to use the money to expand its reach and measure results that show what works best.

• $225,000 to, a project of the Participatory Politics Foundation. The effort is a free, open-source site that helps people track policy proposals under consideration by city councils and communicate with local elected officials.

Along with the grants, Knight also issued a new report, “Digital Citizenship: Exploring the Field of Tech for Engagement,” which outlines successful online projects and looks at the challenges ahead for groups working to create similar tools.

Send an e-mail to Cody Switzer.