In the interest of promoting civic innovation through technology, Google.org is providing a total of $3.7 million in funding to the Sunlight Foundation and mySociety. A blog post by Google.org VP Matt Stepka on Wednesday announced the new funding initiatives. The Sunlight Foundation is receiving $2.6 million “to grow its open government data program with a focus on making civic information on U.S. cities transparent, available and useable,” and mySociety is receiving $1.6 million “to build a global platform that will provide developers with tools and resources, such as open source code, that will help them more easily launch new civic apps and services.” The two programs represent an attempt by Google.org to increase civic technological innovation at both the global and local levels. While the Sunlight Foundation program is focused on fostering “new ideas that can have an impact in local markets,” mySociety’s program will seek to “promote collaboration between civic-minded technologists, regardless of geography.”
The two organizations were chosen because of their role in changing “the way we connect, engage, access and act on critical government information.” The Sunlight Foundation’s mission is to use “the power of the Internet to catalyze greater government openness and transparency,” and mySociety aims “to help people become more powerful in the civic and democratic parts of their lives, through digital means.” The new funding programs join other Google.org efforts, including: Google Public Alerts, a tool to disseminate emergency alerts; Google Person Finder, which allows people to locate loved ones impacted by a crisis; Google Crisis Maps, a program created to show damage and resources following emergency events; Flu Trends, an estimation of disease activity based on aggregated Google search data; Google Dengue Trends, which compares search data estimates with a historical baseline level of dengue activity in a given area; as well as free or discounted versions of Google Apps for nonprofits.