Knight Funds Tech Initiatives for Community-Building

The Knight Foundation’s Technology for Engagement Initiative, which will fund organizations using technology in the most creative and viable ways, launched yesterday. In a press release, Damian Thorman, the Knight Foundation’s national program director, said:

As a foundation, we look for new ways to bring people together to act in their community’s interest. Harnessing digital technology is one way to inspire neighbors to work together to solve their most persistent problems.

Five projects have already received a whopping total of $2.23 million in grants. They are:

Craigslist Foundation: to develop “an idea-sharing website. Institutions, community groups and individuals will tell their success stories on the site and connect with people of like minds.”

Jumo: Started by Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes, Jumo “matches users with relevant organizations, then engages them through e-mail, Facebook, Twitter or other applications to encourage contributions of time, skills or money.”

Code For America: “Based on the Teach for America model, members will create web applications to help make city governments more transparent, participatory and efficient.” The experiment will begin in Philadelphia and Boulder, Colo.

Community PlanIt – Engagement Game Lab, Emerson College: This group will “revitalize the community planning process by developing an interactive game platform that lets stakeholders work—and play—together to solve problems.”

CEOS for Cities: “This project will build a crowd-sourcing platform that invites residents to work with their city hall to identify problems and find answers. San Jose, Calif. and Grand Rapids, Mich. will test the idea.”

And they’re looking for more! If you or an organization you like is finding new ways to “use technology to inspire local action,” check out how Knight can help at their web site.

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Lauren Kirchner is a freelance writer covering digital security for CJR. Find her on Twitter at @lkirchner