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Community Web Projects Gain $1.3 Million Boost

A new $1.3 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will fund four projects that connect communities with their local governments, the foundation announced Oct. 2.

OpenCongress.org, the legislation tracking platform, will gain a sister site in the form of OpenGovernment.org, which will focus on state, city and local government, allowing citizens to track issues in their area. The project, led by the Participatory Politics Foundation, received $225,000 and will begin as a pilot in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and San Jose, Calif.

Another website, Change By Us, received $590,000 to expand its platform to include more features. Managed by CEOs for Cities, Change By Us lets people propose grass-roots projects, find supporters and seek grants. The planned upgrade will add Facebook integration and make the website less expensive to adopt in new communities. The platform is available in New York City, Phoenix and Philadelphia.

DailyFeats.com also received funding to expand from a website that encourages people to make small achievements and track them, to a website that also promotes community involvement. A typical feat is something like “take the stairs instead of the elevator” or “spend 30 minutes talking to your family instead of watching television.” The website plans to encourage its users to be better citizens. New feats will include actions like helping a local food bank, supporting the arts or encouraging voting. The website also announced plans to perform detailed analysis of user behavior in order to determine relationships. For instance, is a person who works out in the morning more likely to vote?

The final recipient of grant funding is Good360.org, a website that connects corporate donors with nonprofits. Funding will create new features that allow nonprofit users to create wish lists, seek financial support via social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and share stories with donors.

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