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Knight invests $2.23 million in technology, community initiative

The Knight Foundation announced today it is investing more than $2 million in five projects that “use the latest digital tools to help people connect for the greater good.” The funding is provided via its Knight Technology for Engagement Initiative . Plus there will be more future funding available.

The Knight press release says:

Knight Foundation is looking for more high-quality ideas that use technology to cultivate community engagement.

These first five grants that we’re announcing today are just the beginning. Learn more about the initiative, and how to submit an idea, by visiting

Here’s who is receiving the first $2.23 million:

Craigslist Foundation ($750,000) will make it easy to find great ideas for community building. The foundation is creating an idea-sharing site, where institutions and individuals tell their community’s success stories and connect with people of like minds.

Jumo ($750,000), a nonprofit startup created by Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes, will use a social network to connect people with the issues and organizations that interest them, with the goal of fostering lasting relationships. The site matches users with relevant organizations, then engages them through e-mail, Facebook, Twitter or other applications to encourage contributions of time, skills or money. (Hughes talks about the project here.)

Code For America ($250,000) wants to transform city governments across the country by enlisting the nation’s most promising developers to apply Web 2.0 principles to civic problems. Based on the Teach for America model, members will create web applications to help make city governments more transparent, participatory and efficient. Knight Foundation’s funding will ensure the participation of Philadelphia, Pa. and Boulder, Colo., two Knight resident communities.

Community PlanIt ($250,000), a project out of Emerson College’s Engagement Game Lab, will revitalize the community planning process by developing an interactive game platform that lets stakeholders work—and play—together to solve problems. The grant will fund game development, in collaboration with four Knight communities.

And, finally, CEOS for Cities ($235,000) will test whether residents can help create solutions to local problems, filling a gap left by shrinking budgets. This project will connect developers and city officials to build a crowd-sourcing platform that invites citizens to work with government to identify problems and find answers. San Jose, Calif. and Grand Rapids, Mich., will test the idea.

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