The Knight Foundation announced it will be investing $9 million in Code for America, NYU Wagner and TED to further the use of technology for improving democracy. The funding, part of Knight’s Tech for Engagement Initiative, will strengthen the growing field of civic technologists using new tools to reimagine civic life. Code for America will receive $5 million, NYU Wagner will receive $3.12 million, and TED will receive $985,000.
Code for America will use the money to expand its programs. With new Knight funding, Code for America will expand one of its four programs — the Fellowship, the Brigade, the Peer Network and the Accelerator — to 13 Knight communities over a five-year time period. Code for America just held a weekend of civic innovation focused on building communities of technologists throughout the country, and furthering civic oriented technology projects.
The Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University will build out its GovLab project to train graduate students across disciplines and universities to design, build and implement tech-based solutions to pressing problems communities face across the country. Leading experts will train teams of graduate students to work with communities to develop solutions. Knight funding complements a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to study the impact of the academy’s projects and share the lessons learned.
TED, the already well-resourced set of conferences focused on exploring technological ideas, will partner with the Knight Foundation to work on amplifying and measuring the impact of these ideas as they ripple through society, producing technology tools and best practices for connected action.
“We believe that everyone is an expert in something and many would be willing to participate in the life of our democracy, if given the opportunity to do so meaningfully,” said Beth Noveck, NYU Wagner Professor and former White House Deputy Chief Technology Officer of the award.