Our first grant seems like an appropriate time for a first blog post. We are officially funded! Thanks to the Shuttleworth Foundation, and a flash grant from Seamus Kraft of the Open Gov Foundation, we have our first bit of money through the door. Seamus has been doing really great work at OpenGov like hosting a series of Hackathons for Congress (Hack4Congress) and developing open source tools like the Madison Project to allow elected officials to more effectively engage with constituents.
The flash grant is a pretty cool concept. It allows Shuttleworth fellows like Seamus to nominate someone for an essentially no-strings-attached grant of $5,000 to concentrate on an idea that they might not otherwise have the resources to work on. The only requirements: to be transparent about how you use the money, and put their logo on your website for six months.
Requirement number one, check.
Requirement number two, here we go.
Aside from taking a brief break in February, I've been more or less bootstrapping Tech Congress since January. Thus far, I've spent about $12,000 building the organization-- mostly for living and office expenses, but also on a couple cross-country flights for meetings and events with stakeholders. I estimate the Shuttleworth Foundation dollars will afford me about another seven weeks of expenses in San Francisco (this place is pricey!). This includes costs like rent, a trip to Washington DC at the end of June for meetings, a trip to Phoenix, AZ in July for Netroots Nation and incidentals like PB&J sandwiches, my Squarespace site and Freshbooks accounting software. It's enough to keep my head above water while I pursue other funding.
I'll update the post as necessary to let you know specifically how I spend the grant dollars. In the interim, big thanks to Seamus and the Shuttleworth Foundation, who are helping me keep working on building a bridge between the technology community and Congress by getting Tech Congress off the ground.