The new year marks the official launch of CFA and the approach of some major milestones. For those of you who’ve been wondering what this is all about, you can finally get a peek at the program on the revamped website. We’re happily moving out of “mystery mode” and eager to evangelize the program to municipal governments and web 2.0 developers alike.
**What is Code for America?
** In a nutshell, Code for America is a structured way to bring top web 2.0 talent into city governments to build applications that drive transparency, participation and efficiency for the participating cities, and for every city. The name derives from Teach for America, which serves as part of our inspiration, along with the open data movement, Apps for Democracy, and everyone inside and outside government who is working to transform the business of governing.
**CityCamp, January 23 – 24, Chicago
The Code for America team will all be attending (and in some cases helping organize) the first ever unconference on practicing gov 2.0 at the local level. If you’re in municipal government, there are still seats available for you at CityCamp, hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation, where you can learn from your peers about their innovation efforts and connect with the community of civic hackers, data wranglers, journalists, and other technology leaders who want to help transform cities. We reserved half the seats for public sector attendees, so while general attendance is sold out, city employees can still register! Also, GovLoop is running a contest through the end of this week to give out travel stipends to select municipal employees. Enter your city here.**
**Deadline for cities February 1!
** Our first development cycle, which will involve five cities and 25 fellows, begins January 2011, but interested cities must apply by February 1, 2010 to be considered for the program. If you are in municipal government and would like to hear more about the program before applying, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, and to apply online, go here.
**Tell your representatives about CFA
** We hope those of you working directly for city governments are excited about Code for America, but how can you help if you’re not a municipal employee? We’re so glad you asked! Right now, the best way to help is to let the leadership in your city know about the program. The city council person representing your district is a good place to start, but the mayor’s office, city manager, IT director, or anyone else in local government are good contacts as well. You can point them to the Call for Applications, or just write in your own words why you’d like them to apply.
For other ways you can help Code for America, click here.
** Already in Code for America’s brief existence, we are delighted to have received grants from the Sunlight Foundation, the Case Foundation, and the Louis & Anne Abrons Foundation. We’d like to thank Ellen Miller, Jean Case, and Adam Abrons for their generous support. In addition, the Sunlight Foundation has graciously agreed to serve as our fiscal sponsor while we apply for our 501(c)3 status. This means, among other things, that donations to Code for America are tax-deductible. We don’t have online donations operable yet, so if you’re interesting in helping Code for America and getting a tax write-off, email me for directions on how to contribute.
**Media Round Up
Jeff Smith of CivSource gave his readers a great overview of Code for America. Read it here.**
Luke Fretwell interviewed me on GovFresh about the new role developers play in democracy and the importance of their involvement. Watch it here.
I gave a five-minute talk on the inspiration for Code for America at Ignite Bay Area. Watch it here.
For more links to CFA media coverage, follow @codeforamerica on Twitter.
** Our current focus is working with interested cities on their applications and the projects they’d like to have built through the first CFA cycle. We’ll soon be turning to planning a nationwide effort to recruit our fellows: the developers, designers, product managers and other talented web professionals who will bring the CFA vision to life. Let us know any suggestions you have for recruiting both cities and fellows. We’re eager for your thoughts.
Thanks for your support, and all the best for the new year.