Politics Hackers MySociety Get $575k From Omidyar Network

UK web political engagement tool builder MySociety is getting a $575,000 grant from eBay (NSDQ: EBAY) founder Pierre Omidyar’s Omidyar Network investment vehicle.

The informal group of volunteers and some paid coders has built some fantastic projects since being founded in 2003, including the TheyWorkForYou politicians access site, the WhatDoTheyKnow Freedom Of Information requests tracker and 10 Downing Street’s own petitions website.

Founder Tom Steinberg writes that the grant will “build organisational capacity” and allow MySociety to add “expertise to develop open source websites for transparency-focused organisations in Africa”.

It will “improve our ability to run ourselves as a mature organisation, better able than before to look after our legal and financial affairs on the one hand, and our community and users on the other”.

MySociety is run by a registered charity, UK Citizens Online Democracy, has received several project funding rounds from government departments and think tanks and does some commercial work through MySociety Ltd; proceeds are reinvested in to the charitable projects.

Omidyar Network previously donated $100,000 in 1996 and has previously backed Ushahidi and Global Voices. This is MySociety’s biggest listed funding round to date.