Google (News - Alert) has been generous with Google Grant, the not-for-profit edition of AdWords, the company's online advertising tool. Indeed, MyMaryland.net was recently awarded a Google Grant worth $10,000 per month.
Google Grants are typically handed out to not-for-profit organizations recognized by the search giant as having a compelling and valuable public service. These grants are delivered in in-kind AdWords advertising, promoting not-for-profits' missions and initiatives on Google.com.
MyMaryland.net aims to drastically improve access to the democratic process by way of a 24/7 online town hall, which allows voters and politicians to connect, learn and discuss political issues. This initiative, led by 23-year-old social entrepreneur Ben Simon, was born out of the documented low levels of civic participation by voters between elections.
The site is already nearing completion of the beta version of its political social media tool — having only just soft launched on December 1, 2012 — with the grand opening expected to be sometime this month.
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“This Google Grant will help us show more Marylanders the political power they can gain by using MyMaryland.net to express their opinions and connect with their elected representatives,” said Simon. “It’s really a great honor to be recognized by Google with this donation.”
MyMaryland.net has also received support from the Sunlight (News - Alert) Foundation, which also aims to increase civic engagement and government transparency, and is in the inaugural cohort of the Civic Accelerator.
The site is a project of MyAmerica Incorporated, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit which is dedicated to developing new tools for driving civic participation. MyAmerica plans to extend its statewide platform to all 50 states over time.
Another recent recipient of $10,000 per month of in-kind advertising from Google Grants is the Food Recovery Network. This student-run not-for-profit aims to donate a surplus prepared food from college dining halls to hungry Americans. The FRN also plans to take advantage of other free services like Google Apps and YouTube (News - Alert) for Non-profits.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman