A tech partnership in the Silicon Valley has just been supercharged by $1 million in funding.
On Thursday, Aug. 7, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed announced that the Knight Foundation, a philanthropic civic tech organization, made the donation to the city’s Silicon Valley Talent Partnership (SVTP), a volunteer tech group that collaborates with the city for citizen projects. It is hoped that the money will expand SVTP’s series of volunteer projects throughout San Jose and surrounding Santa Clara County.
Previous projects have included a design lab at Stanford University's “d.school,” its institute of design; a Santa Clara marketing and communications plan; and a summer reading app for the San Jose Public Library System developed by eBay engineers. The SVTP currently has more than 80 volunteers from companies across the region and has generated roughly of 2,400-plus volunteer hours for projects.
“Many local governments are faced with the pressure of declining resources and increased demands for effective and responsive services for citizens," Reed said in a press release. "The SVTP's vision is to leverage Silicon Valley’s talent to assist public-sector agencies and enhance their capacity to innovate."
Under the direction of SVTP Executive Director Lea King, who was recruited to coordinate project selection, manage funding and operations, and draw volunteerism from the tech community, San Jose and Santa Clara County agencies will select potential public service projects, and an outreach plan will be fashioned to drive efforts.
“Silicon Valley is home to some of the best talent in the world,” said Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives. “Encouraging local government to take advantage of this talent pool will help spark civic innovation, make government more responsive, and ensure deeper ties between residents and the cities where they live.”
Known for as a dominant supporter of the civic tech industry, Knight has invested more than $25 million in civic technology efforts since 2012. And since 2006, the foundation has paid out more than $100 million per year in grants that support journalism, the arts and other community-driven initiatives, in addition to civic tech. The donation to the SVTP represents a move to foster Knight-supported opportunities in San Jose.