CitizenSpeak Developer Announced as Winner of Prestigious $10,000 Pizzigati Prize at Leading Nonprofit Technology Conference

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George Hotelling to be Honored as First Annual Winner of the Nation's Top Public Interest Computing Award at The National Technology Conference in DC

The inaugural $10,000 Antonio Pizzigati Prize for Software in the Public Interest will be presented to George Hotelling for his development work on CitizenSpeak -- a free email advocacy service for grassroots organizations. The award ceremony will take place in Washington DC on April 6 at the National Technology Conference, the largest annual conference for technology professionals in the nonprofit space.

"This award is really an honor for me," notes Hotelling. "This award highlights the importance of public space software and how it's helping grassroots organizations and individual activists get their voices heard."

The new Pizzigati Prize -- a project launched by Tides Foundation's Florence and Frances Family Fund -- aims to honor individuals who, in the spirit of open source computing, fashion outstanding applications that help nonprofits become more effective in their ongoing efforts for social change.

"Our judges faced a difficult choice," notes Jason Sanders, the Tides Foundation philanthropic advisor who coordinates the Pizzigati Prize. "Each of the six finalists for our first prize has made a valuable contribution to public interest computing."

Hotelling's work on the CitizenSpeak project began when he realized that local groups needed a tool that could help them impact local decisions and decision-makers. He soon discovered that, a free online service founded in 2002 by Jo Lee and Pablo Calamera, shared the same vision. Hotelling, with over a decade of experience working with open source tools, rebuilt the CitizenSpeak service and made the code available as open source software.

Community groups have been putting the revamped CitizenSpeak to work in a wide range of campaigns, everything from a Rhode Island effort to stop the siting of new schools on contaminated land to a multi-denominational offensive against religious intolerance in the Delaware town of Indian River.

The National Technology Conference is organized by the Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network (NTEN), the national trade association for this sector. Jo Lee, executive director of CitizenSpeak, will accept the award at the conference on behalf of George Hotelling. Jo will also be part of a conference panel called "Strategies for Linking Social Network Campaigns with Advocacy Tools."

The code that runs CitizenSpeak is available as a free module for Drupal, the popular open source Web content management platform. For more information, please visit

About the Pizzigati Prize
The Pizzigati Prize honors the brief life of Tony Pizzigati, an early advocate of open source computing who spent his college years at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology, working at the MIT Media Lab and later the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science. Three years after his 1992 graduation, Pizzigati, then 24, died in an auto accident. The deadline for the 2007 Pizzigati Prize will be July 1, 2007. Applications forms and background information will be available later this fall at the Pizzigati Prize Web site.

About Tides Foundation
Tides Foundation partners with donors to increase and organize resources for positive social change. Tides brings together people, resources, and vision through Tides Donor Advised Funds, Tides Initiatives, funding collaboratives, gatherings and learning opportunities, foundation management services, comprehensive and flexible program services, and a framework for strengthening the progressive movement.

About CitizenSpeak
CitizenSpeak is a non-profit that provides grassroots organizations and local activists with an easy-to-use, powerful e-advocacy service. Since its inception, CitizenSpeak has supported organizations from all across the country, including formal organizations with long term goals, as well as individuals using CitizenSpeak for one-time issue-oriented actions. The code that runs CitizenSpeak is available as a free and open source Drupal module. CitizenSpeak is based in Providence, RI. For more information, please visit


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