PayPal, Convio, TakePart, and Challenge Your World Sponsor Competition to "Change the Web"

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Social Actions' Change the Web Challenge will create tools for citizens to take action wherever they are online

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PayPal, Convio, TakePart, and Challenge Your World will sponsor Social Actions' Change the Web Challenge, a competition to create innovative tools that help people find and share opportunities to take action on the websites, blogs, and social networks they visit each day. Social Actions, a web-based nonprofit initiative, will launch the Change the Web Challenge on February 23, 2009.

"We're extremely excited to be a part of such a wonderful program," said Judy Chang, Product Manager for Nonprofits at PayPal. "We hope the ideas and fundraising tools developed through this contest will have a lasting impact on nonprofits across the board, helping them use the web to increase and streamline donations."

Web developers who enter the Change the Web Challenge have a chance to win a share of $10,000 by building web applications that draw on Social Actions' open database of 60,000+ actions people can take across a range of issues. Social Actions currently aggregates opportunities to make a difference from over 40 online platforms, including VolunteerMatch, Kiva, DonorsChoose.org, Idealist.org, and Change.org.

"Making a difference in the world is no easy task, but the Change the Web Challenge is trying to change this very notion by harnessing the power of the Internet to encourage online philanthropy and social change," said Sara Spivey, Chief Marketing Officer for Convio.

To be eligible for prizes, participants must use the Social Actions API, have an open-source license, and submit a fully functional application. Developers are encouraged to create applications for popular open platforms and websites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Mozilla Firefox, Google Apps, WordPress, Drupal, Google Gadgets, Joomla, OpenSocial, and OpenConvio.

A handful of applications have already been created by developers using the Social Actions API:

  • DonorsChoose.org Possibly Related Classroom Projects: A WordPress Plugin that analyzes a user's blog posts and shares related classroom projects from DonorsChoose.org.
  • Twitter Action Pack: Over 30 Twitter feeds that automatically post action updates related to particular issues (i.e. the environment, human rights, education).
  • Firefox Ubiquity Command: A Firefox mashup that allows users to highlight any phrase as they browse the web, and find related ways to take action.

"Online tools that connect people to real world actions in creative and accessible ways have the potential to rapidly accelerate social change. We are thrilled to support this Challenge and look forward to implementing these tools on TakePart.com," said Chris Gebhardt, General Manger at Participant Media's new social action network, TakePart.

The Challenge will be hosted on Netsquared.org, an initiative of TechSoup Global. A community vote in early April will narrow project submissions to 20 semifinalists. A panel of web and social innovation experts will then determine three finalists based on the applications' innovation, user-experience, and potential for impact. Winners will be announced at the NTEN Nonprofit Technology Conference in San Francisco on April 28, 2009.

"For the public school teachers who have posted the 11,000+ classroom requests at DonorsChoose.org, the Change the Web Challenge has the potential to make a real difference," said Oliver Hurst-Hiller, the CTO of DonorsChoose.org. "It's an exciting opportunity for developers to put their skills to work to connect donors with students in high-need classrooms."

During February and March, Social Actions will also host face-to-face Change the Web meetups, and an online Change the Web Conversation Series to discuss how to use specific technology platforms, like Facebook, Twitter and the iPhone, for good.

"By bringing actions to the people, people can bring change to the world," said Bennett Grassano, the Director of Development for Kiva.

For a schedule of events and more information about the Change the Web Challenge, go to http://www.socialactions.com/changetheweb.

Change the Web Challenge sponsors:

  • Host: NetSquared, an initiative of TechSoup Global.
  • Sponsors: PayPal, Convio, TakePart, Challenge Your World.
  • Technology Partners: Mozilla, WordPress
  • Media Sponsors: CauseWired Communications, Mashable, NTEN, Ode Magazine, Osocio, Livingston Communications, ProgrammableWeb, Replyforall, See3 Communications, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and Techvibes.

About Social Actions:

Social Actions (http://www.socialactions.com) is a nonprofit initiative committed to making it easier for people to find and share opportunities to make a difference. A search engine on SocialActions.com helps users find ways to take action for the causes they care about from over 40 action sources including Kiva, DonorsChoose.org, Change.org, Nabuur.org, DemocracyinAction, GlobalGiving, Idealist.org, SixDegrees, VolunteerMatch, and Care2. Social Actions creates incentives such as the Change the Web Challenge to encourage the distribution of their open API to websites, blogs, and mobile devices.

Social Actions was selected as a 2008 Stockholm Challenge finalist, and received 2008 NetSquared Mashup Challenge and DonateNow Mashup Challenge awards. Social Actions has been featured on PBS Online, SFGate.com, The Wall Street Journal, and The Daily Telegraph, and by leading tech blogs such as TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, and Mashable.

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