BlogPac Progressive Entrepreneur Contest

This post comes from Chris Bowers of OpenLeft and BlogPac.

  For the past year, as part of our ongoing effort to support the progressive blogosphere and movement, BlogPac has delivered over four-dozen targeted, no-strings-attached grants to progressive activists, organizations, campaigns, and media outlets around the country. Now, we would like to both expand and open up our grant making process, and give your progressive movement building idea a chance to receive one of our grants. As such, today BlogPac is launching a nationwide contest to find the five best new, grassroots progressive infrastructure projects in America, and provide those projects with the money, exposure, and connections necessary to get off the ground.

  You can see the rules for this contest, including how to submit an entry, by clicking here. The five winning projects will receive up to $5,000 directly from BlogPac, a featured post here on Open Left, and a fundraising letter to our email list. The winning entries will be decided by our panel of judges, which include representatives from some of the most influential, enterprising organizations in our movement: Gina Cooper of Yearly Kos, Susan G of Dailykos, Adam Green of MoveOn.org, Jane Hamsher of Fire Dog Lake, Justin Krebs of Living Liberally, Ben Rahn of Act Blue and, of course, Matt Stoller and Chris Bowers of BlogPac. Given the panel of judges, even submitting an entry to the contest guarantees that your idea will be reviewed by a wide variety of progressive, “open left” leaders who can help it take flight!

Almost any project is open to consideration in this contest. It can be national, regional or local. It can focus on media, culture, social networking, direct action, research, elections, messaging and much more. It can work to expand the audience of progressive radio, book more progressives appear as commentators on cable news networks, or find ways for progressive bloggers to have access to health care. It can produce strategy guides for grassroots activists run for party office, train a new generation of activists in civil disobedience tactics, or help produce a progressive documentary. The only requirements to be considered for the contest are as follows:

  1. The project on progressive infrastructure, not public policy. This contest is not trying to pass or propose specific legislation, but instead to build upon the architecture of the progressive movement.
  2. The project cannot have received more than $25,000 in donations / revenue in the past calendar year. 
  3. Sending a description of your project, how it will help progressive infrastructure, how much money it needs, and how it will use that money to blogpacinfrastructure@yahoo.com.

Why are we doing this? Because time and time again, the new, progressive infrastructure that has helped to stop the conservative movement in its tracks has come from grassroots activists with little in the way of political connections or start up money, but still with a wealth of ideas and determination. In 1998, two computer entrepreneurs fed up with Republican attempts to impeach Bill Clinton founded MoveOn.org. Living Liberally, a social networking organization with over 200 local chapters around the country, was founded in 2003 by a group of friends who wanted to help progressives stay in regular contact with each other. Act Blue, which generated over $25,000,000 for Democratic candidates in the last three years, was a project put together by a group of college friends in Cambridge. The progressive blogosphere, which now attracts between two and four million readers a day, came into being when thousands of concerned citizens around the country simply started putting their thoughts online with no more than their ideals, hope and desire for change as guides.

Each of these projects started small, but grew into something special because the creative, indefatigable people behind them. At BlogPac, we know that there are many more of these committed, inspired activists who either already have small organizations, or who just have ideas for new organizations. With only a little assistance, these projects and these ideas can turn into the next big thing in the progressive, political ecosystem, thus helping us all continue to take our country back.

The contest opens today, July 10th, and the deadline for submissions is 10 p.m. eastern on Tuesday, July 24th. The winners will be announced at the Open Left caucus (yes, we have one) of Yearly Kos in early August. With permission of the entrants, here at Open Left will also be highlighting entries as they come in over the next two weeks.

  So, start sending in entries to blogpacinfrastructure@yahoo.com. Of course, the more money BlogPac has, the more money we will be able to contribute to each of the winning projects. Whether or not you submit an idea, contribute to BlogPac today, and help your fellow progressive activists bring the next wave of movement infrastructure to life.

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