Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management.

The Knight Foundation's Civic Tech Report: "Open Government" Expenditures

By Dennis D. McDonald, Ph.D.

Cick or tap the above image to download a .pdf of this article.The Knight Foundation’s report The Emergence of Civic Tech: Investments in a Growing Field reports interesting data on  investments in “open government” and “civic action” that it refers to together as “civic technology.”

I’ll be looking at the data and report in more detail. Meanwhile, one of the first things that hit me was the distinctions made in the different “open government” categories. Here is how the report breaks down “open government” expenditures for 2010-2013:

Source data including data listings for individual companies and institiutions is available via a linked spreadsheet. This is how the above categories break down with the largest category being for “Data Access & Transparency”:are


Data Access & Transparency $20,759,050 39.0%
Data Utility $11,124,321 20.9%
Public Decision Making $605,140 1.1%
Resident Feedback $14,712,779 27.7%
Visualization & Mapping $3,014,000 5.7%
Voting $2,987,000 5.6%
SUBTOTAL $53,202,290 100.0%


“Data Access & Transparency” expenditures are the largest single category and account for nearly 40% of Open Government expenditures.  What’s also interesting is that the above “Open Government” expenditures — $53.2M U.S. — are overshadowed by the $356.5M U.S. on “Community Action” which breaks down as follows:


Civic Crowdfunding $8,090,000 2.3%
Community Organizing $38,172,446 10.7%
Information Crowdsourcing $35,439,600 9.9%
Neighborhood Forums $40,967,400 11.5%
P2P Local Sharing $233,821,985 65.6%
SUBTOTAL $356,491,431 100.0%


Having once made my living generating research reports like this I’m eager to dive into underlying details provided in the report and its linked attachments. In the meantime this looks like a major effort that attempts to quantify and define activities that till now have been very vaguely defined if at all. In my book that’s a very good thing.

Related reading:

Copyright © 2013 by Dennis D. McDonald, Ph.D. Dr. McDonald is an independent project management consultant based in Alexandria, Virginia. His web site is located at and his email address is 

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