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Pizzigati Prize For Software in the Public Interest Open for Nominations

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InfoQ doesn't normally report on the various contests and calls for registration that we receive from the outside. But for the Antonio Pizzigati Prize for Software in the Public Interest, this time we decided to make an exception.

The Pizzigati Prize is a $10,000 prize awarded to "a software developer who adds significant value to the nonprofit sector and movements for social change". The Tides Foundation, established in 1979, administers the prize and is accepting nominations until December 15.

Historically, the prize has been given to projects as general as GNU Mailman (which happens to be used by many non-profits to send e-newsletters) and as specific as CitizenSpeak (an email advocacy Drupal module tailored for non-profits).

The 2009 winner, Darius Jazayeri, created an open source hospital platform that many other developers also contribute to. OpenMRS was seen in action in places like Haiti during the earthquake and in Rwanda, among other places.

Each year, the latest recipient of the prize takes a seat on the panel of judges for the following year's prize. So, for example, last year's winner, Yaw Anokwa, creator of Open Data Kit for collecting survey information, is one of the judges for this year's prize. Mr. Anoka said in an email interview with InfoQ, "The Pizzigati Prize helped introduce ODK to a large community of non-profits. We've seen a steady increase in adoption since." So, for entrants the benefits go beyond the obvious monetary gain.

To be eligible for the prize, a developer needs to have created an application that is free, open source, and is actually put to use by non-profit and advocacy groups right now. It's not strictly necessary that the application be solely for non-profit use; what is most important is that the software makes the lives of non-profit organizations easier in some way. The online application form contains a place for the names of organizations served by the application and those organizations will be contacted by the foundation to find out what kind of difference the software made.

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