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Omidyar Network Funds Project On Government Oversight with $1M Grant to Advance Government Transparency

By Luminate

July 15, 2010, REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — Omidyar Network today announced a grant commitment of up to $1 million to the Project On Government Oversight (POGO).  POGO will use the grant to increase its coverage of critical government agencies and augment its communication and outreach efforts to U.S. citizens.  Omidyar Network’s support of the U.S. investigative watchdog group is the sixth and latest grant from its government transparency initiative this year.

“For nearly 30 years POGO has blazed trails in championing government transparency and accountability.  Omidyar Network’s grant will encourage U.S. citizens to become more engaged with POGO’s good work,” said Stacy Donohue, director, investments at Omidyar Network.  “In addition to being a highly respected and effective ‘watchdog,’ POGO excels at developing constructive relationships with those in elected government to bring about reform.  Adding citizens to the conversation through today’s enabling technologies will amplify POGO’s impact for the next several years.”

In addition to Omidyar Network's funding, Donohue will become an observer to POGO's board of directors.  The philanthropic investment firm will also contribute its experience in the for-profit technology sector and its understanding of the catalytic role that technology-driven companies can play in enabling government transparency.

“We are extremely pleased by Omidyar Network’s recognition of POGO’s success and potential.   Omidyar Network’s grant will enable POGO to strengthen our investigative operations in several important areas, including national security, contractor oversight, public health, and financial sector oversight.  In addition, we will expand our external communications to further engage citizens and enable their participation in holding government accountable,” commented Danielle Brian, POGO executive director. 

The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is an independent nonprofit that investigates and exposes corruption and other misconduct in order to achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical U.S. federal government.  Founded in 1981, POGO (which was then known as Project on Military Procurement) originally worked to expose outrageously overpriced military spending on items such as a $7,600 coffee maker and a $436 hammer.  In 1990, after many successes reforming military spending, POGO decided to expand its mandate and investigate waste, fraud, and abuse throughout the federal government. 

In 2002, POGO started its Federal Contractor Misconduct Database (FCMD), www.contractormisconduct.org, a web-based resource designed to track the conduct of the federal government’s largest contractors. The FCMD, which is free and available to the public, was originally designed to help government officials award contracts to companies with solid records of responsibility, integrity and performance. POGO’s database inspired the federal government to create its own contractor responsibility database.  To learn more about POGO, please visit www.pogo.org.

About Omidyar Network
Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change. To date, Omidyar Network has committed more than $350 million to for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple investment areas, including microfinance, property rights, government transparency, and social media. To learn more about Omidyar Network, please visit www.omidyar.com.