The Pizzigati Prize

Celebrate software developers who create open source apps and tools that nonprofit and advocacy groups can put to good use.

The Pizzigati Prize for Software in the Public Interest honors the life and legacy of Antonio “Tony” Pizzigati, an early advocate of open source computing. Tony never had a chance to fulfill his computing dreams, so the prize was created to help others realize theirs.

Subscribe to be notified when applications open this winter for the 2025 prize.

Uplifting social impact, collaboration, and sharing

The Pizzigati Prize provides grants to developers making a two-faceted contribution to social change.

First, they've had an important practical impact, creating software that helps nonprofits more effectively serve their communities. Second, against the idea that progress demands competition between people striving to get ever richer, these developers instead model a key principle of the open source movement: We all benefit when we work together. In the continuing struggle for a better world, this commitment to social impact, collaboration, and sharing is what the Pizzigati Prize celebrates.

In addition to cash grants, the prize provides publicity for achievements crucial to social progress and also enhances the stature of public interest computing and people's understanding of it.

Along the way, this prize links public interest software developers with each other and with the nonprofit and advocacy groups that so strongly need their assistance.

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2024 Pizzigati Prize

Join us in celebrating KoboToolbox!

We were excited to award $10,000 during the Nonprofit Technology Conference to help KoboToolbox continue its work

We reviewed terrific applications for this year's award, so we asked all the creators to share a little about their projects and how you can support their work.

Aam Digital is an easy-to-use case management software for the social sector that improves the effectiveness and transparency of work with beneficiaries. As a social enterprise and Germany-based, Open Source, SaaS startup, we enable digitization of the social sector, where appropriate tools are still hard to come by. For example, our system helps social workers and teachers of an education support programme to easily manage all information about students’ development, attendance and health. Staff can spend time working with people rather than doing paperwork, while our tools help them collaborate and keep an overview of progress and critical cases.

Email Sebastian Leidig to help with fundraising, marketing, and partnerships.

IDinsight uses data, evidence, and tech to inform policy. Ask A Question is a free and open-source tool created to help non-profit organizations, governments in developing nations, and social sector organizations utilize Large Language Models for responding to citizen inquiries in their native languages.

Email Tanmay Verma to help with development, testing, and fundraising to grow the product.

Fasten is an open-source, self-hosted, personal/family electronic medical record aggregator, designed to integrate with 100,000's of insurance companies, healthcare providers and laboratories. It securely connects patient healthcare providers together, creating a personal health record that never leaves the patient's hands without their consent.

Email Jason Kulatunga to help with development, design, fundraising, legal, marketing, partnerships, and testing.

At GPS Financial, our mission is to elevate financial literacy rates within the Latinx communities across Arizona and Utah. We are committed to breaking down the barriers that hinder access to meaningful financial planning and guidance.

Our primary focus would be to expand our team, as this need would amplify our capacity to support the Latino community at a larger scale. This impact would also expand our serviced community past state borders to create more success for a larger audience. Email Gabriela Gibbons to learn more.

InReach is a trans-led tech nonprofit building the world’s first open source platform matching LGBTQ+ people facing persecution or discrimination with safe, independently verified resources. Our vision is for every trans and queer person to have on-demand access to the safe resources they need to thrive.

We are especially interested in connecting with prospective funders, donors and corporate partners who are interested in helping us to scale the free InReach platform at this pivotal moment for TGNC/LGBTQ+ rights in the United States. Sample ways individuals can take action can be found on our website. Email Tanmay Verma to learn more.

We provide KoboToolbox, a free data collection tool for survey and monitoring/evaluation to nonprofits worldwide. Our mission is to is to empower individuals and organizations to generate insights and make informed decisions that drive positive change around the world. More than 175,000 users from over 13,000 organizations use KoboToolbox to collect data to better inform and measure their programs for social impact, sustainable development, environmental protection, human rights, and similar areas.

We are in the process of scaling our work from a small academic project to a globally operating organization for thousands of nonprofits. We are looking for experienced advisors in the areas of fundraising, marketing, strategic partnerships, management, and legal. Email Tino Kreutzer to help with fundraising, legal, marketing, partnerships, and testing

Freedom of Information (FOI) is a powerful way to hold authorities to account. Our opensource Alaveteli website helps to lower the barriers that prevent citizens asking questions of those in power. The project supports FOI websites around the world.

Email Tanmay Verma to help with:

  • Legal support on defamation, GDPR and data rights.
  • Partnerships where we can help organisations that support marginalised communities source useful data from public authorities.
  • Fundraising support to cover the costs of maintaining and developing the sites, along with facilitating learning across the network of international sites.

Partnering with six literacy and employment service providers, the project developed and piloted 18 modules that guide users on leveraging smartphones to enhance workforce skills and secure employment. The flexible blended learning curriculum, adapting to pandemic protocols, ensures accessibility through online, synchronous/asynchronous, and in-person training.

MTML is planning to apply for additional funding to create new modules. We will follow the same pattern of conducting research with learners/clients and identify their needs and then create new learning materials. We also want to market the resources to a much wider audience and build partnerships to develop and deliver new modules related to smartphones. Email Ambreen Ahmad to learn more.

Somleng is the world's only Open Source Telco-as-a-Service (TaaS) and Communications-Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS). With the support of UNICEF, we're helping to save lives by reaching some of the most remote and vulnerable communities around the world.

Email David Wilkie to help with fundraising.

A rapid and equitable energy transition needs a diversity of participants who are empowered to intervene with high-quality, accessible energy data. Catalyst Cooperative created the Public Utility Data Liberation project to bridge the gap between available and accessible U.S. energy data – publishing free and open-source energy data and collaborating with non-profits, scholars and local advocates working to decarbonize the United States. As a worker-owned, mission-driven tech cooperative, we’re proud to support data-driven policy-making, enable rigorous and reproducible energy research, and reduce inequities in high-quality energy data access.

We are always looking for funding to integrate new datasets (natural gas data is high on our data wish list) and improve the usability of PUDL. We also partner and contract with orgs to supplement data skillsets of an in-house data team, provide foundational data inputs for bespoke analyses, or build complete data products from start to finish. Email Katherine Lamb to learn more.

Ushahidi is a global not-for-profit technology company that develops integrated tools and services to enable people to generate solutions and mobilize communities for good. We build our open-source software with the intent of strengthening communities and improving lives, empowering users to rapidly and purposefully gather, analyze, respond and act on data and information.

Since our founding in 2008 as a tool to monitor and map post-election violence in Kenya, Ushahidi’s crowdsourcing tools have been used by thousands of groups and millions of people to raise voices, inform decisions, stop suffering and influence change.

Email David Losada to help with development, design, partnerships, testing, and translation.

ZubHub is an open-source, documentation & collaboration tool for activity-based learning. It is based on MIT Media Lab’s Lifelong Kindergarten’s 4Ps of learning- Projects, Passion, Peers and Play. On ZubHub, children and educators can get inspired by a collection of activity ideas and projects, learn how to build with the materials and tools they already have access to, and share their creations with others. ZubHub is a fully customizable, open-source tool, and other organizations can host a decentralized version of it to build learning communities, revolving around their own activities. Organizations can even self-host it in low or no-internet bandwidth areas.

We are a very new organization, and are currently primarily looking for funding to hire developers independently and new collaboration which will help us grow and expand ZubHub's userbase. We are also trying to make ZubHub a seamless and bug-free platform but currently lack the bandwidth to do so. Currently, it is being used in classroom settings in schools across India, and technical challenges hinder children's experience with the platform. Email Srishti Sethi to learn more.

About Tony Pizzigati

Tony Pizzigati looks upward as holds a piece of chalk

Born in 1971, Antonio “Tony” Pizzigati jumped into the world of computers early on. At the age of 10, he programmed his first computer and, at 14, helped CISPES, the group that led opposition to Reagan-era U.S. policy in Central America, straighten out its database.

Tony would go on to earn a computer science degree from MIT and work at the world-famous MIT Media Lab and later the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science. When only a very few people knew about the new universe called the World Wide Web, Tony was among the earliest web authors. After moving to California in 1994, he built a name for himself in Silicon Valley as a software consultant.

Tony died the following spring in a car crash.

Get inspired by past recipients

Award selection

The Pizzigati Prize celebrates software developers who create, for free public distribution, open source apps and tools that nonprofit and advocacy groups can put to good use.

We welcome applications from individuals, teams, and organizations that have developed an easily available software product that qualifies as open source, as defined by the Open Source Initiative. This software must have demonstrated its value to at least one nonprofit and the communities it serves, and be of potential value to multiple other nonprofits.

Applicants are evaluated on a range of criteria, including demonstrated impact, equitable access, and strength of community. A committee that includes veteran public interest computing activists selects the prize recipients.


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