I spent the weekend in New York City visiting friends. While living in Boston gives me a window into the future going to New York City gives one a window into prosperity. Walking around the Upper East Side you can feel the wealth. While Boston may build the future, New York City seems more likely to fund it.
And that is what I have been spending my time thinking about over the past week or two. As I work on my civic technology projects one of the pieces of the puzzle that remains challenging is sustainability and funding. Regular technology projects are often funded by venture capitalists and then supported by product or ad revenue. Civic technology projects need to be financed by increasingly strapped government. We are lucky that many philanthropic foundations like Bloomberg are putting money towards trying to show government that civic technology can work, but we need to build the case that this work is worth including in government budgets that increasingly are under pressure by pension costs.
I never thought of myself as a fundraiser. It is not something that I typically enjoy. However I have spent enough time in politics to understand the importance of fundraising. Money is fuel for growth and change. And growth and change are the things that improve the lives of everyone. If government is to improve the lives of people, the people need to invest in their communities.