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.
Uplifting social impact, collaboration, and sharing
The Pizzigati Prize provides grants to developers making a two-faceted contribution to social change.
First, they have had an important practical impact, creating software that helps nonprofits more effectively serve their communities. Second, against the idea that progress demands cutthroat 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 public 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.
2022 Pizzigati Prize
Join us in celebrating Human Essentials, Every.org, and Snap!
Historically, the Pizzigati Prize has provided a $10,000 grant to one recipient. In 2022, thanks to the generous support of GitHub Social Impact, we're excited to have awarded one $10,000 grant and two $5,000 grants.
About Tony Pizzigati
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
Applications for the 2022 Pizzigati Prize are closed.
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 already demonstrated its value to at least one nonprofit and the communities served by that organization, 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. An advisory committee that includes veteran activists in the public interest computing community selects the prize recipients.