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Thanksgiving is a time of year where we ideally slow down from our daily pace, and reflect on what is important to us: family, friends, health, goodwill towards others. I’ve always appreciated the fact that the focus of Thanksgiving is celebrating connections between people near and far.

As part of our civic engagement work for Microsoft New England, we are fortunate to work with a breadth of passionate, compassionate and thoughtful people who work in a number of ways towards building a stronger community. In the spirit of the season, we thought it would be a good time to express our gratitude to some of the people who devote their energies, brainpower and resources towards the greater civic good. We are grateful for:

  • The civic technologists who look closely at community challenges and thoughtfully pursue solutions. There are so many organizations in this space for which we are appreciative: from Code for Boston, to startups like Agora and CoUrbanize, to the City of Boston’s Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics.
  • The people and organizations who support said civic technologists, by providing resources, funding, space, ideas and support. From the venture capitalists who take a chance on a civic technology startup, accelerators like MassChallenge that kickstart a civic startup’s growth, to District Hall and Venture Café who create the space for ideas and community networks to flourish—many people contribute towards the support of the civic space.
  • The government entities who both remind the tech community of its societal priorities as well as support civic innovation. We are so fortunate to have thought leadership at the city, regional and state level in the civic technology space, who represent the opportunities that technology can address, sponsor civic technology activities, and lead as talented practitioners.
  • The educators and educational institutions who teach the skills needed for civic innovation, whether that’s coding, the civic process, or the steps to citizenship.
  • The citizens who are willing to take an evening, or set of evenings, to share their knowledge, give input, write code for a worthy civic cause.

By no means is this an exhaustive list. There are people who, by their daily actions, demonstrate civic affiliation, whether it’s voting, picking up a piece of trash, or volunteering their time. Whether your civic activities are public or private, professional or personal: we are grateful for what you do!

Is there an organization we should add to our list? Let us know — tweet to us at @MSNewEngland or by using our #civictechbos hashtag.

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