“Craig Newmark to Help Pick Winners of National Competition”

WASHINGTON (November 4, 2009) — Craig Newmark, the founder of “craigslist” and a well-known technology visionary, has agreed to serve on the blue-ribbon panel of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that will review and evaluate ideas to improve disability claims processing times and provide greater transparency to Veterans.

    “Transforming VA into an organization that is Veteran-centric, results-oriented and forward-looking is my top priority,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “Leveraging the talent, innovation and creativity of stakeholders, like Craig Newmark, is just one of the many ways VA can think outside of the box to help deliver tangible results to our nation’s Veterans.”

    The innovation competition solicited ideas from VA employees and members of Veterans Service Organizations who are on the front lines every day, working with Veterans to help deliver benefits they deserve and need.

    VA officials from each of the 57 regional offices across the country have submitted promising ideas, which will be reviewed by Newmark and other panel members.  Patrick W. Dunne, the VA Under Secretary for Benefits, will chair the panel. 

    “I look forward to working with VA’s leadership team to bring tangible results to our Veterans,” said Craig Newmark.  “I am very encouraged by the fact that VA is embracing new ways to look at old problems.”

    In 1995, Newmark launched the first community site on the Internet for people to share information about housing, jobs and other needs.  By April 2009, craigslist received more than 22 billion page-views per month, with more than 50 million members worldwide.

    Newmark is a vocal proponent of using the Internet and technology to support government innovation and maximize the utilization of human capital.  Additionally, Newmark is a passionate supporter of Veterans causes. 

    VA has received and reviewed over 3,000 suggestions since Sept. 8th. The panel will review the top 17 submissions and chose 5 projects that will receive full funding for project development and execution at the Regional Office that submitted the idea.