Craigslist founder joins VA innovation panel

Craig Newmark, founder of advertising Web site Craigslist, has agreed to serve on the VA blue-ribbon panel that will evaluate ideas to improve disability claims processing time and provide greater transparency for veterans.

“Transforming VA into an organization that is veteran-centric, results-oriented and forward-looking is my top priority,” VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said. “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.”

VA solicited ideas from its own employees, as well as veterans service organizations. VA officials from the 57 regional offices have submitted ideas to be reviewed by Newmark and other panel members.

In 1995, Newmark launched Craigslist, the first community Web site for people to share information about housing, jobs and other needs. Today, it logs more than 22 billion page views per month, with more than 50 million members worldwide.

Newmark is a vocal advocate of using the Internet and technology to support government innovation and maximize the use of human capital. Additionally, Newmark is a passionate supporter of veterans’ causes.

VA has received and reviewed over 3,000 suggestions since Sept. 8. The panel will review the top 17 submissions and choose five projects to receive full funding from whatever regional office submitted each idea.