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It seems to get harder every year. DFA had planned for this to be the final round of our Netroots Nations Scholarship competition, but we have had more entries and more votes cast than any previous year. Applicants have amazingly diverse perspectives on organizing and activism and are working on so many important issues.

I figured it'd be a big year and recruited more help to sift through applications, but it didn't make it any easier. In both Rounds 1 and 2, there were probably as many conversations starting with "Wow, [applicant] is such an awesome choice. S/He's in!" As there were starting with "Hold up. What do you mean we don't have enough slots, have you even READ [applicant's] profile? We'll just have to make the space."

Well, I have two pieces of news.

First, we did make some space. Second, we have an amazing group of scholars who won Round 2.

This round included people from "Blue" states like California and New Jersey, "Red" states like Wyoming, Montana, and Georgia, and organizing hot spots like Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana. Our winners work on issues from immigration reform, to nutritional justice, to deaf activism, to their own candidacies.  

Just some examples: Edward Lynn is the founder of ProgressZine.com, with 62 progressive bloggers since Huff-Po sold out to AOL. He is also the "chief of staff" of the Beer Party. Linda Watson is the author of "Wildly Affordable Organic" and advocates for healthy, sustainable eating for $5 a day. Jasiri X "burst on the International Hip-Hop scene with the controversial hit song 'FREE THE JENA 6'"

I look forward to learning from all these perspectives. I'm proud that they'll be represented at Netroots Nation this year.

Check out our Round 2 winners here.

Well, I couldn't stand to just let that be the end of it. Even with 40 rockstar scholars, there are so many others who deserve a Netroots Nation scholarship. I've been thinking about it all week so I took a look at our budget, stretched a few things here and there and made some room. America's Voice, who's partnered with us is sponsoring two more scholars. A lot of people in the Kos community have helped as well -- TeacherKen got his transportation donated (way to go!) -- and a number of you have donated a small amount to keep the scholarship fund going.

If you can pitch in right now, please donate here to fund the program. If you can help another way, let me know in the comments below.

So the bottom line is that we're having another round -- we can send eight more scholars to Netroots Nation and Round 3 is going to go fast so the winners have time to arrange travel.

This round is going to work a little differently. In addition to the applications, there’s a nomination feature. Do you know an outstanding activist who deserves a scholarship to Netroots Nation but hasn’t applied yet? You can nominate them right now.

We found that in Round 1 and especially Round 2, some of the people who won were initially skeptical that they could even win. Others were unaware of the contest until they were convinced by others to apply. So we developed a way to nominate people you know deserve a scholarship. I'm really excited to see who makes nominations and who they recommend. This round is a clean slate, all the votes reset, and it'll go by quickly.

I'm excited to be able to do this, and proud of the people we already have. It's all because readers like you make it possible. You inspire me.

Now, head on over to the nominations page to  nominate someone new or the applicant page to vote for the applicant who inspires you. And if, like me, you're just all-around inspired and proud of this program, throw in a little cash and keep it going!

And finally, join me in congratulating the winners in the comments below!

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