Our session at Council on Foundations Conference - Digital Age Giving: How Technology Affects Everything

The use of the Internet and other new communication technology is surging around the world, driving changes in economic development, human rights, civic engagement, education, arts, culture, and the environment. Recent news from Egypt highlights the impact of this technology—and its vulnerability. Many were shocked that the Internet could be “turned off” in an effort to curtail dissent, but this sort of government and corporate control is one of the deepest unanswered challenges for 21st century democracy, equality, and freedom.

Keeping up with change can be difficult; understanding the new policies that govern these technologies is even more challenging.

In Philadelphia at the Council on Foundations conference, we hosted a session to explore these and other issues in an exciting panel called “How Technology Affects Everything—and What You Can Do about It.” The panel featured:

  • Geoffrey Blackwell, chief of the Office of Native Affairs and Policy, FCC;
  • James Rucker, cofounder and executive director, Color of Change;
  • Michael D. Smith, vice president of Social Innovation, The Case Foundation; and
  • Beth Kanter, social media guru and co-author of The Networked Nonprofit.

After the panel, we broke up into small groups so that participants could dive deeper into a particular interest area with one of our experts.

You can view slides from Beth Kanter's and Michael Smith's presentations, as well as our pre-session slideshow of related infographics. We will post the audio recording from the session if it becomes available through COF.

While many of the participants in the workshop were most interested to learn  about the nuts and bolts of how technology affects work at their foundations, we hope everybody also walked away with an understanding of the government decisions in play that will affect how all foundations and their grantees will be able to communicate. A great place to look for further information on those issues is this page containing video highlights from the Wired for Change conference recently hosted by the Ford Foundation.

Thanks to all who participated in a great workshop!