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You’re invited to take part in workshops to shape a better digital future across three themes:

Experiencing the web

We all need the internet. This group will explore why digital equity matters to us all. How can we demonstrate its necessity and that it is a foundational interest for civil society?

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If we work in civil society, it’s likely that we depend on the internet to achieve our goals and to serve our communities. How do we demonstrate the importance of digital equity to making progress on our missions and show the consequences when we, or our communities, don’t have access to the necessary tools and connectivity?

This group will develop powerful narratives showing that the internet is a critical shared resource for civil society and demonstrate its necessity and cross-cutting nature across different fields. Conversations and ideas will help tie together digital equity with all areas of civil society: from health care and hunger relief, children’s welfare and climate change, to disaster relief and disease prevention, women’s rights and gender rights.

Civil Society and the future of the distributed web

This group will explore how civil society can best leverage Web3 technologies and help shape their future values.

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Design equity and digital equity should go hand in hand. Civil society has a powerful role to play to ensure the digital products and services that shape the web are safe and useful for our communities. This means having a greater diversity of voices engaged in discussions with policymakers, regulators, and the companies building the technologies we use.

One of the most important emerging technologies for civil society today is the blockchain-based ‘decentralized web’. We have seen in previous generations of the web what happens when digital platforms are dominated by the principles of corporate profit. If technologies like decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), smart contracts, and cryptocurrencies are to align with values of openness and equity,  civil society must be an active participant in the design and evolution of the distributed web.

This forum will help identify ways that civil society can participate in building the future of Web3, from influencing its development to being prepared for new technological developments that may help or hinder the communities we serve.

Financing digital equity

While digital equity is now critical to progress on every issue foundations care about, just 0.05% of philanthropic funds have gone to digital equity causes. How can we direct more funding to bridge the digital divide?

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The UN Sustainable Development Goals call for universal internet access by 2030. But with 1 in 3 people still lacking internet access, and billions more without affordable connectivity and the devices and skills they need to use it, we’re a long way from hitting this target. The market alone will not bridge the digital divide. Meanwhile governments aren’t investing the sums required to close the gap and just .05% of philanthropic funding has gone to digital equity causes in the last decade. To get the job done, we need to bring all players — philanthropy, impact investors, and governments — to the table in a monumental shared effort to build a digital future where everyone is included.

This forum is a space for funders, investors, grantees, and people working to close the digital divide to come together for frank conversations about how to overcome barriers to funding internet expansion and digital equity causes. We will document effective funding strategies, discuss metrics of success, and share ways to de-risk investments in digital equity. We will discuss innovative funding strategies for things like digital navigator programs, connecting rural and low-income areas, and meeting the technology needs of civil society.

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