How Knight’s continued support for NetGain will help promote a free and accessible Internet

Technology / Article

Photo by Flickr user Jeremy Brooks.

Today we are announcing a $250,000 grant to New America Foundation to support the launch of the TechCongress Congressional Innovation Fellowship. TechCongress brings technologists to Capitol Hill as fellows, where they can contribute their expertise and ideas to members of Congress. In this way, it aims to help to fill the technology knowledge gap in government and ensure better, more informed decision-making. The two fellows selected for the inaugural class are J.C. Cannon, the founder of Assertive Privacy, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting agency, and John Costello, a research analyst at Defense Group‘s Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis.

The grant to TechCongress is part of Knight Foundation’s participation in NetGain, a partnership of five foundations committed to leveraging the Internet more effectively to achieve philanthropic goals. Today the NetGain partners are announcing five grants for a total of $1.25 million, bringing the total commitment to more than $18 million. Knight Foundation’s participation in NetGain derives from our view that a free and accessible Internet is essential for an informed democracy.

Our participation, and the support for TechCongress, builds on Knight’s previous work in the civic tech space, including the 2014 Knight News Challenge on Strengthening the Internet, which supported 17 projects with more than $3 million, and the 2013 Knight News Challenge on Open Gov, which awarded over $3 million to eight teams working to improve the way citizens and governments interact.

NetGain continues in 2016 with a focus on the future and how the Web can remain a vibrant platform accessible to all as the next 3 billion people around the world come online. How do we ensure that the next generation to join the Internet is able to help shape the innovation economy of the future? Our focus this year is on working with philanthropists from an array of fields that rely on the Internet as a public resource.

Among those fields is libraries. Next week, we will launch a News Challenge on Libraries, asking how might libraries serve 21st century information needs. It’s an open call seeking the best ideas for advancing libraries to better serve individuals and communities. Apply between Feb. 24 and March 21 and join the conversation at newschallenge.org. We look forward to your ideas.  

John Bracken is vice president for media innovation at Knight Foundation. Email him via [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @jsb

If you have questions about the NetGain partnership, contact Eva Pereira at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @EvaNPereira.