Many years ago I had the wild idea to start a deliberately nonprofit technology company in the heart of Silicon Valley. I knew that technology, when applied for social good, promised to usher in positive and sustainable change. Today’s 10 million download milestone is a celebration of our ability to deliver on that promise. Ten […]
Jim Fruchterman, Benetech CEO, has written an article published today in the Summer 2016 issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review on the growing urgency in the social sector to make better use of data to inform decision-making and evaluate performance. An excerpt follows: Everyone in the social sector, it seems, is discussing how to use […]
Benetech is delighted to welcome three leaders who join our senior management team and Board of Directors. Sukhi Nagesh joins Benetech as chief financial officer and vice president of finance, Brad Turner as vice president of our Global Literacy Program, and Sam Bright as a member of our Board of Directors. Their expertise and experience in technology and business will be invaluable to our efforts to increase our social impact at scale.
Access to information and knowledge is a basic human right and a necessary first step towards personal, economic, and social development. Yet around the world, over 100 million individuals are denied this basic right. They include people who are blind, visually impaired, have dyslexia, or have a physical disability that prevents them from reading regular […]
This is a thrilling time to be in the technology-for-good business. The speed at which consumer and mobile technologies are evolving opens up so many opportunities to make greater social impact that touches more people faster. Our team has been thinking hard about Benetech’s next phase of growth and how we can best seize the tremendous opportunities available to us today to build a better tomorrow for all. My special passion recently has been thinking about using data for greater impact: watch for thought pieces from me on this topic in the coming months. I am delighted to share some of our latest news and exciting developments in our core programs.
The World Blind Union’s (WBU) Right to Read campaign for ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty just concluded two days of meetings in Berlin, Germany. The attendees were mostly the regional coordinators of the campaign, and the news was good. I found the optimism exciting: it seems like we’re moving quickly to getting twenty countries to ratify the Treaty. It even seems likely that it could happen in 2015!
At Benetech, we’re fortunate to have had long-time support from funders who have been willing to bet on us. One foundation that has been a committed supporter of our work is the Lavelle Fund for the Blind. Over and over again, it has allowed us to pilot and eventually scale technology solutions that empower disadvantaged communities. The Fund demonstrates the incredible social impact that private philanthropy can create through smart investing strategies and risk tolerance.
My personal goal is to channel the aspirations of the technology community to do more social good. More and more of my time is spent around both raising money and raising awareness of how much more could be done with technology to increase social impact. In this update, I’m delighted to be able to share Benetech’s latest efforts to do both. First, I’ll cover our biggest fundraising effort of the year: individual philanthropy is crucial to us; it’s the portion that makes 10X impact possible! Then I’ll share the latest stories on the impact of our tech volunteerism and human rights tech efforts as well our new tech leadership.
I’m delighted to announce that the Benetech team is celebrating a new milestone: we have successfully exited our environment software enterprise, Miradi, and turned continued management and maintenance of this open source software tool to the conservation community. Miradi has grown to a place where it can be self-sufficient and managed independently by the conservation community. Benetech’s commitment to open source made this transition easy.
A group of Benetech supporters recently came together to give the gift of reading in honor of our long-time board member Jim Kleckner. Jim recently lost his father, retired ophthalmologist James Franklin Kleckner. We decided to create the James Franklin In Memoriam collection, with a focus on science and technology books written for the lay audience. With a gift of just $50, we can add a new ebook to the Bookshare collection, making that book available to hundreds of thousands of Bookshare members with disabilities. You can now give the gift of reading by joining Benetech’s fundraiser campaign as part of the Skoll Foundation’s second annual Skoll Social Entrepreneurs Challenge.