Why Foundations of All Kinds Should Promote Internet Access – Opinion – The Chronicle of PhilanthropyFord Foundation president writes an op-ed arguing that the internet is fundamental to all the work of philanthropy.
The Quixote Foundation, a $16 million private foundation, has announced they intend to grant out their full endowment by 2017. They're calling the process a "Spend Up" (rather than "spend down") and their website explains why they are doing it.
The Center for Effective Philanthropy is known for their well regarded Grantee Perception Reports which tell foundations what their grantees think of them. Now they've launched Donor Perception Reports for community foundations. The Napa Valley community foundation is the first to post theirs publicly.
Philanthropy as we understand the concept in America, is not practiced on a widespread basis around the globe. But there are clear signs that it is beginning to catch on in China, India and the middle east. But will emerging economies embrace American style philanthropy?
Advocating internet access for community economic development has been central to our efforts since our white paper on inclusive capitalism. 4 years ago in the strategy paper delivered to Ukraine’s government the socio-economic case was made with this among many o observations:
“Three gigabytes per month, common usage in the US and Europe, usually costs around $150 per month in Ukraine (in the few locations where it is available at all) compared to $50 or less in Europe, the US, and east Asia. This is far beyond affordable for most Ukrainians and, indeed, for most users in other regions of the world where per capita income is much higher. The price target in Ukraine is $30 per month with unlimited traffic, and there is nothing near that cost in most of Ukraine at this time.”
National rollout began a year later based on Nortel wireless infrastructure and together with recommendations for reform in institutionalised childcare, one impact has been a 40% increase in the number of domestic adoptions.
Mexico where Carlos Slim has a major stake in the communications sector in in a similar situation to that of Ukraine 5 years ago. In spite of a large proportion of the population in poverty broadband costs are significantly higher than in Europe and the US.
If products are unaffordable to a large sector of the population, do philanthropic gestures compensate for lack of access to what many are now seeing as a human right – access to information?
The need for foundations to get involved in net access and neutrality was underscored yesterday when the U.S. Court of Appeals overturned an FCC ruling that had forced Comcast to abandon its network management efforts. As part of the decision the judge wrote that the FCC “lacked any statutorily mandated responsibility to enforce network neutrality rules.” FCC commissioner Michael Copps responded: “Today’s decision is not just a blow to the FCC—it’s a blow to all Americans who rely on an open Internet that serves all comers without discrimination…The only way the Commission can make lemonade out of this lemon of a decision is to do now what should have been done years ago: treat broadband as the telecommunications service that it is.” Nonprofits need support from foundations so they can build public support standing with the FCC, making net neutrality a basic service right.