Since announcing the plan to create the World Wide Web Foundation in September 2008, this proto-Web-site has been pretty quiet. Silence should not be mistaken for inactivity. Here’s an update on what we’ve been doing, and what you will see as we ramp-up our activity during 2009.
In the last quarter of 2008, we made substantial progress on setting-up the “business” side of the Web Foundation (eg, bylaws, budgeting, boards, branding, tax-exempt applications, processes, legal services, financial services, etc). Though this work may not be interesting to most of you, it will prove important to creating a solid and flexible framework for tackling the ambitious challenges that we will undertake.
With the help of the Monitor Group, we developed the strategy for the Foundation’s future efforts. Our emphasis will be on advancing the Web to empower people and benefit humanity. We are developing plans for projects that aim to have a real impact in the world, including a blueprint for providing overall Web community focus and leadership, and for supporting Web science and standards. We also plan to launch a targeted initiative to accelerate the usability and usefulness of the Web on simple mobile phones in the hands of people who need life-critical services or who have services to provide. More on the strategy and plans in later postings.
How are we going to fund all of this work? Our 2009 began with a deposit of the first installment of the $5-million / 5-year grant from the John S and James L Knight Foundation. This generous grant is seeding the launch of the Web Foundation. As such the Knight investment is funding most operational (non-program) costs for the foreseeable future, and providing a platform upon which to raise tens of millions of dollars from foundations, corporations, and people like you and me, so that we can achieve results.
With the Knight funding in the bank and working for us, you will see an acceleration of activity on this site and elsewhere in the coming months. At the same time, I hope to see an acceleration of your participation in our activity. A completely new Web site (still at webfoundation.org) will be the focal point for building the Web Foundation community. The new site will provide a place where you — and others who care about the Web and how it can benefit humanity — will exchange ideas, identify challenges and opportunities, volunteer to work, and help to raise funds needed to fuel success.
I’m excited about the year ahead. Watch this space. And prepare to work with us here and around the globe.