An excerpt from The Tech That Comes Next
More than 10 percent of families in the United States today are food insecure. When Robert Lee started Rescuing Leftover Cuisine (RLC) in New York City to distribute excess wholesome cuisine to food-insecure communities, RLC operated at a small, human scale. Over the years, RLC engaged a tech partner who understood nonprofits to reduce administrative overhead and incorporate community feedback into tech development. Now, RLC has a purpose-built platform that allows RLC to redirect staff time from tactical operations to strategic thinking and expansion planning. Requests for new features for the platform are prioritized based on staff and community feedback. RLC incorporates technical strategy into its overarching organizational strategy. The shift to using technology to extend their mission paid significant dividends: RLC now provides wholesome food redistribution services to eight cities around the United States.
In the forthcoming book The Tech That Comes Next: How Changemakers, Philanthropists, and Technologists Can Build an Equitable World, we explore the implications of our use, creation, and funding of technology for social impact. The book describes the opportunities we all have—across nonprofits, funding (including business, venture capital, philanthropic foundations, and more), policymaking, tech development, and in community—to change our relationship to technology, create more equitable processes and relationships, and to build with a more inclusive future in mind. We include a number of case studies, including the RLC story, that illustrate pieces of what this might look like. They provide frameworks for you to begin building the tech that comes next today. The work to change how we develop and use technology is not easy, and the book does not provide a checklist for change that might give that impression. The book does encourage readers to expand on the vision—creating a more inclusive, equitable world requires participation and visioning from many people.
This is a book about technology. This a book about equity. This is a book about how we can meet community needs. More than anything, this a book that asks you to asks questions. —Amy Sample Ward and Afua Bruce
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