How Funders Can Help Fill Critical Gaps in Technology for Social Good
Why we need cross-sector assets to undergird next-gen technologies
Right now, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rebuild and reimagine America’s infrastructure systems. Following a decade of underfunding and maintenance backlogs, last year’s historic bipartisan commitment of more than $1 trillion in federal funds toward infrastructure improvements provides an extraordinary moment to modernize the systems that connect and sustain us all.
As we collectively consider how to take advantage of this window of opportunity, we need to start by redefining what infrastructure actually means. For years, the physical, digital, and social dimensions of infrastructure have been treated as separate issues—often siloed and considered in a vacuum. But in truth, then and now, the infrastructure reinforcing society is multidimensional. Each realm is heavily connected and interdependent. If we are to properly build infrastructure designed to withstand the challenges of the 21st century and beyond, we need an equally multidimensional framework for designing, funding and governing it.
This framework absolutely must harness the ever-growing power of technology to best advance the social good. From building databases that better facilitate ethical information sharing across vital entities like hospitals and schools, to ensuring equitable access to vital services, like translating websites that offer access to benefits such as the Child Tax Credit in multiple languages – public interest technology (PIT) is a critical component of our infrastructure.
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