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Showing posts from November, 2013

President’s Update: Fall 2013

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You may already know that I plan in earnest to provide my personal President’s Updates as quarterly informal reports, but that all too often I fall behind on this well-intended schedule—as is the case with the update you’re reading now!

Don’t get me wrong: I love writing my updates. However, technology is transforming innovation at its core and our team at Benetech does quite well in leveraging this “innovation at warp speed” for social good. In fact, we’re doing so well in that respect that I get to engage more and more in new opportunities to advance our nonprofit mission—but less in writing my updates.

In all seriousness, 2013 has been an incredibly busy and productive year for us. I’m excited to share highlights from our work and its significance for the multitudes we serve. Highlights of this Update:
Global LiteracyHuman RightsBenetech LabsCommunicationsGlobal Literacy

Bookshare celebrated a double milestone this summer, reaching over 200,000 available titles in our collection a…

Doing the Right Stuff Right for Human Rights

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This blog originally appeared on the Huffington Post

In December 1981 soldiers of the Salvadoran Army’s Atlacatl Battalion entered the village of El Mozote, where they murdered hundreds of men, women and children. Although reports of the massacre appeared in the United States, Salvadoran army and government leaders denied them and, all too soon, El Mozote was forgotten.

It wasn’t until 1993, when a reconstruction of these events by American journalist Mark Danner first appeared in The New Yorker, that the full story of the El Mozote massacre was brought to light and sent shock waves through the international community. I was aghast that it could take a dozen years for the world to believe the massacre had happened. The tough question that ran through my mind was: How can we as technologists in Silicon Valley help prevent this kind of atrocity?

A decade later, in 2003, Benetech—the nonprofit tech company I founded and lead—launched our Human Rights Program to address this very question…

Mobilizing Impact at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting

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“Mobilizing for Impact.” That was the theme of the ninth Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting that President Bill Clinton, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton recently convened in New York City last month. At CGI Annual Meetings, leaders from across sectors do more than just developing new ideas or getting inspired: they come together to take real action to address pressing global challenges. I had the honor of attending CGI 2013 where I announced Benetech’s latest Commitment to Action.

I’ve just had the chance to reflect on how cool CGI 2013 and some of the ideas I’m still processing!

From the opening “Mobilizing for Impact” panel moderated by President Clinton and featuring Bono, Khalida Brohi, Christine Lagarde, Mo Ibrahim and Sheryl Sandberg (including Bono’s hilarious “Clinton” impersonation, as well as Ibrahim accusing most of corporate attendees of exploiting Africa); to a 1:1 conversation with President Obama and President Clinton about the benefits…

Support Bookshare for Veterans

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The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimated earlier this year that about 3 million veterans, or 14 percent of the total veteran population, had a service-connected disability. For veterans with visual impairments, traumatic brain injuries or other disabilities, reading standard print is difficult, if not impossible. For them, Bookshare—Benetech’s Global Literacy initiative and the world’s largest accessible digital library for people with print disabilities—opens up a lifeline to reading.

Today through Friday, November 22nd, you can give disabled veterans the gift of reading via Bookshare by joining Benetech’s Bookshare for Veterans crowdfunding campaign.

This campaign is part of the Social Entrepreneurs Challenge, an effort launched by the Skoll Foundation in partnership with The Huffington Post and CrowdRise in order to support leading social enterprises. All the organizations participating in the Challenge are recipients of the Skoll Award for Social Entre…