National Funders Commit $25M to Center and Accelerate Responsible, Equitable and Ethical AI at Inaugural Joint California Summit on Generative AI

OAKLAND, Calif., May 29, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Kapor Foundation, Omidyar Network, and San Francisco Foundation announced a joint commitment to help fund organizations focused on centering equity in the advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI) across different sectors at the inaugural Joint California Summit on Generative AI. These initial commitments are in response to Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-12-23 signed back in September 2023, to study the development, use, and risks of AI technologies. A critical element of the implementation of this executive order includes ensuring that AI tools are developed and deployed equitably, ethically, and responsibly. This initial investment of $25M aims to drive immediate action and build momentum within the philanthropic sector during this key window of opportunity for impact.

California has the distinction of being a longstanding global leader in technology, yet we have seen pervasive disparities in who creates technologies and who benefits from them. With the proliferation of AI technologies impacting all aspects of society, we must ensure we have a clear community informed stance on the responsible, equitable, and ethical development and use of these technologies and that they serve to uplift all communities, especially those historically marginalized,” said Allison Scott, PhD, CEO of Kapor Foundation. “It is our collective responsibility to create an infrastructure that not only fosters innovation but also safeguards the well-being and rights of all individuals.”

Kapor Foundation, Omidyar Network, and San Francisco Foundation believe that California is uniquely positioned to lead the nation in setting the standards of what responsible, equitable and ethical AI looks like and ensuring all Californians can benefit from its promise and potential. This will require investments across public, private, and nonprofit sectors to:

  • Invest in world-class education to ensure all students are prepared to be critical consumers and producers of emerging technologies
  • Support new approaches to talent development and worker power to prepare the underrepresented workforce for jobs in the emerging technology sector
  • Invest in the development of new technologies and products to address critical inequities across sectors while producing economic gains
  • Advocate to put appropriate regulation and accountability measures in place to protect from potential harms while spurring innovation
  • Investing in innovative solutions to solve the Bay Area’s housing crisis so that everyone can have affordable and secure housing

“We have a momentous opportunity before us to shape an AI future that prioritizes positive human and societal impacts. Omidyar Network aims to build a more inclusive AI infrastructure that centers the social impacts of generative AI, elevates a range of diverse voices in AI development and governance, and promotes innovation and competition to maximize AI’s promise. By bringing together California’s equity-centered stakeholders, from technologists and advocates, to activists, workers, philanthropies, and public sector leaders, we can transform today’s technological ecosystem to ensure innovation in service of society for years to come,” said Anamitra Deb, Managing Director, Responsible Tech at Omidyar Network.

These initial commitments aim to support action and advocacy to advance equitable AI that fosters a thriving multiracial democracy. In parallel, Kapor Foundation, Omidyar Network and the San Francisco Foundation will also work alongside academia, nonprofit, private & public sector organizations to co-design new initiatives that will help change the AI landscape in CA. These funders will also galvanize the philanthropic sector to invest in organizations focused on the use of responsible AI in education, workforce, innovation, and infrastructure.

“We know from prior experiences that new technologies can help to level the playing field and address disparities in access and opportunity, and at SFF we’re in the early stages of exploring the potential of AI to advance equity. But we also know that technology can widen gaps without intervention and diverse participation,” said Fred Blackwell, CEO of the San Francisco Foundation. “Right now, our goal is to deepen our understanding of how this technology will impact our communities and how we can ensure it benefits all of us.”

About Kapor Foundation
Working within the Kapor Center family of organizations to reimagine and reconstruct a more inclusive and equitable technology sector, the Kapor Foundation works at the intersection of racial equity and technology to expand access to K-12 computer science and postsecondary tech pathways, improve tech accountability and worker protections, and increase investments in infrastructure and innovation. We advocate for policy change, conduct research, support partners through strategic grantmaking, and invest in entrepreneurship and VC.

About Omidyar Network
Omidyar Network is a social change venture that reimagines critical systems, and the ideas that govern them, to build more inclusive and equitable societies—for the benefit of the many, not just the few—across the globe.

About San Francisco Foundation
The San Francisco Foundation is committed to a Bay Area where everyone can get a good job, live in a safe and affordable home, and exercise their political voice. The foundation advances its work through grantmaking, partnerships with donors, policy advocacy, and impact investing.

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SOURCE Kapor Foundation