The Technology and Social Justice Field Scan


Research Action Design (RAD) and the Open Technology Institute (OTI), in partnership with organizations across the country, are conducting a community-led Technology for Social Justice Field Scan. The field scan seeks to identify and center diverse practitioners - people, groups, institutions, and networks - who are already working on technology for social good, identify challenges and opportunities that individuals and communities face in this work, examine vision, values, models and approaches to this work, and ultimately make recommendations on how to best foster the growth of the field. This is a participatory research project; methods and analysis of findings will be guided by a diverse group of practitioners.

This participatory research project is funded by the NetGain Partnership, a philanthropic partnership including Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Knight Foundation, Mozilla Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation. In 2016-2017, NetGain seeks to support a field scan that provides a community-based perspective on how to strengthen and build the field of technology for social good. The findings will help the NetGain Partnership make informed choices about how to best support growth and inclusion in the field.

Project Lead

Research Action Design (RAD) uses community-led research, transformative media organizing, technology development, and collaborative design to build the power of grassroots social movements. RAD is a worker-owned collective. Our projects are grounded in the needs and leadership of communities in the struggle for justice and liberation.

Project Co-Lead/Anchor Partner

The Open Technology Institute (OTI) at New America is committed to freedom and social justice in the digital age. To achieve these goals, it intervenes in traditional policy debates, builds technology, and deploys tools with communities.

Project Partners

May First/People Link engages in building movements by advancing the strategic use and collective control of technology for local struggles, global transformation, and emancipation without borders. Flowing from that mission, our organization redefines the concept of “Internet Service Provider” in a collective and collaborative way. Like any democratic membership organization, we gather together each year to evaluate the past year’s experiences, plan the coming year’s work and elect a Leadership Committee to apply what we’ve decided. Like a coop, we pay dues, buy equipment and then we all use that equipment as we need to for websites, email, email lists, and just about everything else we do on the Internet. As a movement organization, we participate in (and often lead) campaigns, struggles, coalitions and network of left, progressive and social justice organizations in the U.S., Mexico and Internationally

Aspiration's mission is to connect nonprofit organizations, foundations and activists with software solutions and technology skills that help them better carry out their missions. We want those working for social justice to be able to find and use the best software available, so that they maximize their effectiveness and impact and, in turn, change the world.

Allied Media Projects cultivates media strategies for a more just, creative and collaborative world. We serve a network of media makers, artists, educators, and technologists working for social justice. Our definition of media includes all forms of communication, from videos and websites to theater, dance, design, and interactive technology. Through the Allied Media Conference and the Sponsored Projects program, AMP shares and supports models for using media for transformative social change.

The Engine Room helps activists, organisations, and other social change agents make the most of data and technology to increase their impact.

Upturn is a legal and policy organization comprised of technologists who address a wide range of issues that intersect with technology in fields including civil rights, social justice, education, voting, criminal justice.

Palante Tech Cooperative works to help progressive nonprofit organizations move forward with the aid of technology. We come to this work with technical expertise, a deep understanding of the particular needs of community organizations, and a long-standing commitment to working for social justice.

Hack the Hood is an award-winning non-profit that introduces low-income youth of color to careers in tech by hiring and training them to build websites for real small businesses in their own communities. During 6-week "Bootcamps," young people gain valuable hands-on experience, build a portfolio, and learn about opporunities in the tech industry, as well as building critical technical, leadership, entrepreneurship, and life skills with mentorship from staff and tech professionals working in the field.