Our mission is to empower communities with software for social good. We achieve our mission by uniting two worlds: the social sector and Silicon Valley. We serve as a bridge between the social sector and Silicon Valley by working closely with both communities to identify needs and software solutions that can drive positive social change.
Benetech was founded to be a different kind of tech company – a nonprofit—with a pure focus on developing technology for social good. Benetech has several main program areas – Education, Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation, and employment– and focuses on projects that offer the greatest social return on the funds invested.
About This Cause
Jim Fruchterman, social entrepreneur and MacArthur Fellow, founded Benetech in 2001, and in 2018 handed the CEO reins to longtime president, Betsy Beaumon.
Technology has the potential to improve the lives of people all around the world. And yet, too often this beneficial technology isn’t pursued because it won’t generate big profits. As a nonprofit, Benetech bridges that gap by developing technology focused on helping people, not generating big profits. Benetech has over 70 employees, the majority of whom work out of its headquarters in Silicon Valley. For more information, please visit benetech.org.
Here is how we are developing and applying software for social good to help people around the world:
• Education: We believe that access to information is a universal human right. Yet more than ninety percent of books and published materials cannot be read by people with disabilities. Our work in education is focused on one big thing: making information accessible to everyone around the world through software. Millions of people around the world are left behind because of disabilities. Students with dyslexia struggle in school because they cannot read traditional books. Blind adults do not pursue meaningful work because they cannot read printed career development materials. Seniors and baby boomers with macular degeneration can no longer enjoy their local newspaper or beloved New York Times bestsellers. We are changing this. Through innovative education software and services, we are transforming how people with disabilities access information and how the publishing industry creates content accessible to all. https://benetech.org/work-area/education/
• Human Rights: The software, services and training our Human Rights Program provides keeps human rights defenders safe and have become critically important in larger efforts to pursue reform, seek justice and begin the process of reconciliation. https://benetech.org/work-area/human-rights/
* Poverty: Even as economies around the world grow, global inequality levels continue to rise. Education, housing, and employment among others, are all critical socioeconomic ingredients necessary for people to live and prosper. Through information and data-driven social innovation, our poverty alleviation efforts are helping to close the gaps and provide a bridge to new opportunities for those that need it. https://benetech.org/work-area/poverty/
Bookshare is an initiative of Benetech. Bookshare is the world’s largest online accessible library of copyrighted content for people with print disabilities. Through its technology initiatives and partnerships, Bookshare seeks to raise the floor on accessibility issues so that individuals with print disabilities have the same ease of access to print materials as people without disabilities. In 2007 and again in 2012 and 2017, Bookshare received five-year awards from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), to provide free access for all U.S. students with a qualified print disability. The Bookshare library now has over 700,000 books and serves more than 500,000 members. And Bookshare technology is spanning the globe, powering digital libraries for people with disabilities in the UK, Canada, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines and other countries where the need is great. To learn more about Bookshare, please visit https://bookshare.org.