Latest funding—from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Families And Workers Fund, The Ford Foundation and The Beeck Family—further bolsters the Beeck Center’s mission to align, convene, and leverage civic tech networks to make public benefits systems work better for everyone
The Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University—an interdisciplinary organization focused on projects that solve societal challenges using data, design, technology, and policy—today announced that it has received over $11 million in new funding in support of its ongoing efforts. The funding includes a $5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; a $5 million gift from Alberto and Olga Maria Beeck, awarded by the family in late 2022; a $800,000 grant from The Families And Workers Fund; and a $500,000 grant from the Ford Foundation.
Each grant and gift will support specific work within the Beeck Center, helping to expand its portfolio of action-oriented projects and will further cement the Beeck Center as a reputable, interconnected hub for governments on the state of public benefits and digital services best practices, a reputable convener, and a trusted steward building alignment across the digital benefits and services fields on shared goals, practices, and metrics. To date, over 262 million people across the U.S. have been touched by the Beeck Center’s projects.
“We are incredibly proud of the work being done by the fellows, students, and staff at the Beeck Center,” said Alberto Beeck, Cofounder of the Beeck Center and Chair of its Advisory Board. “For nine years the Center has worked to enhance people’s experience in accessing public benefits and digital government services. We’re also thrilled to continue to inspire the next generation of students who are charting the Center’s continued growth as they forge a human-centered future of civic tech.”
The Beeck Center will direct the funding provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Ford Foundation to scale the organization’s Digital Benefits Network and Digital Service Network—programs that uniquely position the Beeck Center to expand research and public goods dissemination, formal training and technical assistance programs, service delivery capacity-building and talent retention, and create recommendations to scale the practices needed to sustain the equitable, human-centered, data-driven delivery of public benefits and digital government services.
“The Beeck Center’s Digital Benefits Network and Digital Service Network are models of public interest technology, expanding both talent access and community-based research to ensure public goods reach everyone, especially the most vulnerable,” said Jenny Toomey, director of the Ford Foundation’s Catalyst Fund. “Ford Foundation is proud to support the Beeck Center’s efforts to shape a future grounded in equitable, people-centered delivery of public services.”
In parallel paths, funding received from The Families And Workers Fund will be devoted to the Beeck Center’s Unemployment Insurance Technology Coordinating Coalition. A node in the Beeck Center’s Digital Benefits Network, the Coalition engages cross-sector practitioners involved in UI service delivery, technology and policy reform, and advocacy for beneficiaries. Over the next two years, the Coalition will continue its focus on improving the capacity and resilience of the UI system to promote technology and policy solutions that improve timeliness, increase equity especially for BIPOC and other historically marginalized communities, and prevent fraud. With new capacity, the Coalition will expand its engagement with state governments as they improve their UI systems.
“Losing a job is one of the scariest life events many of us will face. Unemployment insurance is meant to help us get the support we all need and deserve while navigating the job search. Unfortunately, applying for UI is too often overly complicated, time-consuming, and confusing.” said Rachel Korberg, Co-founder and Executive Director of The Families And Workers Fund. “The Family and Workers Fund is thrilled to support the Unemployment Insurance Tech Coordinating Coalition at the Beeck Center to find solutions that keep people on the pathway to uplifting, sustaining careers.”
The funding comes at a time when increased financial investment is meeting increased political support for crucial projects working to increase economic mobility in unprecedented ways. The work this funding supports provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform broken systems and put in place data-informed infrastructure that builds on individual efforts across state and local governments to bridge a whole-of-society approach that advances outcomes across the board.
“We are grateful for the generous support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Alberto and Olga Maria Beeck, The Families And Workers Fund, and the Ford Foundation,” said Aaron Snow, Interim Executive Director of the Beeck Center. “This funding enables us to build on our current work and drive transformative change to improve access to and delivery of public benefits.”
About the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation
The Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University brings together students, expert practitioners, and extended networks to work on projects that solve societal challenges using data, design, technology, and policy. An anchor of Georgetown University’s Tech and Society network, its projects test new ways for public and private institutions to leverage data and analytics, digital technologies, and service design to help more people. For more information, please visit beeckcenter.georgetown.edu.
About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Mark Suzman, under the direction of Co-chairs Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates and the board of trustees.
About The Ford Foundation
The Ford Foundation is an independent organization working to address inequality and build a future grounded in justice. For more than 85 years, it has supported visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. Today, with an endowment of $16 billion, the foundation has headquarters in New York and 10 regional offices across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.
About The Families And Workers Fund
The Families And Workers Fund is a platform for collective action and a pooled $65+ million collaborative fund supported by 25 diverse funders working together to build a more equitable economy that uplifts all. We were founded on the belief that the United States is experiencing a once-in-a-generation opening to advance economic security, opportunity, and mobility. The Fund is able to respond quickly and effectively to emerging ideas by leveraging catalytic partnerships and collaboration across philanthropy, government, and the private sector.
Joanna Rosholm, Original Strategies