The $200 million initiative will fund work at the intersection of AI and democracy, workers’ rights, international rules, and more


(SAN FRANCISCO, CA & WASHINGTON, DC | NOVEMBER 1, 2023) -- Mozilla is joining a coalition of 10 leading philanthropies, with leadership from Vice President Kamala Harris, to invest $200 million in a more trustworthy AI ecosystem.

The ambitious initiative will maximize the benefits and mitigate the harms of AI technologies, which are growing more pervasive and powerful each day. In the coming years, the 10 philanthropies will focus their grantmaking on five key areas identified by Vice President Harris, including the intersection of AI with democracy, international rules, and workers’ rights.

Coalition members include Mozilla; The David and Lucile Packard Foundation; Democracy Fund; the Ford Foundation; Heising-Simons Foundation; the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Kapor Foundation; Omidyar Network; Open Society Foundations; and Wallace Global Fund.

Says J. Bob Alotta, Senior Vice President of Global Programs at Mozilla: “There is currently a harmful status quo in AI — one defined by profit before people, centralized power, and little transparency or accountability. With this new coalition, we’re using philanthropy and collective power to resource a new status quo — one where AI prioritizes the public good.”

With this new coalition, we’re using philanthropy and collective power to resource a new status quo — one where AI prioritizes the public good.

J. Bob Alotta, Senior Vice President of Global Programs at Mozilla

Mozilla’s investments will build on its years of work in this space. Mozilla will continue to run projects like the Responsible Computing Challenge, which trains the next generation of ethical technologists; Common Voice, which rethinks data governance and makes voice AI more inclusive; and the Open Source Audit Tooling Project, which strives to make algorithmic transparency mainstream.

The coalition comes at a crucial time for the AI community broadly and Mozilla specifically. As the White House circulates its Executive Order on AI and a heated debate unfolds about AI safety, Mozilla is engaging on both those fronts.

Specifically, the $200 million initiative will fund AI across five areas of need:

Actions to ensure that AI protects democracy and the rights and freedoms of all people:

Philanthropies acting in this pillar are supporting initiatives to protect U.S. democracy from the potentially destabilizing effects of AI. These efforts include defending free and fair elections while combating disinformation and the undermining of public trust. The philanthropies are also funding projects to develop inclusive, rights-respecting AI governance frameworks and to guard against harmful impacts to historically marginalized communities.

Actions to leverage AI to innovate in the public interest and deliver breakthroughs to improve quality of life for people around the world:

The philanthropies are seeking to ensure that current and future AI innovators are leveraging AI to improve quality of life for all people and serve the public interest. Projects include efforts to build policymakers’ understanding and use of AI and relevant technology to shape effective and equitable policy, and to redefine computer science education, research, and technology to center the needs, problems, and aspirations of all. They also include investments in inclusive technology development, educational opportunities in ethical design, and other programs that encourage responsible technology development and deployment.

Actions to empower workers to thrive amid AI-driven changes across sectors and industries:

The philanthropies are aligning investments to maximize the benefits and mitigate the harms of AI for all people by empowering workers to shape how AI systems impact their work, current and emerging industries, and the world’s economies. Funding supports efforts to ensure AI systems respect labor rights and foster quality jobs by ensuring workers guide AI and its impact on working conditions. The philanthropies will also work to pioneer new economic thinking on competition, trade, and industrial policies to strengthen worker autonomy and power and integrate labor priorities into broader technology policy agendas while taking other actions to empower workers.

Actions to improve interpretability, transparency, and accountability for AI models, companies, and deployers:

Under this initiative, philanthropies are supporting efforts to hold AI companies accountable for racial, social, and economic bias, as well as funding projects to develop and advocate for strategies to increase transparency and accountability for AI companies and deployers. Philanthropies are supporting endeavors that focus on a broad range of AI-driven harms and advance research to address power disparities and monopoly in the tech industry, among other efforts.

Actions to support the development of international AI rules and norms:

The philanthropies aligned in this initiative are working with global partners to advance the development and implementation of responsible international AI governance and norms. Funded projects include development of policy frameworks, research that illuminates impacts of discrimination and bias, and advocacy efforts to ensure civil society has a seat at the table as international rules are developed.


Press contact: Kevin Zawacki | [email protected]