Statement on Organizational Independence and Gift Acceptance

Data & Society’s mission is to advance public understanding of the social implications of data-centric technologies and automation. Our team strongly believes that operational decisions should reflect our organizational values of independence, integrity, and equity.

As a 501c3 funded entirely by charitable giving from a range of donors, we recognize the risks inherent to this model, including risks to the integrity and independence of our work, and risks to the viability of executing the work effectively. Therefore, in order to fulfill our mission and adhere to our values, a rigorous gift acceptance policy guides our decision-making about which gifts to accept and which to reject. Our gift acceptance policy (GAP) requires that all our donors support and reflect our values of independence, integrity, and equity.


Who funds Data & Society?
A list of our funders can be found here. This list is updated regularly to include donations over $10,000 we’ve received since our founding in 2013. We also publish our IRS Form 990s and audited financial statements annually on our website.

What criteria do you use in your Gift Acceptance Policy (GAP)?
Gift determinations are made for each potential donor and using our GAP allows us to be consistent in the decision-making process and transparent about the resources we receive. Our criteria is grounded in our values. We don’t accept anonymous donations, although we respect donors who wish to remain anonymous to the public. We also don’t accept funding from donors whose reputation or actions clearly run counter to our values, or who we feel might call into question our values of independence and integrity through perceived influence over our work. We explore through the GAP process other groups that the donor supports, the donor’s ethics and values, their visible commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and the conditions they are asking us to abide by in order to receive a gift, among other questions. We launched our gift acceptance policy in January 2020

What is Data & Society’s relationship with Microsoft?
Data & Society was founded in 2013 with a generous gift from Microsoft. Our funding relationship with Microsoft ended with a final grant in 2017. Our founder, danah boyd, continues in her position as Partner Researcher at Microsoft Research, where she has worked since 2009.

Who can I ask about fundraising at Data & Society?
If you have any questions about Data & Society’s gift history, gift acceptance policy, or our fundraising strategy, please reach out to Joanna Gould, Associate Director of Development at [email protected].