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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Ethics Center Received $1 Million in 2020 Grants to Assist with Host of Challenges

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The Ethics Center was awarded several significant grants in 2020, totaling more than $1 million. These grants are for initiatives intended to find solutions to some of the most critical ethical challenges currently facing our world. These projects focus mostly on technology and journalism with specific aims to generate greater equality and diversity. 

Below is a list of the donors and the project their donation will fund: 

The Democracy Fund grant supports the Solidarity Journalism Initiative. This initiative offers training and resources to help journalists and journalism students enrich their reporting on marginalized communities. As criticism of systemic racism in the news industry has grown in recent months, this initiative offers a crucial intervention to improve coverage of ongoing social injustices. The grant was issued through the Rights and Dignity Working Group, a multi-organizational partnership of The Omidyar Group that is committed to addressing conditions and systems of hate through a values-based, collaborative approach.

The Google News Initiative grant funded the Source Diversity Digital Dashboard and Monitor project. This will help newsrooms visualize source-diversity proportions in quotes through an automated dashboard, for both draft and published articles. 

News Quality Initiative (NewsQ) and City University of New York (CUNY)’s grant was allocated to Using Ethics to Detect the Boundaries of Journalistic Behavior Online. This project has successfully validated the hypothesis that source-diversity in news article quotes is worth considering as a journalistic behavior to classify sites.

A grant from the Templeton Foundation will support the Summer Institute in Technology Ethics (SITE) program. This is a two-week, intensive, interdisciplinary educational program for philosophers and technologists that aims to prepare instructors to teach technology ethics courses, while helping to bridge significant gaps in the moral expertise linking AI and technology ethics. 

A grant from Facebook supports the Giving Definitional Power for Journalism to Marginalized Communities project. This work will identify vocabulary that lets the voices of marginalized and excluded communities define and clarify aspects of responsible journalism. 

The Markkula Foundation’s grant will be applied to the Internet Ethics and Journalism and Media Ethics Programs. These funds will support the overall work of both the Internet Ethics and Journalism and Media Ethics programs as we face unprecedented upheaval in both of these areas. 

Craig Newmark Philanthropies has agreed to fund Keeping Issues in the News. This program will bring together journalists, journalism educators, news distribution product teams based in Silicon Valley, and thought leaders in ethnic and community media to develop ethical practices for reporters, editors, and news distribution platforms.

A collective grant from Omidyar Network, Mozilla, Schmidt Futures, and Craig Newmark Philanthropies was directed to the Responsible Computer Science Program. This initiative is aimed at promoting innovation, experimentation, and collaboration in the integration of ethics into undergraduate Computer Science curricula.

The Markkula Center’s reputation of excellence in ethical work attracts funding from prominent, leading organizations around the world. These organizations value the Ethics Center as an expert partner in support of their work. And their grants allow the Center to contemplate and create new tools that will help 2021 to be fundamentally different and fundamentally better than 2020. 

Here’s to our grantor organizations, and to a better 2021!

Feb 3, 2021

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