Grantmaking Results

The Foundation board commissioned a report from its primary consultants, Samantha Graff and Christine Fry, to document the Foundation’s grantmaking process and summarize its grant results. The purpose of this report is to provide a transparent accounting of how the Foundation was managed and how the money was spent, but, as the authors were closely affiliated with the Foundation, it is not an independent analysis of the Foundation’s outcomes.

Download the report.

The summary below provides a high-level overview of what the Foundation’s grants accomplished.

Program Area 1: Privacy Education for Youth

What the Foundation Hoped to Achieve
  • Increase the privacy resilience of children and teens in the face of complex data- sharing environments
  • Help children and teens develop skills and resources to protect them in the digital environment throughout life
Grant Result Highlights
  • At least 345 educators and 3,700 middle and high school students across the country were trained on digital literacy.
  • 4 digital literacy curricula for middle and high school students were updated or created. 3 of these curricula are free to the public.
  • Representatives from 40 education technology startups were trained on student privacy laws.
  • 220 student data privacy stakeholders were convened at the National Student Privacy Symposium to discuss student data privacy requirements.
  • Several new resources on student privacy were revised or developed and made available for free to the public.
  • 4 evidence-based media campaigns on digital privacy for youth were developed and launched publicly.
  • 2 research syntheses on digital literacy of middle and
    high school students, parents, and educators were
    developed and made public.
  • 3 research syntheses of strategies for youth behavior
    and norm change, each taking a different perspective on the literature, were developed and are pending publication.
  • 1 public health research center leveraged this opportunity to explore the intersection of digital privacy and public health into an opportunity to collaborate with another digital privacy organization.
  • Another organization is building on this work with a Gates Foundation grant to develop an intervention focusing on technology use in 10-14 year olds.

Program Area 2: Understanding Socioeconomic Status and Online Privacy and Security

What the Foundation Hoped to Achieve
  • Understand online privacy and security from the perspectives of low-SES populations
  • Identify whether, and if so, where a differential approach to online privacy and security protections is needed for low-SES populations
  • Provide online privacy and security services and information to low-SES populations
Grant Result Highlights
  • 3 large-scale surveys of low-SES people about digital privacy concerns and practices, 1 exclusively focused on low-SES people living in rural Appalachia were conducted.
  • At least 10 manuscripts were submitted for publication or published in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Dozens of presentations of research findings were given at conferences and public events.
  • A special issue of the International Journal of Communication focused on Privacy at the Margins was edited by one grantee, attracting 44 submissions focused on privacy and marginalized populations.
  • A field-building workshop was hosted, bringing together researchers focused on digital privacy and low-SES populations.

Program Area 3: Assessing, Preventing, and Addressing Digital Abuse

What the Foundation Hoped to Achieve
  • Document the prevalence and severity of various forms of digital abuse
  • Understand and support digital abuse prevention strategies
  • Contribute constructively to the digital abuse policy debate
Grant Result Highlights
  • 2 national representative surveys on digital abuse, 1 focused on Americans 15 and older and the other focused on middle and high school students, were conducted, generating datasets that will be used for years to come.
  • Secondary analysis of an existing survey dataset was conducted, with a focus on cyberbullying of youth with disabilities, cyberbullying victimization rates by developmental stage, cyberbullying and suicidal ideation, and power imbalance in cyberbullying versus in-person bullying.
  • Several resources for the general public and parents were produced, and analysis of one of the surveys garnered extensive media coverage in the popular press.
  • At least 10 manuscripts were developed or submittedfor publication and more than 20 conferencepresentations were given.
  • 2 in-depth legal resources for digital abuse survivors,lawyers, and law enforcement were developed orupdated.
  • 2 services to address digital abuse, one for victims andone for schools, were developed and piloted.
  • 2 white papers on sextortion raised awareness amongfederal lawmakers and law enforcement officials about the lack of federal legal protections and data collection for sextortion crimes, resulting in bipartisan legislation being introduced in the House of Representatives and extensive media coverage.

Program Area 4: General Funding for Promotion of Online Privacy, Safety, and Security

What the Foundation Hoped to Achieve
  • Support effective existing programs related to online privacy, safety, and/or security 
  • Build capacity of and provide stability for online privacy, safety, and/or security organizations 
Grant Result Highlights
  • 11 consumer education and advocacy organizations and 1 research center were funded.
  • Online resources and in-person trainings were developed to educate the general public about a range of digital privacy and security issues, including identify theft targeting members of the military, how to make mobile payments safely, privacy and security settings on various websites and platforms, two-factor authentication, and threats posed by Internet and mobile marketplace consumer data tracking systems.
  • Best practice recommendations were developed and disseminated to influence action by standards bodies, regulators, federal agencies, and internet companies. These recommendations led to a federal government mandate to require all federal websites to move to encryption by default, engagement with major companies like Facebook and Palantir on algorithmic fairness, and efforts to educate regulators on protecting financial inclusion and economic mobility in the Big Data era.
  • Research was conducted on privacy-related legal categorizations such as data versus metadata and parents’ knowledge and practices related to protecting their children’s privacy online.