Dealflow | June 4, 2024

Omidyar Network, Kapor and SF foundations commit $25 million for equitable and ethical AI

Roodgally Senatus
ImpactAlpha Editor

Roodgally Senatus

The three California-based funders responded to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s call to develop tools for the responsible use of artificial intelligence in education, workforce, innovation, and infrastructure. “We have a momentous opportunity before us to shape an AI future that prioritizes positive human and societal impacts,” said Omidyar Network’s Anamitra Deb.

Omidyar Network, Kapor Foundation and the San Francisco Foundation plan to work with other philanthropic organizations, as well as academic nonprofit, advocacy and worker groups, and technologists and the public sector to design equity-focused initiatives and help shape California’s AI landscape.

Omidyar Network, the philanthropic investment arm of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and wife Pam, has carved out a specialty in responsible technology and inclusive AI in recent years.

AI for impact

In a separate collaboration at the start of this year, Omidyar and the Ford and Nathan Cummings foundations invested a combined $7.5 million to purchase small stakes in Anthropic, a competitor to OpenAI (see, “With stakes in Anthropic, impact investors seek a seat at the AI table”). “Our main ask is that when AI gets deployed at companies, that workers have a seat at the table,” Omidyar Network’s Mike Kubzansky said at the time.

(Disclosure: Ford Foundation is an investor in ImpactAlpha. Omidyar Network and Ford have sponsored ImpactAlpha projects.)

In a guest post last month, Paul Fehlinger of Project Liberty Institute and Johannes Lenhard of Venture ESG warned, “The window for constructive action is closing rapidly” for AI and other disruptive technologies. “Choices made today will irrevocably shape our collective societal and economic future.”