Inventor of Web Announces Creation of Foundation to Bring the Web to All People

Sir Tim Berners-Lee announces World Wide Web Foundation; John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Supports Mission With $5 Million Seed Grant

Washington, D.C. — Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, unveiled today the World Wide Web Foundation to fulfill a vision of the Web as humanity connected by technology. The mission of the foundation is:

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  • to advance One Web that is free and open,
  • to expand the Web's capability and robustness, and
  • to extend the Web's benefits to all people on the planet.

Through research, technology development and the application of the Web for the benefit of underserved communities, the foundation seeks to enable all people to share knowledge, access services, conduct commerce, participate in good governance, and communicate in creative ways. The foundation will raise funds through a multifaceted strategy, beginning with a $5 million seed grant over five years from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

"The Web is a tremendous platform for innovation, but we face a number of challenges to making it more useful, in particular to people in underserved communities," said Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), and co-Director of the Web Science Research Initiative (WSRI), organizations that have helped put together the World Wide Web Foundation. "Through this new initiative, we hope to develop an international ecosystem that will help shape the future Web. A more inclusive Web will benefit us all."

The World Wide Web Foundation is in the unique position of being able to improve the Web by bringing together existing communities, governments, NGOs, and other stakeholders who see the Web as an instrument of creativity, collaboration, and communication. The Web Foundation will pursue its objectives by funding projects around the world in three strategically integrated programs related to research, technology, and social development.

Social development efforts will focus initially on underserved populations. The Web Foundation will identify benefits of the Web for these communities, and issues of access to (and availability of) relevant, usable, and useful content. The foundation will do so through support of ongoing and new efforts to develop critical services related to better health care, nutrition, education, and emergency relief.

"The free flow of information is of paramount importance to communities in a democracy and maintaining the World Wide Web free is critical for the future of that free flow," said Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation's president and CEO. "Knight Foundation's interests and those of the World Wide Web Foundation perfectly intersect and we are delighted to be their seed donor."

The World Wide Web Foundation is in the initial planning phase.

"I would like to invite those who share this vision for the Web to become founding donors," said Steve Bratt, CEO of the World Wide Web Foundation. "With their support, we plan to launch the foundation in early 2009 with an announcement of the first concrete steps toward fulfilling its mission."

To learn more about becoming a founding donor please contact donations@webfoundation.org.

About the World Wide Web Foundation

The World Wide Web Foundation seeks to advance One Web that is free and open, to expand the Web's capability and robustness, and to extend the Web's benefits to all people on the planet. The Web Foundation brings together business leaders, technology innovators, academia, government, NGOs, and experts in many fields to tackle challenges that, like the Web, are global in scale. By funding research, technology development, and outreach, the Web Foundation strives to enable all people to share knowledge, access services, conduct commerce, participate in good governance, and communicate in creative ways. For more information, visit www.webfoundation.org.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes journalism excellence worldwide and invests in the vitality of communities in the United States where the Knight brothers once owned newspapers. Since 1950, the foundation has made more than $1 billion in grants, including more than $400 million to support journalism excellence and free speech. Knight Foundation invests in ideas and projects that can lead to transformational change.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.