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Advancing the Web to Empower People


the Web to

Our Vision and Mission
We envision a world where all people are empowered by the Web. Everyone – regardless of language, ability, location,
gender, age or income – will be able to communicate and collaborate, create valued content, and access the information
that they need to improve their lives and communities.
The creativity of the billions of new Web users will be unleashed. The Web’s capabilities will multiply, and play an increasingly
vital role in reducing poverty and conflict, improving healthcare and education, reversing global warming, spreading
good governance and addressing all challenges, local and global.
The unique mission of the World Wide Web Foundation is to realize the above our vision through transformative programs
which advance the Web as a medium that empowers people to bring about positive change.

Many organizations focus on distributing computers or extending fixed and mobile Internet capabilities around the world.
The World Wide Web enhances the value of computers and the Internet, by making it easy to create, link and find
information anywhere in the world. However, only 25% of the world’s population uses the Web, despite the fact that more
than 70% (and growing) have access to mobile or fixed communications. The following challenges contribute to this
discrepancy and impede the Web from reaching its full potential:

• Content Gap. Creation of locally-relevant content on the Web is impeded in many places by the lack of knowledge
  and technology. Life-critical information and services are in limited supply, especially for those who need help the most.
• Research Gap. The Web is not just technology, but “humanity connected by technology”. Even experts do not fully
  comprehend the complexity and potential of this evolving system of people, informaiton and links. This is a risk to the
  creative, yet responsible, evolution of the Web.
• Technology Gap. More than one billion people who read poorly, read only languages not well-supported on the Web, or
   have disabilities are inhibited from creating and consuming Web content because of the current state of technology and
   practice. In addition, the introduction of incompatible and proprietary technologies, uninformed policies, censorship
   and other challenges threaten the vision of the Web as a single, universal medium for the sharing of information.

Until now, there has been no coordinated effort to address address these significant challenges and to promote the Web
as an agent of human empowerment. To fill this void, the World Wide Web Foundation was launched by Tim Berners-
Lee, the inventor of the Web, and others who have the knowledge and passion to realize the potential of the Web as an
empowering medium.

                  Our success will be measured by how well we foster the creativity of our children.
                  Whether future scientists have the tools to cure diseases. Whether people, in
                  developed and developing economies alike, can distinguish reliable information
                  from propaganda or commercial chaff. Whether the next generation will build
                  systems that support democracy and promote accountable debate. I hope that
                  you will join this global effort to advance the Web to empower people.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, Founder of the World Wide Web Foundation.

                         All current citizens of the Web are invited to support the Web Foundationʼs efforts
                         to advance the capabilities and health of the Web, expand the community of
                         Webcitizens around the world, and make it possible for people to improve their
                         lives through this incredible technology.
                         Steve Bratt, CEO of the World Wide Web Foundation.

         The Web Foundation provides global leadership, project coordination, training, and tools; fosters
         advancement of technology; and builds communities around our programs
         throughout the world. Our work centers around three integrated programs:

         web in SOCiety: leVerage the web fOr SOCial and eCOnOMiC Change.
         A first step toward filling the «content gap», the Web Foundation works directly in the
                                                                                                               E THE WEB F
         field to provide grass roots organizations, governments, NGOs and entrepreneurs                   RAG            O
                                                                                                       VE D ECONOMIC R
         with the knowledge, training and tools to share locally-relevant information                LE AN                CH
                                                                                                       L     B IN SOCIETY AN
         more effectively. Our initial focus is to support projects that foster social and           IA WE

         economic progress in developing countries, and within sectors such as


         agriculture, health care, education, institutional transparency, women’s
         issues and other topics of local and global relevance. Enabling content                            advance
         that is accessible using browsers and voice on mobile phones will be                                the web
         key, especially in developing countries where mobiles are the dominant

                                                                                                                                     NE E W EB
                                                                                           W E B N CE KS
         communication device. Anticipated outcomes:

                                                                                            A DVA WOR

                                                                                            T H AT

                                                                                                                                 O ND N C E
         • Projects directly supported by the Foundation will be more effective,

            thanks to the improved communication, collaboration and creativity.                               people

                                                                                                 S TA O

                                                                                                                                  RE TH
                                                                                                                                  TA C I
         • New challenges encountered will motivate new work in the Web Science

                                                                                                   N AR

            and Standards programs, leading to future Web technologies that better                                          EB

            serve people.                                                                        FO E W D S                W RS L
                                                                                                    R EB                    DE P
         • Growth of the Web will be accelerated globally:                                            AL                 U N EX
                                                                                                         L                  D
                Web Foundation projects will become shining examples that many others                                    AN
                Tools and training materials will be available to everyone, openly and for free,
                People trained by the Foundation will have the capacity to independently leverage
                the Web for future projects.

         web SCienCe: underStand the web and exPlOre new ideaS. To address the «knowledge gap», the Web Foundation
         collaborates with the Web Science Trust and its development of a new field of study: “Web Science”. Web Science seeks to
         educate the next generation of scientists who will improve our understanding of the Webʼs complex nature, and explore new
         technologies that could ultimately make the Web even more powerful for all people on the planet. The Foundation is also
         developing a Web Index, designed to measure growth and usage of the Web, and guide future investment in the Web.

         web StandardS: adVanCe One web that wOrkS fOr all. Web technology serves users as well as it does because the
         fundamental technologies that make it work are free to use, open for review and globally agreed. To ensure that Web technologies
         fill identified gaps, and that technologies work together, the Foundation works with the World Wide Web Consortium, which
         develops free and open technical specifications and guidelines. Standards work aimed at removing barriers to Web access
         because of literacy, language and ability are particularly important. We must ensure that existing and new Web technologies
         work increasingly better across an expanding variety of devices used around the world. We also facilitate community-driven
         solutions to complex technology and policy issues.

       hOw Can yOu helP?
                                                                                                                                                  LE STUDIO

         The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is providing a generous $5 million grant over
         5 years to seed initial Web Foundation operations. Your support, in the form of donations
         and community participation, is essential to ensure the work of the Web Foundation
         will be truly transformational and empower the lives of billions of people around the
                                                                                                                                                  LE STUDIO

         world. Visit our Web site or contact us for more information.

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