Launched in 2014, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Cyber Initiative is a ten-year, $132 million grantmaking effort supporting organizations working to develop thoughtful, multi-disciplinary solutions to complex cyber challenges. The Hewlett Foundation, based in Menlo Park, California, is a nonpartisan, private charitable foundation that advances ideas and supports institutions to promote a better world. Founded in 1966 by Bill Hewlett of Hewlett-Packard as a vehicle for the family’s personal philanthropy, the foundation is wholly independent of the Hewlett Packard company. For more than 50 years, it has supported efforts to advance education for all, preserve the environment, improve lives and livelihoods in developing countries, promote the health and economic well-being of women, support vibrant performing arts, strengthen Bay Area communities and make the philanthropy sector more effective.
The Cyber Initiative pursues its goal of creating a durable cyber policy field through three areas of grantmaking:
- building a set of core institutions with sufficient depth of expertise to deliver solutions to pressing cyber policy problems
- creating a talent pipeline that produces experts with the necessary mix of technical and nontechnical skills and knowledge to staff these and other institutions, including government and industry; and
- supporting the development of infrastructure capable of translating and disseminating the work of these institutions in forms that can be used by decisionmakers and understood by the public.
Roughly ten to fifteen percent of the Initiative’s annual budget is allocated for grants outside the United States.
Some of the grants that were made in 2019 under each line of work include:
Building Core Institutions – The CyberPeace Institute (CPI)
The CyberPeace Institute (CPI) is a new international nonprofit organization that will fill key gaps in the international cyber policy ecosystem. Located in Geneva, the CPI will promote peace and stability in cyberspace through a tripartite mandate: a) assign responsibility for destructive cyberattacks, b) promote stronger norms of behavior in cyberspace, and c) assist affected organizations to recover from cyberattacks. It was jointly funded by the Hewlett Foundation, Microsoft, Mastercard and the Ford Foundation.
Creating a Talent Pipeline – Université Paris 8
Under this sub-strategy, geographically diverse grantees have expanded their cyber policy offerings with new classes and programs while drawing on a wider mix of disciplines. In 2019, the Cyber Initiative made a grant to Université Paris 8 to support the consolidation of a new academic multidisciplinary research center — the Geopolitics of the Datasphere (GEODE) — and the university’s graduate program in cyber strategy and data science. The university’s center and graduate program will promote a more nuanced understanding of the rapidly changing strategic cyber environment, build capacity by training the next generation of cyber strategy academics and professionals and conduct critical applied research to inform the cyber strategies of governments, companies and institutions. Monitoring and evaluation of this sub-strategy illustrates an increasing diversity in curricular models, which now includes dedicated Ph.D. programs; master’s/J.D. programs; cyber policy-specific concentrations or degree tracks; and clusters of cyber policy courses.
Supporting the development of translation and communications infrastructure- the Cybersecurity Visuals Challenge
Over the course of two-years the Cyber Initiative collaborated with IDEO, a global creative design firm, on the Cybersecurity Visuals Challenge. The first phase resulted in a report examining what needs to change in the cybersecurity visual landscape. The second phase included an international contest to develop new visual depictions of cybersecurity. Nearly $50,000 in prizes were awarded to winners from a field of more than 200 entrants. The final images are openly licensed and hosted on a website that makes access and use easy for journalists, educators, researchers and nonprofits around the world.
The Hewlett Foundation’s Cyber Initiative will be attending the 2020 International Cybersecurity Forum (FIC) in Lille, France. For more information, please feel free to reach out to Eli Sugarman, Program Officer, or Monica M. Ruiz, Program Fellow.