Knight Foundation

TED’s work with Knight and other like-minded foundations enables us to explore how great ideas and people can affect positive, substantive social change. Through our partnership, the Knight Foundation advanced their Tech for Engagement Initiative, bringing together technology and political activism to help communities shape their future.

Knight Foundation: "Code for America" workshop at TED2013

The TED stage serves as a platform for breakthrough ideas and the TED community often act to catalyze those ideas, bringing about real social change. Increasingly, TED is looking to the power of technology to track how ideas ripple through society, so their effect can be measured, modified and amplified.

The Knight Foundation has been racing down a parallel track. The Tech for Engagement initiative is based on the belief that technology has the potential to galvanize community engagement, amplify citizenship and ultimately revitalize democracy.

Through a grant from the Knight Foundation’s Tech for Engagement initiative, TED was able to host two workshops at TED2013 and TEDGlobal 2013, which convened close to 20 people with expertise in online engagement from the business, tech, academic and nonprofit sectors. We connected business leaders, political activists, artists, marketing gurus, and tech whizzes to answer the question: How can we turn ideas into action? These big thinkers brainstormed guiding principles and tactics to develop nonprofit online action platforms, including

The Knight Foundation grant also supports two TED Fellows dedicated to Tech for Engagement projects.

The Knight partnership illustrates the unique way in which foundations can work with TED. At the nexus of programs and thought leaders that traverse a wide variety of platforms and disciplines, TED has the opportunity to play an important role in connecting the dots between disparate elements in a foundation’s mission.

How to connect: Email Lisa Choi Owens - Head of Global Partnerships, at

We believe in the power of connected action.
Damian Thorman, Director of National Programs, Knight Foundation