By Stephen King (CEO, Luminate) and Ben Scott (CEO, Reset)
In 2020, Luminate partnered with the Sandler Foundation to incubate Reset, an experimental initiative, staffed with a new team, designed to counter rising digital threats to democracy.
We had a clear vision: to work with civil society and policymakers towards a digital media market where tech companies align with democratic values over and above their profit motive – and operate in service of more informed and less polarised societies.
In practice, this meant developing and advocating for new ideas to change public policy to better protect public safety and security, child welfare, and election integrity, while documenting how digital platforms are deceptively exploited and manipulated for commercial and political gain at the expense of open societies around the world. Reset developed a hybrid approach to this emerging field of work, acting both as an expert practitioner and an innovative philanthropy working alongside partners.
To carry such an ambition, we were clear that an early measure of Reset's success should be to broaden the base of funders supporting this novel approach – such that Reset could grow into becoming an independent entity.
In just four short years, the team at Reset has delivered – its successes include:
- Expanding the geographic scope of operations from Europe to North America, Australia, East Africa and Latin America.
- Supporting the passage of landmark legislation in the EU, the Digital Services Act, and the UK, the Online Safety Act.
- Investing in some of the most innovative and effective digital media researchers and advocates around the world.
- Working collaboratively with many other foundations to significantly expand the scope of investment in this sector.
Reset’s work has been supported by a wide range of philanthropies including Luminate, the Sandler Foundation, Omidyar Network, the Skoll Foundation and the Packard Foundation.
Thanks to this successful expansion, we are proud to announce that on 1 January 2024, Reset entered a new chapter as a fully independent organisation.
Housed within Luminate until now, this new structure will allow Reset to further expand its projects – and grow its impact – while maintaining the uniquely successful approach honed over the last four years: it will continue to operate as a managed fund supporting civil society groups and policy development, all while leading its own brand of public advocacy.
Luminate will continue to provide support to and collaborate with Reset as we work to ensure that the Big Tech companies and social media platforms work for, not against, democracy – doing so through a blend of strategic litigation, campaigning, policy, advocacy, and ecosystem and partnership building.
We are immensely proud to have shared this journey: a bright illustration of the power of collaboration to shape a more democratic and informed digital landscape.
The teams at Luminate and Reset look forward to the next chapters in our partnership.