“Civic Tech” is One Antidote to Trumpism, and the Omidyar Network is Doubling Down Here
If you think about it, the age of Trump is tailor made for the Omidyar Network, and on several counts. First, this has never been an outfit that’s placed lots of chips on securing big public policy wins in Washington, D.C.—or really even been fixated on policy at all. Instead, Omidyar has placed much of its faith in market solutions, as well as social entrepreneurs working in a decentralized fashion to reinvent the nonprofit sector and revitalize civic life. The fact that the capital of the free world is now in the hands of backward-looking reactionaries aiming to gut government makes Omidyar’s vision of change all the more appealing.
At the same time, though, Omidyar is as attuned as any funder out there to the dangers of a new authoritarianism, and it’s made big investments over recent years to ensure a free flow of information and shore up democratic institutions. With First Look Media, a personal investment by Pierre Omidyar, he empowered a set of journalists with the skills to challenge the surveillance state. Omidyar money also bankrolled the Democracy Fund, which makes grants to groups working for electoral and civic reforms. Along with the George Soros and select other funders, look for Pierre and Pam Omidyar to be on the forefront of resistance to Trumpism.
The Omidyar Network is an especially good friend to the burgeoning world of “civic tech,” a space that fuses technology innovation and the push for stronger democracy. And in recent weeks, we’ve seen signs that Omidyar is standing fast behind such efforts.