Ideas + Action

We believe AI and data science can be a force for good.

The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation catalyzes the transformative potential of technology to solve humanity’s greatest challenges. In partnership with leading social change organizations, innovators, and fellow philanthropies, our work has spanned the application of these technologies in digital health, climate change, information technology, neuroscience, educating future generations of technologists, and empowering vulnerable communities.

Our early investments in these spaces demonstrated the transformative power of AI and data science to build more equitable and reliable systems, increase participation and human connection, and democratize resources. These experiences shape our conviction that a robust and inclusive ecosystem is essential to achieve this technology’s greatest promise. Our work focuses on bringing together academia, practitioners, and civil society to pursue the potential of AI and data science for shared and greater good.

Data Science equips us to discover knowledge, insight, and evidence from a world of structured and unstructured information. This knowledge, insight, and evidence guides policy, scientific inquiry, delivery of services, and even self discovery. The emerging field of Artificial Intelligence builds on data science to equip machines to make human-like decisions that support and augment human achievement.

Unlock AI and data approaches for betterment of humanity

AI and data science can be powerful tools as we seek to build a world where all individuals can thrive. To achieve this, the Foundation is investing in a transformation of the field and applying the principles of IDEA – inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility – in the use of AI and data. One demonstration of this is our partnership with AI4All, which increases diversity and inclusion in AI education, research, development, and policy. And with organizations like the Aspen Institute and NationSwell, we are bringing together today’s technology and social change leaders to understand how AI and data science can be applied to achieve positive social change.

Strengthen the impact of non-profits with tech, AI, and data

The Foundation is committed to helping non-profits unlock their capacity to apply data and artificial intelligence for greater impact. We support and learn from world-class organizations like the World Resource Institute, whose Data Lab and Resource Watch harness the power of data to inform more sustainable decisions and create transparency around seven urgent global challenges: climate, energy, food, forests, water, sustainable cities, and the ocean. In the near future, the Foundation will invest in an in-house team of AI and data science experts to serve as a resource for other social change organizations interested in applying data and AI for greater impact.

Accelerate applications of AI to maximize human potential

In every sector, artificial intelligence can produce significant efficiencies and impact. We are seeking out new ways to develop and apply artificial intelligence to produce better social, economic, environmental, and health outcomes. In one example  — A  partnership with MIT Press and University of California Berkeley has launched Rapid Reviews COVID-19, a new AI-powered academic journal focused on interdisciplinary research about COVID-19. The new journal uses custom AI tools developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab to accelerate curation of new research for rapid review. The rapid review process aims to reduce misinformation and to elevate noteworthy and useful research for scientists, public health officials, journalists, and the public.

Advocate for digital dignity, data stewardship, and ethical tech

The Foundation is at the forefront of new efforts to protect data rights and ensure the benefits of data and technology are shared by all. We are excited by a new collaboration with the Open Data Institute to increase access to data in well governed, trustworthy ways through multiple pilot projects that develop new data institutions such as data trusts or data cooperatives – or the adoption of new data stewardship responsibilities by existing institutions. 

Innovate technology solutions for pressing global challenges

Through our grants, we are advancing digital and data-driven solutions to global challenges including the delivery of health care, hunger, poverty, and climate change. We support the efforts of leading non-profits like Physicians for Human Rights and their development of the Medicapt app to prevent sexual violence. Through another partnership with the Better Evidence program at Ariadne Labs, medical students across sub-Saharan Africa are gaining access to and being trained to use state-of-the-art, evidence-based clinical resources to improve care on the frontline.