Pursuing Progress Through Inquiry, Innovation, and Intentionality: Our Year in Review 2023

Click here to read the full 2023 year in review.

Dear Friends and Partners,

Pausing for reflection at the end of each year offers us the opportunity to look back with pride at the work of our team and our grantees, and also to provide some forward-looking guidance as we think about our work for the year to come. These are uncertain, often volatile times, and optimism can sometimes read as a synonym for naivete. And yet, we are optimistic about our ability to make sense of the challenges ahead of us and push forward the ideas that will create a brighter shared future. Our sense of hope is situated comfortably next to our sense of urgency.

Building on David’s belief that there’s no problem in life that can’t be addressed by applying the scientific method, Siegel Family Endowment is grounded in inquiry and driven by relentless curiosity. We look at the emerging issues of our time with an engineering mindset, studying problems and breaking things down into their component parts in order to rebuild something better. We also know that not everything we try is going to work. There will always be tensions we did not anticipate, realities on the ground we did not account for, and hurdles that slow down the work or halt it altogether. We don’t have all the answers. And perhaps now more than ever before, we don’t even know all the questions. But through our iterative, systematic process, we are making progress. And we are reimagining how to use philanthropy differently to support a more just and prosperous society.

This year we’ve invested in growing our team and understanding the lessons learned from the last few years of grantmaking in our post-pandemic reality. We have also made investments in programs that are dedicated to exploring how, as technology continues to rapidly evolve, communities that have too often been excluded from technological revolutions can actively participate in and co-create a vision of the future that is equitable for all. As you’ll read in notes from our colleagues leading Research and Grantmaking, the work ahead of us will be focused on doubling down on crucial questions about the impact of technology-driven change on people’s lives right now.

Through our inquiry-based approach, where we begin with questions rather than solutions, we’ve been meeting grantees and community leaders from across the country to learn more about the challenges they face. We recognize that to advance broader access to opportunities, our research and grantmaking must be coupled with convening and engaging with communities — urban, rural, west coast, east coast, southern, midwestern, and beyond — to listen and learn. Having spent the last year building out our first formal local collaborative effort in Atlanta, we are also already thinking deeply about where we might next bring a place-based investment strategy. While our work in Atlanta is certainly far from over, we are incredibly motivated to continue growing our partnerships across the country and to acknowledge, amplify, and involve vulnerable populations as we pursue more equitable futures for all.

That’s particularly important at this moment, as our society experiences whiplash-inducing technological change. We believe that the growing field of public interest technology (PIT) can play an important role in centering our relationship with technology around equity. PIT offers us a multidisciplinary lens for advocating for the development, deployment, and ongoing use of technologies for the public good. It’s also a space where philanthropy is uniquely positioned to drive impact. Philanthropic organizations can bring together disparate institutions — including higher education, government, nonprofits, communities, businesses, and others — and can bring trust and equity to the forefront of development in a way that industry often cannot. We are incredibly proud of the scale and impact that the PIT University Network has achieved in the past several years, and are excited to continue advancing our shared mission of building the infrastructure for public interest technology to thrive as a field through our collaborative efforts on the PIT Infrastructure Fund.

And that cuts to the heart of why we feel optimistic. We are privileged to be in a position that allows us to play such an important role in providing the funding, support, and cover to those driving real change. It’s risky work, but we believe that philanthropy’s role is to act as society’s risk capital, de-risking the innovations that can create a better future.

There’s no denying that the year ahead will be an especially challenging one, here in the United States and abroad. Climate change will continue to take a devastating toll. Major conflicts are igniting tensions around the world. And a contentious election once again threatens our democracy. But by focusing on the ways that we can work collectively to empower people to make a difference in their own communities, we can slowly but surely build the better world we all deserve.

We invite you to read the full year in review here.

Thank you for your support, and we look forward to our continued partnership in the year ahead.

With best wishes,

David Siegel and Katy Knight

Giving Summary 2023

1Up Coaching$50,000.00
Alder Gradute School of Education$150,000.00
Artest Foundation$10,000.00
Biodesign Challenge$65,000.00
National Black Tech Ecosystem Association$125,000.00
Boston College$150,000.00
Brown University$50,000.00
Cambiar Education$60,800.00
Capital B$50,000.00
Carnegie Hall$200,000.00
Center for American Progress$300,000.00
Center for Democracy & Technology$150,000.00
Center for Social Media and Politics$250,000.00
Center on Rural Innovation$1,000,000.00
Citizens Committee of NY$75,000.00
City Center for Collaborative Learning$50,000.00
Clay Art Center$10,000.00
Code the Dream$75,000.00
Communitas America$50,000.00
Community Funds, Inc.$50,000.00
Connect Humanity$150,000.00
Cornell Tech$100,000.00
Cornell Tech$1,000,000.00
Cornell Tech$300,000.00
Cornell Tech$75,000.00
Creative Commons$25,000.00
CS Ed Research$50,000.00
Data & Society$300,000.00
Digital Promise$60,000.00
Education Reimagined$220,000.00
Feedback Labs$200,000.00
Govern for America$100,000.00
Grove Collective Foundation$250,000.00
Hopewell Fund$150,000.00
ICA Fund Good Jobs$350,000.00
Innovate EDU$150,000.00
Jobs for the Future$200,000.00
Just Capital Foundation$100,000.00
Just Fund$150,000.00
Khan Academy$1,000,000.00
Last Mile Education Fund$100,000.00
Lean Lab$250,000.00
Massachusetts Institute of Technology$1,000,000.00
Massachusetts Institute of Technology$100,000.00
Massachusetts Institute of Technology$150,000.00
Mozilla Foundation$250,000.00
National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship$125,000.00
New Bedford Research & Robotics$150,000.00
New Growth Innovation Network$200,000.00
New Schools Venture Fund$200,000.00
New Venture Fund$1,000,000.00
New Venture Fund$750,000.00
New York Buddhist Church$10,000.00
New York Hall of Science$150,000.00
New York Hall of Science$50,000.00
New York Road Runners$500.00
Northeastern University$160,000.00
NYC FIRST$1,000,000.00
Passport Atlanta$150,000.00
Princeton University$500,000.00
Princeton University$500,000.00
Project Tomorrow$50,000.00
Projects with Care$12,000.00
New York University$260,000.00
Regional Plan Association$100,000.00
Regional Plan Association$25,000.00
Res Publica$250,000.00
Research Foundation of The City University of New York$150,000.00
Research Foundation of The City University of New York$50,000.00
Strada Collaborative$550,000.00
Robin Hood$1,130,000.00
San Francisco General Hospital Foundation$250,000.00
Santa Fe Institute$240,000.00
Scarsdale Adult School$500.00
Scarsdale Foundation$100.00
Scarsdale High School PTA$2,000.00
Scarsdale Historical Society$100.00
Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps$100.00
Scratch Foundation$1,500,000.00
Springboard Collaborative$200,000.00
Stanford University$1,100,000.00
Summit Public Schools$150,000.00
Teachers College at Columbia University$50,000.00
TechCongress Foundation$250,000.00
The Aspen Institute$150,000.00
The Aspen Institute$300,000.00
The Black River Innovation Campus$85,000.00
The Families and Workers Fund$250,000.00
The Knowledge House$250,000.00
Transcend Education$250,000.00
University of Chicago$500,000.00
University of North Carolina$260,000.00
University of Washington$125,000.00
Upwardly Global$50,000.00
Urban Arts Partnership$50,000.00
Washington Center for Equitable Growth$250,000.00
WGBH Public Television$100,000.00