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Aspiration Spring 2017 Newsletter

Hey friends,

Our 2017 is off to a great start! Here's a quick update on what we've been up to so far and our plans for the rest of the year.

Welcome, Anthony and Evelyn!


We are thrilled to introduce you to two new members of the Aspiration team!

Anthony Green joins us as our Operations Administrator extraordinaire, managing the San Francisco Nonprofit Tech Center, helping us out with event planning, and handling our day-to-day operations and finances.

Raised in Richmond, CA, Anthony served for 13 years in the U.S. Air Force before returning to the Bay Area to complete a Political Science degree at San Francisco State University. He has also worked as a labor organizer and served as a volunteer on political campaigns. If you would like to drop him a line, you can say hi here!


We also welcome Evelyn Arellano, our Technology Capacity Builder and newest team member. She is developing new trainings and workshops with a focus on online communications and digital security, as well as translating our existing training materials into Spanish.

Evelyn is originally from Los Angeles. She earned degrees in Sociology and Latin American and Latina/o Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. You can welcome her by emailing here.

Come to the New York Community Technology Skillshare

This July 10 and 11, we're holding our first ever New York Community Technology Skillshare at Judson in Manhattan. This event will bring together nonprofit staff, grassroots activists, techies, and students to share knowledge, build capacity, and foster relationships to effect social change. Register now to reserve your spot! If you have questions about the event or would like to offer input on the agenda, send us an email.

The Collaborative Knowledge Foundation joins Aspiration

We welcomed the Collaborative Knowledge Foundation to the Aspiration family this year. The Collaborative Knowledge Foundation, affectionately known as the Coko Foundation, is now a fiscally sponsored project of Aspiration and working in an adjacent office to us at the San Francisco Nonprofit Technology Center.

Coko's mission is "to evolve how knowledge is created, produced, and reported." They are accomplishing that by producing new free and open source publishing tools that allow scholarly researchers and writers to collaborate on journal articles and books that follow a "digital-first" model. They have also developed a Collaborative Product Development methodology which they use to help other organizations produce user-facing tools in consultation and collaboration with the key stakeholders who will eventually use them.

We are excited about the important work they are doing and the ways it complements our core mission. We look forward to seeing what projects they dream up next!

Consumer Reports and the Digital Standard

Consumer Reports, with support from Aspiration, has released the Digital Standard, an ambitious new set of criteria to measure the privacy and security safeguards (or lack thereof) in consumer software, digital platforms, and internet-connected products.

The standard is a collaboration between Consumer Reports, Disconnect, Ranking Digital Rights, and The Cyber Independent Testing Lab. Aspiration designed and facilitated the live meeting processes by which the partners combined and integrated their respective privacy and security models into a unified standard.

We are excited that consumers will now have a clear standard to inform their buying decisions and protect their data and security, and we congratulate Consumer Reports and all the collaborators for making the Digital Standard a reality!

New funding for capacity building in California

We are pleased to report that we have received funding for our capacity building program for grassroots nonprofit staff and activists around California to continue into 2018! The continuation of the project is made possible by a grant from the CRT Settlement Fund. Created as a result of the antitrust legislation pursued by the Attorney General of the State of California, the purpose of the Fund is to encourage innovative technology to benefit California consumers.

A big thank you to Cy Pres Grants Administrators, who are managing and disbursing the fund, and the State of California, for allowing us the opportunity to offer our trainings and events to both Spanish and English speakers over the next 18 months. During the next few weeks and months, we will be planning a Listening Tour to determine the most pressing needs of our allies working for social justice around the state. If you'd like to be involved with helping us shape the next phase of this project, please reach out to us.

We are also looking for a Central Valley location for our next California Nonprofit Technology Festival, and if you have ideas for a venue location or want to be involved in planning our agenda, we'd love to hear from you as well!

On the horizon

  • Allied Media Conference

    Allied Media Conference, which is happening this week in Detroit, is always a highlight on our calendar! AMC brings together media makers of all stripes, including artists, technologists, writers, filmmakers, and more, all working to organize for social change. We always enjoy attending the Conference, and we are also proud to be one of AMC's sponsors again this year.

  • Sustain

    Later this month we'll be facilitating the first Sustain conference at GitHub in San Francisco. The event will focus on free and open source software sustainers, the project principals tasked with both shipping the code and keeping the associated projects and communities vital. The dual goals will be to identify ways to enable free and open source software projects to be more sustainable, while also generating more resources to support digital infrastructure.

  • Mozilla Festival

    We are also excited to be part of the team planning the next iteration of the Mozilla Festival, taking place October 27-29 at Ravensbourne College, London.

  • 2017 Dev Summit

    It's not too early to start planning for the 2017 Nonprofit Software Development Summit in Oakland, California, our 14th annual convening! The last two years have sold out, so register now to avoid missing out.

    The Summit will take place at Preservation Park on November 15-17, 2017.

In the rear view mirror


    Earlier this month, we joined Benetech and the DIAGRAM Center community for a planning retreat in Virginia. DIAGRAM Center is a research and development hub working to set standards, generate best practices and design tools to ensure that images found in digital content (like eBooks) are accessible to everyone, and we are always grateful when we get to collaborate with such innovative and passionate leaders.

  • Shuttleworth Fellows Gathering

    The most recent Shuttleworth Foundation Fellows Gathering took place in May in Vancouver, Canada. Twice a year, the cohort of past and present Fellows, working across the globe on a range of large-scale open endeavors, come together to share ideas, build on each other's work and push the boundaries of what it means to lead open enterprises.

  • Ready California

    We have deeply enjoyed co-organizing two Ready California statewide meetings with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. There is so much inspiring work being done across California in support of immigrant communities, and sharing space with immigration advocates, lawyers, and community leaders both inspires and informs our work.

  • Two trips to Brussels

    We found ourselves in Brussels, Belgium, twice this year. In March we joined with ASL19 for a fifth iteration of their Iran Cyber Dialogue. In February, we facilitated the Copyright for Creativity General Assembly, which was a policy workshop focused on copyright issues across the European Union.

  • Vietnam Cyber Dialogue

    Earlier in March in Valencia, Spain, as part of the Internet Freedom Festival, we had the privilege of partnering with Viet Tan on their first-ever Vietnam Cyber Dialogue.

  • SAFETAG Stewards Meeting

    Digital security is a ubiquitous topic in NGO circles of late, and the SAFETAG Stewards Meeting in Berlin in February was an abundant source of insight on how to make security audits, threat modeling, and threat mitigation simpler and more accessible to a broader range of civil society organizations.

  • HACS Workshop

    In January we co-organized the second annual High Assurance Cryptographic Software (HACS) Workshop in New York. Leading cryptographers from a range of disciplines came together with practitioners who are pushing the state of the art in formal verification and testing of software, in order to explore how to create formally verified cryptographic libraries.

That is all the news we have for now! We would love to hear what you are up to this year. Email to give us your update and let us know how we can support you.

Best wishes,

Josh and the whole Aspiration team

Our MissionContact Us
Aspiration's mission is to connect nonprofit organizations with software solutions that help them better carry out their work. We want nonprofit organizations to be able to find and use the best software available, so that they maximize their effectiveness and impact and, in turn, change the world.

Aspiration is a values-driven nonprofit technology organization.

Read Our Manifesto and let us know what you think.
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