Heller Institute Receives $1M to Fight Racial Bias in Tech

The Kapor Center, an Oakland, California, foundation co-chaired by Freada Kapor Klein, Heller PhD’84, has given $1 million to the Heller School’s Institute for Economic and Racial Equity to establish a multifaceted Racial Justice x Tech Policy initiative.

Over the next two years, the gift will fund strategies and programs that combat systemic racial bias in the tech industry through education, research and policy.

“This initiative will address critical issues of racism and bias in the tech industry, and build critical knowledge and capacity in this rapidly growing policy field,” says IERE director Maria Madison, who also serves as Heller’s associate dean for equity, inclusion and diversity. “We are eager for the opportunity to deliver programming that will directly confront the digital divide, empowering young scholars of color to challenge racial injustices in tech and develop solutions for a more equitable future.”

With this gift, Madison and her team will be able to grow a pipeline of scholars, create innovative educational programming, launch an incubator lab and establish a Hidden Bias Research Prize, among other activities. These efforts seek to combat a legacy of racial bias in tech, which negatively impacts communities of color through biased algorithms or inequitable data-privacy policies.