The Council on Foundations has announced that MDF Founding Director Helen Brunner will be the 2016 recipient of the Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking, intended to “honor an innovative grantmaker who, with a combination of vision, principle, and personal commitment, makes a critical difference in a creative way.” In their press release, the Council describes their reasons for selecting Helen:
Helen Brunner is a leading philanthropic expert in media and technology policy, freedom of expression, and the arts. Helen has fought tirelessly for the public’s basic rights in the digital age and to secure universal access to a free and open internet. Among many other victories, her efforts to fund and organize the successful campaign for net neutrality helped ensure that the internet and future communications technologies remain open and accessible.
“Helen Brunner is known as a visionary risk taker, a pioneer in recognizing the power of the internet to provide a platform for social equity and building a long-term strategy for protecting access to this vital tool. She looked beyond what philanthropy was then and as a result she revolutionized the field,” noted Spruill. “The results speak for themselves. Her work has inspired millions of people to take action.”
All of us at MDF are deeply honored by the Council’s choice, and wish to express gratitude to the Council, the award committee and Helen’s nominators.