Archive for By Steve Bratt

Happy 2010! Holidays and Sunday River.

Hope everyone had a wonder holiday season.  Was great to have all kids around for much of the Christmas and New Years period.  The only road trip we took was to Sunday River, Maine for some skiing (not much, as the weather was a bit nasty for a couple of days), and relaxation in a home with a nice big room with fireplace.  A few pics are below…

House at Sunday River

Amy skiing at Sunday River

SIX Rock’s Boston’s Battle of the Executive Bands

Winchester’s premier party band, SIX, competed in the “Battle of the Bands” at Berklee College of Music’s Cafe 939 on 16 December 2009.  We played about as well as we ever have (at least during my short tenure).  What a blast!  Thanks to everyone who supported us that night.  We placed 2nd in the popular vote (2 votes out of first).

See the videos of our 6 songs.

Giving to the Web Foundation, and Tax Exempt Status

The Web Foundation depends on grants and individual gifts in order to conduct planned programs, and achieve our ambitious objectives. Many thanks to those who have already donated through our Web site, and to the more than 100 talented people who have volunteered to help us.

Good news arrived yesterday from Swiss counsel Benoit Merkt: World Wide Web Foundation is now exempt from income and wealth taxes as well as gift and inheritance taxes at cantonal (Geneva) and federal levels from the date of its constitution (earlier this year) through December 2019. This tax exemption determination can be found on our public Web site.  Prior to this, we were given provisional tax-exempt status.

The Web Foundation is also a 501(c)(3) tax exempt public charity in the United States, thus offering donors a tax deduction for making contributions to our work.

As 2009 draws to a close, I hope you will consider being one of the first to contribute funding, effort and ideas to the Web Foundation.  Please let me know if you have any questions or comments on the donation process.  And thanks so much for your support…

Visits in Africa

The Web Foundation’s visits to Africa focus on learning how the information technologies are being used, to understand the barriers and opportunities for Web usage, and to connect with people, projects and organizations active in the region.

Tim Berners-Lee and Daniel Dardailler of the Web Foundation visited Ghana in September 2009. Tim, Daniel, Stephane Boyera and Rosemary Leith recently completed a trip through Egypt, Kenya and Uganda, talking with Prime Ministers, Web developers and users.

Tim's Pictures from Kampala

Tim just forwarded these to us.  Both taken today, Monday 23 November.  We’ll add descriptions as soon as they are available.

Photo by Stephane Boyera

Photo by Stephane Boyera

Photo by Tim Berners-Lee

Photo by Tim Berners-Lee

Photo by Tim Berners-Lee

Photo by Tim Berners-Lee

Web Foundation Officially Launched

Tim Berners-Lee Announcing Launch of the Web Foundation. 15 November 2009.  Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.  Photo by Daniel Dardailer.

I’ll continue to blog about this exciting endeavor on the Web Foundation site

But, from a personal perspective, this is very, very exciting.  I’ve always had the belief that helping people to use the Web as an agent of empowerment, and as a means of improving their lives and communities held much more promise than it has been given credit for.

See picture above of Tim Berners-Lee announcing and Tweeting the launch of the Foundation at the Internet Governance Forum meeting in Egypt on Sunday.

World Wide Web Foundation Launches Global Operations

Press Release: Inspiring Projects Announced at the 2009 Internet Governance Forum

Also available in: 简体中文 (Chinese, Simplified) | Français (French) | Deutsch (German) | Italiano (Italian) | 日本語 (Japanese) | Português (Portuguese) | Castellano (Spanish)

[See the video]

GENEVA and BOSTON, MA – November 16, 2009 – World Wide Web Foundation (Web Foundation), a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the Web to empower people, announced yesterday the launch of global operations including the existence of its first projects. Speaking at the 2009 Internet Governance Forum in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, a Web Foundation board member, unveiled the organization’s new partnerships with VU University Amsterdam (VU) in the Netherlands and CDI (Center for Digital Inclusion) based in Brazil.

Internet Governance Forum, Egypt, 15 November 2009. Photo by Daniel Dardailler.

Internet Governance Forum, Egypt, 15 November 2009. Photo by Daniel Dardailler.

Web Foundation is delighted to announce a partnership with the VU to expedite “re-greening” initiatives throughout the African continent. This new program, Web Alliance for Re-greening in Africa (W4RA), will train and assist local developers to implement and deploy mobile Web- and voice-based platforms to improve communication between agricultural specialists and farmers in Burkina Faso, Mali and other countries.

“The W4RA facilitates the sharing of successful agricultural techniques developed by farmers for others to raise crops in the arid conditions of the Sahel, where climate change and drought threaten the livelihood of entire communities,” explained Steve Bratt, Chief Executive Officer of Web Foundation. “This project meets one of Web Foundation’s main objectives: to assist people to leverage the Web as a medium for sharing life-critical content and dialog, and thus using the Web as an agent of social and economic progress.”

In addition, Web Foundation proudly announces a project with CDI, an international, social enterprise dedicated to teaching disadvantaged youth how to use information technologies.

While roughly 25 percent of the world population uses the Web today, more than 70 percent of people have access to mobile or fixed communication devices capable of displaying Web content. The gap in Web usage is partly attributable to the lack of accessible or relatable content, and the lack of available training on how to use the Web to its full potential. Web Foundation and CDI will develop training programs that empower young people to create Web sites and applications. In an effort to improve the accessibility of this content, the system will be mobile ready and integrate the use of voice as an interface. Five pilot training programs will be established in inner-city community centers in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East.

“We are enthusiastic about this partnership because we believe the combined expertise of CDI and Web Foundation has the potential to create powerful innovation in the use of mobile, voice and graphical technologies,” said Rodrigo Baggio, Founder and Executive Director, CDI. “By empowering impoverished communities to create and share relevant content through mobile phones and other devices, we will expand our work of transforming lives and communities.”

The projects with VU and CDI constitute the launch of global operations for the Web Foundation. The organization’s unique mission is to advance the Web as a medium for empowering people seeking to effect positive change in their lives and communities. Through its collaboration with the Web Science Trust and the World Wide Web Consortium, Web Foundation’s programs will also seek to understand the Web’s complexities, explore new Web technologies and ensure that the Web works to serve all people around the world.

Web Foundation is an international not-for-profit organization. In the United States it is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit. Please visit for more information about Web Foundation and its new programs.

About World Wide Web Foundation

World Wide Web Foundation develops transformative programs to advance the Web as a medium that empowers people to bring about positive change. Web Foundation brings together business leaders, technology innovators, academia, government, NGOs, experts, developers and end users to tackle challenges that, like the Web, are global in scale. By funding education, outreach, research and the next generation of Web technologies, Web Foundation strives to enable all people to share knowledge, access services, conduct commerce, participate in good governance and communicate in creative ways. For more information, please visit

Media inquiries should be directed to:

World Wide Web Foundation: Vera Newhouse, Tel: +1 212 819 4878, Email:

CDI: Elis Monteiro, Tel: +55 21 3235 9463, Email:

简体中文 (Chinese, Simplified)

Tim Berners-Lee to Egypt, Kenya, Uganda

Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web and founder of the Web Foundation, is traveling in Africa over the next couple of weeks to make an important announcement, explore how the Web is and could be empowering people on the continent, and understand the barriers that need to be broken down to allow people to harness the Web as a tool for improving lives.  WF staffers Stephane Boyera and Daniel Dardailler, and Board member Rosemary Leith will join parts of the voyage.

Later today, Sunday 15 November 2009, Tim will give a keynote speech at the Internet Governance Forum meeting in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. He will unveil plans for launching Web Foundation operations and for our first projects in the field.  Stay tuned to this site and other social media for more on that announcement.

In Kenya and Uganda the group will talk with developers, entrepreneurs, mobile service providers, non-governmental organizations, users and potential partners.  Tim and Stephane will join the discussions at TEDx in Kampala on 23 November. Blog posts, tweets, videos and pictures will follow.

How can the Web can support learning and development initiatives throughout the world? Let us know what you think.

Web Foundation Celebrates the Appointment of Key Board Members

Press Release: Business Leaders, Journalists, Scientists, Diplomats and Scholars Lend Support and Guidance

The World Wide Web Foundation (Web Foundation) introduces its boards of directors, who will oversee the Web Foundation’s international operations and the start of its first programs. In September 2008, the inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, announced plans to create the Web Foundation to foster understanding and evolution of the Web, and to accelerate growth of the Web as a tool of individual and collective empowerment to drive social and economic change. By funding research, technology development and outreach to communities underserved by the Web, the Web Foundation aims to significantly increase the value that the Web can offer to an expanding number of users around the world, regardless of language, ability, location, gender, age or income.

The Web Foundation is governed by a group of highly qualified individuals from the technology, philanthropic, academic and business sectors. Consistent with its international mission, the Web Foundation has selected Switzerland as its principle base of operations for strategic and program direction. Fund raising and mission support will be provided by organizations in other countries (“Friends of the Web Foundation”), the first such organization is a public charity (501(c) (3)) in the United States.

Alberto Ibargüen, the president and chief executive officer of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, chairs the Switzerland-based board of directors. In September 2008, Ibargüen joined Berners-Lee in announcing the creation of the Web Foundation through a $5 million seed grant from the Knight Foundation.

Joining Ibargüen on the Switzerland-based board of directors is:

  • Helen Alexander, president of the CBI, the UK’s leading trade body and senior adviser at Bain Capital. Alexander is also a non-executive director of Centrica and Rolls Royce plc, Chair of the Business Advisory Forum of the Said Business School in Oxford, UK, and former Chief Executive of The Economist Group among other high-profile roles.
  • Rosemary Leith, a director of Hilvern Management Limited, a private investment company. Leith is also a Trustee of the Web Science Trust, where she previously served as the organization’s executive director. She also worked together with Steve Bratt in the inception and creation of the Web Foundation as a global non-profit organization.
  • Mauro Nuñez, the business manager and activity lead for the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Incubator Activity, which focuses on potential foundational technologies that support the infrastructure of the Web as well as Web-based applications. Nuñez is a Fulbright Scholar and held several positions at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso in Chile, first as a project manager, and ultimately as the director of finance for the University.
  • Iqbal Z. Quadir, the founder and director of the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which promotes bottom-up entrepreneurship in developing countries. In the 1990s, Quadir founded GrameenPhone, the largest telephone company in Bangladesh.
  • Nigel Shadbolt, a professor of artificial intelligence and deputy head of the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton. A past President of the British Computer Society Shadbolt is a leading researcher in Web Science and a founding director of the Web Science Trust. Working with Tim Berners-Lee he is currently Information Advisor to the UK Government.
  • Daniel Stauffacher, founder and chairman of ICT4Peace Foundation, president of the Geneva Security Forum and the co-founder and Executive Coordinator of the Geneva Network. He also serves as a Special Advisor to the UN Undersecretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs for the UN Global Alliance for ICT and Development. Stauffacher is the former Swiss ambassador to the United Nations and the Swiss Federal Government’s special representative for the hosting and preparation of the United Nations World Summit for Social Development (Geneva, 2000).

Chairing the U.S.-based Friends of the Web Foundation board is Thomas Roessler, who currently serves as the acting leader of the W3C’s Technology and Society Domain, overseeing the consortium’s efforts in the Semantic Web, eGovernment, privacy, and security areas. He is also part of the consortium’s liaison efforts to organizations like the IETF and ICANN. Roessler brings to the Foundation extensive experience in areas including Internet security, privacy and policy.

In addition to Roessler, the U.S. board comprises:

  • Marcia Blenko, a partner with Bain and Company in Boston who leads the company’s Global Organization practice. Blenko writes prolifically on organization, decision effectiveness, leadership and executive compensation for numerous international publications. Previously, Blenko worked for Goldman Sachs in both New York and London.
  • Wendy Seltzer, a fellow with the University of Colorado’s Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship in Boulder, Colo., where she researches intellectual property, innovation and free expression online. Seltzer is also a Fellow with Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, leads the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse, and serves on the Board of Directors of The Tor Project.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee serves as a director on both the Swiss and U.S. boards. In 1989 he invented the World Wide Web while working at CERN’s European Particle Physics Laboratory. He wrote the first Web client and server in 1990, and continues to guide the future development of the Web as the director of the W3C and Web Science Trust.

“As the Web’s capabilities multiply we hope it also grows to take on an increasingly vital role in reducing poverty and conflict, providing medical, educational, and other vital services throughout the world,” said Steve Bratt, the chief executive officer of the Web Foundation. “We are encouraged by the pledge of support from these exceptional individuals who will champion the Web Foundation’s mission as its first board members.”

For more information, please visit our About page.

Countdown to Launch

I’ve hesitated posting too much on efforts required to create this new organization. But … people have been asking, and the ultimate impact of our programs will be, in part, a product of the organization itself. So, here’s a brief update on where we are, with a focus on the organizational milestones required to declare that the Web Foundation has “launched”:

Governance: WF is incorporated in Switzerland (global HQ) and the US (501(c)(3)). The founding Boards of both organizations are super and bylaws are in place.

Photo by Shivali Mehta

Photo by Shivali Mehta

Space: We are discussing sharing space in Geneva with another organization there. In Boston, we have settled into a few offices on the 6th floor of a 150 year old building, just blocks from public transit and the waterfront.

Staff: Initial staffing was completed (for the time being) with the arrival of Shivali Mehta, our new accounting and finance associate.

Contractors: We have a superb group of them, including: George Sadowsky (programs), Edelman (public and press relations), Development Guild/DDI (fund-raising), Say Yeah and Sum (new Web site), WithYou (concepts and graphics), WilmerHale and Lenz & Staehelin (legal), Deloitte (tax/audit) and Paychex (HR). W3C is hosting our Web site, email and collaboration systems.

Volunteers. Thanks to all of you who have offered to help. We are getting organized to take you up on your offers, with Ben Thompson volunteering to help coordinate those who want to assist with communications (blogging and following media), graphics, administration, systems, prototyping, program execution, and research to support fund raising and program planning.

Messaging. We’re still working on it, but we now have a 2-page executive summary that is getting close to articulating the vision and objectives for the Web Foundation.

New Web Site. The Alpha version looks cool. The final project should be a welcome replacement for our current, temporary site in about a month. The new will be dynamic, convey stories, engage people through our site and other social media, and provide opportunities to get involved. Very key: I expect that the new site will have news of WF’s first projects.

The Web Foundation is a work in progress. With completion of our Web site and of plans for our first projects, I expect we can finally launch the Foundation and get to the real, transformative aspect of our work: advancing the Web and empowering people. We hope you will engage in this work in a variety of ways.