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Facebook, MacArthur Foundation, Mozilla, and the Family Online Safety Institute Launch Project:Connect

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Facebook, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Mozilla, and the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) today announced a series of activities to advance healthy online experiences so young people can more easily make smart and responsible choices on the Internet.

Under the banner Project:Connect, the four partners will launch an all-day “hackathon” in New York City on Thursday, May 9. The event will bring together programmers, designers, and educators to develop prototypes for social tools, including apps, badges, and curriculum in pursuit of a better Web.

“Supporting healthy online communities is a top priority for MacArthur,” said Connie Yowell, Director of Education at the MacArthur Foundation. “Research shows us that the Internet has become a place where young people are learning and growing. The online world is rapidly becoming a hub for civic activity and lifelong learning, and we need to give youth the tools they need to become engaged and responsible digital citizens.”

Surfacing Innovative Ideas – The Project:Connect Hackathon

Borne out of a shared belief that technology can advance a dialogue about what it means to participate responsibly in a digital world, Project:Connect’s May 9 hackathon will award prizes in the following areas:

Top concepts, as identified by a panel of expert judges, will be awarded cash prizes.

”We’re thrilled to partner with the MacArthur Foundation, Mozilla, and FOSI to promote innovative solutions that can help parents, teachers and teens connect and share safely and do good online,” said Marne Levine, Vice President for Global Public Policy at Facebook. By encouraging digital literacy and responsible online behavior, we can enable teens to use technology as a vehicle for opportunity, learning, and social change.”

Continuing Momentum For Youth During The Summer

The May 9 hackathon will be followed by a series of events at museums and libraries around the country for youth and their families to learn new skills related to digital literacy and civic engagement.

“The beauty of the Web is that when you want to make it better, you don’t have to sit back and wait for someone to fix it for you,” said Mark Surman, Executive Director of Mozilla. “You can build it yourself. We’re thrilled to come together with such great partners to help people make the Web what they want it to be.”

A Platform for Good

In addition to monetary awards, winners of the May 9 hackathon will have their social tools featured on FOSI’s A Platform for Good (aplatformforgood.org), a site dedicated to helping parents, teachers, and students connect, share and do good. A Platform for Good is supported by MacArthur and leaders across several industries, including social media, telecommunications, software and the Internet.

“This hackathon is a great way to highlight the best new thinking around digital citizenship and we are excited to host some of the winners on ‘A Platform for Good’,” said Stephen Balkam, CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute. “Events like this allow for collaboration on some of today’s biggest challenges and show how technology can be used to do great things.”

For more information about Project:Connect, please visit http://dmlcompetition.net/project-connect.

About Facebook

Founded in 2004, Facebook’s mission is to make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them. To find out more about Facebook, visit our website at www.facebook.com.

About The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society. Since 2004, MacArthur has invested more than $100 million in research, design, and practice to better understand how digital media are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize and participate in civic life, and what that means for learning and the institutions that support it.  More information: www.macfound.org/reimagine.

About Mozilla

Mozilla is a global non-profit that promotes openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web. It strives to make the Web a force for good, while encouraging the users of the Web to also become makers of the Web.


About the Family Online Safety Institute

The Family Online Safety Institute is an international, non-profit organization that works to make the online world safer for kids and their families. FOSI convenes leaders in industry, government and the non-profit sectors to collaborate and innovate new solutions and policies in the field of online safety. Through research, resources, events and special projects, FOSI promotes a culture of responsibility online and encourages a sense of digital citizenship for all.