Funding & Support Policies

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society was founded in 1997 with a generous gift from Jack N. and Lillian R. Berkman. In July of 2016, the Center became the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, in recognition of a significant gift from Michael R. Klein. Over the past decade the Berkman Klein Center has received financial support from foundations, corporations, private donors, international organizations, and government entities. These relationships are vital to the pursuit of our ambitious educational and public interest goals.

We are committed to autonomy in our research and transparency in our relationships. These traits are essential to our continued credibility and success as an institution.  Our funding model is possible due to the robust, strict, and clear policies that govern our association with donors and preserve the Berkman Klein Center’s intellectual independence.

Our research and outreach modes depend substantially on being able to convene and engage parties that span the spectrum of viewpoints, and for our research results to have impact, our work must not only be intellectually rigorous, but also fair and impartial.

To that end, we do not accept grants that limit our ability to carry out research in the way we see fit – free of outside influence and consistent with our organizational mission and values. We do not undertake research or accept funds at the request of outside organizations unless it is consistent with our existing research agenda, mission, and overall philosophy. We are transparent about our funding sources, announcing the receipt of funds through our normal communication channels.

All corporate donors agree to give their funds as unrestricted gifts, for which there is no contractual agreement and no promised products, results, or deliverables.

Foundations, international organizations, government entities, and other non-private entities may offer unrestricted gifts, but in most cases they are required to offer grant funding for sponsored research. The terms of these grants are set forth in contracts negotiated between the donor and Harvard’s Office of Sponsored Programs and include specific parameters such as budget guidelines, timelines, and deliverables.

The Berkman Klein Center has been the recipient of occasional court-awarded cy pres settlements, with recent examples including Lanchester et al v. Washington Mutual Bank, In Re: Netflix Privacy Litigation, Fraley v. Facebook, and Nader v. Capital One Financial Corporation.

These policies complement the relevant policies of Harvard Law School and Harvard University. We will continue to review these policies to ensure that we are doing our utmost to maintain the integrity of the Berkman Klein Center, our work, and our community.

Core Support

Sustained institutional support is both of the utmost importance and a great fundraising challenge. We are fortunate to enjoy the tremendous generosity of The Berkman Family, which has been stalwart in backing (and fronting) us for more than 15 years, and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which has supported specific research projects and our core functioning, and, most recently, Michael R. Klein, whose significant gift not only provides vital core support, but also allows the Center to start new explorations, launch innovative programs, and incubate novel collaborations both nationally and internationally. We are unfailingly grateful to all for having been essential partners in both creating and realizing our mission, having shared not only financial resources, but their ideas and camaraderie.

Support for Current Activities

We warmly thank the following sponsors for their sponsorship of the Berkman Klein Center's research and events.

Past Support

We remain indebted to our past supporters for their generosity and collaboration.


Last updated

March 13, 2017