Who We Are
Web of Change was founded in 2001 to help connect people and organizations working at the intersection of technology and social change. Our core values are "innovation, collaboration, and transformation" and, like our community, we aim to be the change we wish to see in the world.
The seeds of Web of Change were sown in the fall of 2000 at the Social Venture Institute. SVI founder and social investor Joel Solomon asked one of his new investee companies, Communicopia, to convene a similar gathering for people providing tech and web services to the social change sector. Knowing only 3 other people doing this work at the time, yet wanting to please his new found friend, Communicopia's Jason Mogus agreed. About a year later, 28 people gathered at Hollyhock for the first Web of Change, and now WOC is producing sold out, community driven, and much talked about events on two coasts.
The idea then, as it is now, was to:
- build a deep trust network of previously isolated people working at the frontiers
- improve the mastery of work produced in the sector
- provide leadership and whole person support to future leaders
- create a culture of radical openness and collaboration within the field
WOC alumni are now directors, VP's, and senior consultants advising and executing some of the most successful online campaigns in this exciting and growing space.
Each year a convening team of industry thought leaders is brought together to co-create the year's focus, agenda, and community outreach plan. We use a highly participative model to produce an agenda that serves the direct needs of the community who will attend. Early co-conveners included Jodie Tonita, Mark Surman, Phillip Smith, Jason Mogus, and Madeline Stanionis. Until 2010, Communicopia, had been our primary partner, providing management, event and communications services at cost or pro bono.
2010 marked a new phase of distributed community leadership. Michael Silberman from Greenpeace is convening six other organizations - including Communicopia - as part of our anchor team. Our anchors will invest substantial time and resources to ensure Web of Change continues pioneering leading-edge thinking and approaches to social change.
We operate in an enterprising model, supported primarily through participant revenue, private sponsors, some very modest foundation grants, and discounted and volunteer labour. With an extremely low overhead, most of the revenues we raise are turned back to support non-profit participation in our programs, or planning for future years.
Web of Change is owned by the community and managed by the anchor team. Ten years in, we're now on a mission to bring other trusted organizations into a co-management role, to broaden the leadership and ensure this community's long term vibrancy and viability. Our current partners provide sustaining resources, networks, and capacity:
Communicopia, a Vancouver, BC, based digital strategy agency focused on social change founded Web of Change. While we're significantly more organized than our early years, Communicopia continues to backstop Web of Change as part of its community investment. Through management, financial support, event production, and marketing, we estimate our support of Web of Change is in the range of $30K per year.
Renewal, a series of organizations founded by Joel Solomon and Carol Newell, uses the tools of business and finance to support social change. They have been our visionary and primary backers since day 1 and continue to write annual cheques to help Web of Change happen. Renewal works to build, activate and leverage progressive networks. Check out their other incredible work here.
When the economy is functioning, sponsors provide around 40% of the revenue we need to make each of our events happen. Long time supporters tend to be companies making their living in the social tech space, and they show they're not merely capitalists exploiting an exciting market by supporting this community with real cash dollars. We are extremely appreciative.
Please read more about our generous sponsors, they are all deeply committed to this community and doing great work. If you are interested in joining the group of leaders who support this community please visit our become a sponsor page or email Michael Silberman.