Transparent Accounting of the Life of the Digital Trust Foundation

Onside Partners was instrumental in the design, operations, and grantmaking of the Digital Trust Foundation, established in the 2014 litigation settlement of Lane v. Facebook. By 2018, the Foundation had spent down its corpus, disbursing just under $6.5 million in grants with an estimated administrative overhead of less than 6 percent. This report provides our transparent accounting of how the Foundation was managed and the money was spent.

Several class members and advocates opposed the Digital Trust Foundation’s formation, which also received judicial criticism although it was ultimately upheld. The critiques focused on the potential for biased, ineffective grantmaking. But the Foundation demonstrated that cy pres funds can be responsibly and effectively disbursed by an expert-led foundation. The Digital Trust Foundation practiced a deliberate culture of accountability. Compared to standard cy pres, which often results in unsupervised, open-ended gifts to litigants’ favored institutions, the Foundation supported diverse organizations with specific agendas in the promotion of education, digital privacy, and online safety.

Download the report.

Image of Digital Trust Foundation report cover