Project Background


#ReCoding Good is part of the Project on Philanthropy, Policy and Technology at Stanford University’s Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy (PACS). We are asking five key questions about the emerging social economy:

  1. What does a post-Citizens United world mean for nonprofits, philanthropy, and the public good?
  2. How is digital technology changing our conception of public accountability and public goods?
  3. How will big data, the sharing economy, and open government influence philanthropy?
  4. How can we better align our regulatory frameworks that govern and structure the creation of public goods with the technological innovations being made in bioscience, data processing, and other rapidly advancing fields?
  5. What are the 21st century policy frames we need to encourage the use of private and public resources to help address our major domestic and global challenges?

The social economy is meant to capture all the ways — from nonprofits to B corporations to sharing to opening up government data to blurring lines between nonprofits and campaign finance — that we use private resources to produce public goods. First we want to help map out this emerging space. Then we want to understand what policies and practices can help make sure we are making more public good, not just using more private resources. In the past, most of this was contained within the world of nonprofits and philanthropy. As the ways to work have diversified and created this new social economy, the rules for guiding this economy need to be created as well.

This economy matters to all of us: nonprofits, donors, social investors, social entrepreneurs, activists, public officials, and, above all else, citizens. The rules reflect what we want from government, markets, and individuals in solving our shared social problems. The answers to these questions will inform policies that fit the ways we actually work today. They will protect and expand the public good while attracting appropriate private resources.

It is time to think hard about whether the rules and norms that shape how we use private resources for public goods, many of which are decades old and from a pre-digital era, still apply. We think it is time to ReCode Good.