PACS news / December 15, 2022

Blueprint 2023 on Philanthropy and Digital Civil Society Spotlights Challenges and Opportunities in a World Where the “Future Is Now Present”

Stanford PACS Senior Research Scholar Lucy Bernholz’s annual industry forecast surfaces the most pressing challenges, questions, trends, and calls to action for philanthropy and civil society in 2023.

The Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (Stanford PACS) is pleased to announce the release of Philanthropy and Digital Civil Society: Blueprint 2023, the annual industry forecast from leading scholar and author Lucy Bernholz

Now in its 14th edition, Blueprint 2023 examines the landscape of philanthropy and civil society at a time when “a watched-for future is now the present.” Climate change, attacks on democracy, persistent systemic inequities, widespread illness, and other large-scale challenges are at hand, and digital systems (and our dependencies on them) are both pervasive and hidden in plain sight. 

With contributions from fellow scholars, practitioners, and artists, Bernholz outlines these pressing challenges, their impacts and intersections across philanthropy and civil society, and important voices, ideas, and pathways for change. 

“The next few years present incredible opportunities for philanthropy and digital civil society,” said Bernholz, Senior Research Scholar at Stanford PACS and Director of its Digital Civil Society Lab. “This year’s Blueprint asks us to see that we’re now living in the future we’ve warned about. In a world where digital dependencies are so deeply ingrained, the pathways to a habitable planet, just economies, and multi-racial democracies run through digital civil society. We are the paths to better futures.”

Bernholz and fellow contributors Aaron Horvath, PhD, and Venita E. Griffin—both affiliated with the Digital Civil Society Lab—examine these issues and more in a series of essays on digital public infrastructure, nonprofit impact measurement, community organized data collection, and collective data governance. An additional visual dialogue using human and AI-generated images by Sabrina Newsome and Amélie-Sophie Vavrovsky explores the ramifications of generative AI through a case study of the open-source image-generating tool DALL-E.

Throughout Blueprint 2023, Bernholz and co-authors identify bright spots, model initiatives, and resources for creating a safer, more equitable, and more effective civil society for the digital era, including opportunities for institutional innovation, case studies on what’s worked (and what hasn’t), and ways philanthropy can help (and reduce its own harms).

Published by Stanford PACS, Blueprint remains a uniquely insightful and informed resource on what’s next and needed for philanthropy and digital civil society, including Bernholz’s predictions for the field and the latest buzzwords—from “algorithmic destruction” and “attack philanthropy” to “family office,” “fediverse,” and more—likely to shape our thinking and conversations in the coming year. 

This year, Bernholz invites fellow scholars, practitioners, donors, journalists, and other interested community members to join the conversation about Blueprint 2023 on the fediverse (see the Blueprint’s Buzzword Watch) using the hashtag #Blueprint23. Follow Bernholz on the fediverse via Mastodon at

Download the full Philanthropy and Civil Society: Blueprint 2023 here.