The Center for the Public Domain: A Short-Lived Venture Philanthropy

Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society (Duke)



Case Study Sector


A creation of Red Hat, Inc.'s cofounders Bob Young and Marc Ewing, the Center for the Public Domain was conceived of as a "venture philanthropy" that would spend down its assets over a relatively brief time in support of its mission, which was to redefine the open source technology movement as a philosophy and apply it to sectors outside of technology. As the stock market fell and the CPD's asset base shrank, however, the mission narrowed, to focus on intellectual property (IP) issues and support for the public domain. The CPD would employ a strategy that consisted in large part of investing in promising organizations, such as Creative Commons and Public Knowledge, that were working to support the CPD’s evolving mission.



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