Technology Serving Humanity
Benetech, a Palo Alto, California–based nonprofit technology company, develops software applications to address pressing social needs. Founded in 1989, Benetech operates on the belief that the benefits of technology must reach all of humanity. The organization’s business model aims to create financially sustainable projects that measure success in the number of lives changed for the better. Each of its program areas—Global Literacy, Human Rights, the Environment, and Benetech Labs—offers the greatest social impact on funds invested.
Benetech emerged from its founding work as a leading provider of reading machines for people who are blind. Seeing the value in offering affordable tools that transform the lives of individuals with disabilities, MacArthur Fellow Jim Fruchterman, the organization’s founder and CEO, was inspired to start a business that used technology to serve social causes. Benetech’s tools have changed the ways in which people with disabilities access printed information. They also allow frontline human rights defenders to safely document abuse and empower environmental practitioners to succeed in their efforts to protect species and ecosystems.