Motivated by a desire to help fellow artists and creators bring their work to life, Perry Chen founded Kickstarter — the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects. The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) will honor Chen with its Digital Visionary Award at its 2018 Annual Dinner, Tech Prom, on March 29, recognizing his work as an artist, innovator, and leader in leveraging tech for good.
“The internet at its best connects people and reduces barriers to innovation. Perry Chen is committed to shaping a world where the internet and technology improve lives and propel human creativity. He demonstrated this as founder of Kickstarter, putting creators first from day one and showing that a successful company doesn’t need to sacrifice its values to succeed. Today, through his compelling art and engagement in a range of democracy-advancing endeavors, Perry continues to show that technology can be a force for good. We are delighted to name him CDT’s Digital Visionary for 2018,” said CDT President & CEO Nuala O’Connor.
Chen is an artist whose work often explores systems – both social and technological – and how they intersect with and reveal our humanity, and our understanding of uncertainty. His projects have been exhibited in New York, Berlin, Vienna, São Paulo, and Mexico City. As an entrepreneur he’s a staunch advocate for ethical corporate governance. In 2015, he led Kickstarter’s reincorporation as a Public Benefit Corporation, legally obligating the company he founded to consider the impact of its decisions on society, not only shareholders. Chen currently serves on the Knight Commission on Trust, Media, and American Democracy. He was named a Director’s Fellow at the MIT Media Lab in 2016, a TED Fellow in 2010, and was honored as one of Time’s 100 most influential people in 2013.
“It’s hard to overstate the importance of The Center for Democracy and Technology, and the work it’s taken on to strengthen our civil liberties and defend our freedom of expression,” said founder and chairman of Kickstarter, Perry Chen. “The internet is a tool of amazing scale and connectivity, but it’s also a medium where human rights and civil liberties must exist. Fighting for these principles is critical work. We’re incredibly lucky that Nuala and her team are leading that fight.”
CDT’s Digital Visionary Award recognizes individuals who demonstrate a commitment to advancing digital rights and promoting democratic values in the digital age. Previous honorees include former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, the leadership team at Teen Vogue, and the co-founder of Silent Circle.
CDT is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that advocates for internet policies and practices that protect our fundamental rights in the digital age. CDT’s Tech Prom, which will take place at the Washington Hilton, attracts the most influential minds of today’s tech policy world, and highlights the pressing issues in the field. More information is available at cdt.org/annual-dinner.