About the Digital Opportunities Foundation

The Digital Opportunities Foundation is a non-profit, operational foundation based in Berlin. Since 2002, it has been researching the social consequences of digitization and advocating equal opportunity access to the Internet for all people.
With numerous projects at national and European level, the foundation pursues the goal of digital inclusion, participation and equal opportunities, thus counteracting a digital divide in society.

 

Mission statement of the Digital Opportunities Foundation

The purpose of the Foundation is to promote science and research and education in the field of media use and media literacy. Our particular focus is Internet usage in Germany. We give effect to the Foundation's purpose through measures which promote media literacy and the safe and responsible use of digital media in all groups of society. Seeking to close the digital divide is an important priority.

The Foundation pursues charitable objectives within the meaning of the "tax-privileged purposes" section of the German Fiscal Code.

The mission statement of the Digital Opportunities Foundation is based on the fundamental values of the German constitution and the liberal democratic order as well as on the internationally applicable principles and standards of the UN Convention on Human Rights, the European Charter of Human Rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child with reference to General Comment No. 25 on the rights of children in the digital environment.

The implementation of our Foundation's mission is tied to the realisation of equal opportunities, diversity, and variety as well as the support of innovation and sustainability.  The Foundation takes into account the ethical implications of digitisation and the application of artificial intelligence. Our work is based on mutual respect and the fulfilment of our democratic responsibility.

The Foundation sees itself as an organisation that strengthens Europe as a community and contributes to the realisation of the European idea through projects with partners all over Europe.

The mission of the Digital Opportunities Foundation

Our goal: equal opportunities in the digital environment

  • We enable and strengthen the digital participation of all people.
  • We connect civil society, politics, business, and academia.
  • We provide impetus and shape discourse at national and international level.
  • We work target group-oriented seeking to strengthen digital skills.
  • We research the societal impact of digitisation. We learn from practice, transfer our expertise into research and spread research results into practice.

In implementing this mission, we contribute to the realisation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG 16 and 17, as well as other goals in line with the respective assignments of our projects.

The projects of the foundation serve to

  • Development of training materials and curricula for multipliers
  • Implementation of training courses
  • Evaluation of measures to promote Internet use and media competence.

The focus of the foundation's work is on

  • Protection of minors from harmful media and provider responsibility
  • Data protection
  • Digital sourverity and accessibility
  • The impact of social engagement in and with social media
  • Socially oriented development of digitalization in rural areas

Who we want to reach

In short, everyone who wants to participate in the development and opportunities of digitization.

 

The offerings of the Digital Opportunities Foundation address:

  • Young and old
  • People with different social, financial, professional and educational backgrounds
  • People with different experiences and from different walks of life
  • People who want to work together with others
  • People who want to regain their footing in the job market
  • People who want to help others and get involved socially.


In particular, we want to reach disadvantaged population groups who are not yet benefiting fully from the opportunities of digitization through the foundation's activities. They should be taken along on the path to a digital and inclusive society.

Get to know our work!

Learn more about our work fields or browse through our projects.

Financing and funding

The Digital Opportunities Foundation is operationally active, which means that it does not award grants, but rather acquires funding - together with other organizations - and implements projects at the national and international level. To this end, it works in cooperation with public, civil-society and private-sector partners.

 

The foundation's projects are financed by funds from European funding programs and grants from the federal government or other public funding sources. The foundation also works with partners from the private sector. The founders and donors of the Digital Opportunities Foundation support us in this endeavor.

You would like to cooperate with us?

We would be happy to act as a cooperation partner and/or project coordinator.

Contact us

History of the foundation

In 2000, just under one-third of the population in Germany aged 18 and over had already used the Internet at least once - predominantly younger, male and well-educated people.

 

It was also known from comparative studies in other European countries and the USA that the development of Internet use is not uniform within the population.

For this reason, Werner Müller, then Federal Minister of Economics, gave the go-ahead for the Digital Opportunities Network on September 20, 2001. This laid the foundation stone for the Digital Opportunities Foundation, which was set up jointly by AOL Deutschland and the University of Bremen. On January 2, 2002, it was finally approved by the Berlin supervisory authority for foundations.

In the first few years, the focus was on building up a database of Internet experience sites such as libraries, youth centers and senior citizens' facilities, in order to give people an initial experience of using the medium. As a result, an increasing demand developed for offers to teach media literacy. With the support of the foundation's advisory board, it was possible to implement training courses for social workers at AWO, Caritas, CVJM, Diakonie, DRK and ZWSt institutions.

Socio-political measures to promote equal-opportunity access to the Internet and prevent a digital divide are still needed today.

In cooperation with partner organizations in Germany and Europe, the prerequisites for successful media literacy education have been and are being researched and concepts for dissemination and implementation are being developed.

 

The portfolio of our topics today includes:

  • Accessibility
  • Cultural Education
  • Children's rights and youth media protection
  • Data protection, safety and privacy by design
  • Social media
  • Social engagement
  • Combating disinformation and hate speech
  • Development of digitization in rural areas and in voluntary work

Get to know our team!

Learn more about our foundation team or take a look at our current job openings.

For 20 years, the foundation has been promoting the dialog between business, science and practice with politics in order to analyze the sociopolitical consequences of technological development and to implement joint strategies for an inclusive and equal opportunity transformation process of society.

Donors

Founders of the Digital Opportunities Foundation are the University of Bremen and AOL Germany.

Donors are the management and technology service provider Accenture, the Hubert Burda Foundation, Prof. Dr. Herbert Kubicek and o2 Telefónica Germany (formerly E-Plus Group).

Get to know our Board and Advisory Board!

Learn more about the organs of our foundation and get to know the members of the board and advisory board.

Transparency

The Foundation is recognized by the Berlin Senate Department for Justice and Consumer Protection as a foundation under civil law with legal capacity. Register number: 3416/658-II.2

In addition, the Foundation is registered in the EU Transparency Register. Register number: 948042627375-19