Upturn advances equity and justice in the design, governance, and use of technology.

Our Mission

Upturn advances equity and justice in the design, governance, and use of technology.

We believe technology should advance justice, not amplify racial, economic, and social inequities. Without focused attention, technology can reinforce systemic injustices found everywhere in our society.

We drive policy changes by combining rigorous research with deliberate advocacy. Our approach to technology and justice is informed by a broad range of perspectives and experiences, including computer science, social science, law, and policy. We strive to ground our work in community and lived experiences.

We partner with a strong and growing network of local and national advocates, litigators, organizers, academics, and policymakers to ensure that our work together is grounded, collaborative, and actionable.

Our Work

We drive policy change by investigating specific ways that technology and automation shape people’s opportunities, particularly in marginalized communities. Without focused attention, technology can reinforce racial, economic, and social injustices found everywhere in our society. At the same time, discussions about technology often present new opportunities to change the status quo and reimagine what’s possible. Through research and advocacy, we seek transformative social change across a broad range of issues.

Criminal Courts icon Criminal Courts

We pursue changes that reduce the reach of the criminal legal system and limit its immediate and collateral consequences on people’s lives.

Credit and Finance icon Credit and Finance

We confront predatory practices and work to ensure that credit and other financial services are fair, affordable, and nondiscriminatory.

Housing icon Housing

We aim to break down barriers to housing, especially in relation to digital records and tenant screening services used by landlords.

Labor and Employment icon Labor and Employment

We work to ensure that technologies promote equity across the employment lifecycle, and that employers are held accountable for their use.

Policing icon Policing

We push back against the use of surveillance tools and practices as one way to reduce the power of law enforcement and the carceral system.

Public Benefits icon Public Benefits

We seek to expand the social safety net and improve access to programs like Medicaid, particularly in eligibility and benefits determinations.

Across the Field icon Across the Field

We strive to lay a strong foundation to challenge automated decisions across our issues through empirical research, auditing, and legal advocacy.

Our History

In 2011, David Robinson and Harlan Yu co-founded the organization that is now Upturn. It began as a consulting firm that advised nonprofits and foundations on a variety of technology policy issues, including civil rights, surveillance, anti-censorship, consumer privacy, voting, and government transparency. In 2017, the organization transitioned into a 501(c)(3) nonprofit focused on technology, equity, and justice.

Our Funding

Upturn is generously supported by the following philanthropies.

We seek funders who care deeply about racial, economic, and social justice, and who also recognize that technology often plays a major role in shaping people’s rights and opportunities. If you are a funder who is interested in supporting Upturn’s work, we would love to hear from you.

We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Washington, DC.