Benton Foundation

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Benton Foundation
Logo Benton Foundation.png
TypeNonprofit organization
HeadquartersEvanston, IL, United States
Executive Director
Adrianne B. Furniss
Key people
  • Kevin Taglang
  • Robbie McBeath
  • Colin Rhinesmith
  • Kip Roderick
Revenue (2018)
Expenses (2018)$984,656[1]

The Benton Foundation is a nonprofit organization set up by former U.S. Senator William Benton and his wife, Helen Hemingway Benton. Their son, Charles Benton, served as chairman and CEO until his death in 2015.[2]

The Benton Foundation was the owner of the Encyclopædia Britannica from 1974 until 1996, when it was bought by Jacqui Safra.[3]


The formation of the Benton Foundation was announced at the bicentennial banquet for the Britannica in 1968. The mission of the Foundation was re-vamped somewhat in 1981 by Charles Benton, but it has always focused on using media for the public good, particularly for educational purposes.

In 1992, Benton launched the Communications Policy Program with a grant from MacArthur Foundation, the first major grant he had received.[4]

Since 2001, Benton is home for the US center for, a global information service, search engine, and network of organizations working for sustainable development and human rights.[5]

In recent years, the Foundation has been most famous for its championing of digital access and for demanding public responsibility by mass media. The Benton Foundation has pushed for a national broadband policy at the highest levels of U.S. government. It has also been pushing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to determine the public interest obligations of digital television broadcasters. Finally, it has sponsored studies that suggest that concentration of media ownership in a few hands is not in the interests of the United States.

Leonard Jay Schrager became new chairman of Benton in 2015 following the death of Benton Foundation Founder and Chairman Charles Benton who died on 29 April 2015.[6][7]



Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion Award[edit]

The Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion Award honors governance and commitment to improving digital equity which ranges from propagating accessible and affordable communications technology for all Americans and its successful implementation.[8]

Award winners:

Charles Benton Next Generation Engagement Award[edit]

The Charles Benton Next Generation Engagement Award is a City award for competitive civic innovation which find groundbreaking and creative solutions to local challenges.[10]

Recipients include:


On 9 February 2007, Benton Foundation Chairman and CEO Charles Benton received the Susan G. Hadden Pioneer Award from the Alliance for Public Technology for "pioneering efforts in telecommunications and consumer access."[13]


  1. ^ a b c "Benton Foundation" (PDF). Foundation Center. 8 October 2019. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  2. ^ "Who We Are". Benton Foundation. 19 August 2005. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  3. ^ Feder, Barnaby J. (1995-12-19). "Deal Is Set for Encyclopaedia Britannica (Published 1995)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
  4. ^ Conte, Christopher. "Health Care in the Information Age" (PDF). Benton Foundation. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  5. ^ "Links to inform and enrich the debate". International Telecommunication Union. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  6. ^ Goldsborough, Bob (26 May 2015). "Charles Benton, educational film distributor, dies at 84". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  7. ^ "2015 Benton Foundation Founder and Chairman Charles Benton dies". Benton Institute for Broadband & Society. 14 August 2017. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  8. ^ McBetah, Robbie (11 February 2021). "Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion Award - Last Day to Nominate!". Benton Institute for Broadband & Society. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  9. ^ "David Keyes City of Seattle IT". Sched. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  10. ^ "Showcasing the Inaugural Charles Benton Next Generation Engagement Award Winners". Benton Institute for Broadband & Society. 8 May 2017. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  11. ^ "Raleigh, Austin and Louisville Win Next Century Cities' Benton Awards for NG Engagement". Broadband Properties, LLC. 17 August 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  12. ^ "What's New in Civic Tech: Top 10 Most Popular Types of Open Data". Government Technology. 14 September 2017. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  13. ^ "Benton Receives Hadden Pioneer Award, Renews Call for National Broadband Strategy". Benton Foundation. 2007-02-09. Retrieved 2020-12-02.

External links[edit]