As Internet traffic continues its rapid growth and new technologies affect every aspect of our lives, the applicable laws, norms and policies — as well as the decision-makers that shape them — are struggling to keep up. High profile breaches in both the public and private sectors — at Sony Pictures, the Office of Personnel Management, and the Democratic National Committee, among many others — underscore the magnitude of the risks we face and the need for informed policy that identifies and balances necessary tradeoffs.

The Hewlett Foundation makes grants to proactively define, research and manage the burgeoning intersections between people and digital technologies. The Cyber Initiative seeks to cultivate a field that develops thoughtful, multidisciplinary solutions to complex cyber challenges and catalyzes better policy outcomes for the benefit of society.


  • Build civil society organizations that take a holistic approach to cybersecurity and contribute to a more informed policy debate.
  • Expand the knowledge base of existing decision-makers and empower an emerging generation of cyber policy experts.
  • Foster the emergence of a network—composed of experts from industry, government, think tanks, academia and elsewhere—that builds trust and promotes collaboration.
  • Fund new policy-driven research and thought leadership by experts from diverse professional, political and intellectual perspectives.
  • Catalyze additional funding on cyber policy topics from philanthropic, government and private sector sources.

Ideas + Practice

Our Grantmaking

Our Team

Eli Sugarman 
Program Officer, Cyber Initiative
Kristy Bernard Tsadick 
Deputy General Counsel
Heath Wickline
Heath Wickline 
Communications Officer
Marlene Zapata
Marlene Zapata 
Program Associate, Cyber Initiative

Learn More

The Cyber Initiative is meant to be time-limited. An initial five-year, $20 million-dollar commitment made in March 2014 was supplemented in November 2014 with an additional $45 million in grants to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University to establish multidisciplinary cyber policy centers on their campuses.

Unlike government or industry, the Hewlett Foundation is a neutral player not motivated by profit, politics, or self-interest. Likewise, we are not responsible for responding to the myriad latest threats and challenges that government and industry must triage each day. We are explicitly agnostic as to specific policy outcomes, seeking only to build a field that can generate robust debate and analysis in order to stimulate better and more strategic cyber policies.

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