- Now-defunct organization that helped activist leftist nonprofits to use new technologies to push social change.
Now defunct, Techrocks (1999-2003) was originally a project of the Rockefeller Family Fund and later spun off to become an independent nonprofit group. It came into existence with the merger of Desktop Assistance and the Rockefeller Technology Project, two leading providers of nonprofit technology assistance. According to its website, the mission of Techrocks was to “accelerate social and political progress by building technological capacity for community collaboration and citizen engagement.” The organization encouraged “foundations, advocacy groups, and leading activists to use technology to … increase participation from interested constituencies.”
Techrocks rendered its clients (“nonprofits that are citizen-based and focused on the environment, economic justice, public participation, and governmental accessibility”) services such as software development and support, Web development, advertising, fundraising, and the development of e-mail contact lists.
Techrocks listed among its “achievements,” the following: (1) the publishing of ebase, a revolutionary “open source” management software; (2) generating more than 700,000 messages to the Clinton administration in support of wilderness protection through the Heritage Forest Campaign; (3) equipping state affiliates of NARAL and Planned Parenthood with network and software technology and training; and (4) engaging more than 150,000 Americans to support progressive peace, environmental and food safety policies.
Techrocks was co-founded by Marshall Mayer, who served as its CEO from January 1999 until December 2002. The other co-founder and former President of Techrocks was Rob Stuart. At the time of the organization’s founding, Stuart was also a Program Associate at the Rockefeller Family Fund. He is credited with raising a budget of $7 million from clients, foundations, and individual donors for Techrocks.
The Chairman of the Board of Techrocks was Richard Rockefeller, the son of David Rockefeller and a trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. A physician by profession, Richard Rockefeller is currently the Chairman of the U.S. Advisory Board of Doctors Without Borders, an organization of physicians that characterized the American food program to aid Afghanistan’s population (during the post-9/11 U.S. war against the Taliban) as “military propaganda designed to justify the bombing.”
In support of its operations, Techrocks received grants ranging from $50,000 to $150,000 apiece from the Blue Moon Fund, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Surdna Foundation, the Turner Foundation, and several others. Approximately 85 percent Techrocks’ revenues came from foundations; the remaining 15 percent came from its service fees.