Welcoming J. Bob Alotta – Mozilla Foundation’s New VP, Global Programs

By Mark Surman | Oct. 15, 2019 | Fellowships & Awards

I’m thrilled to welcome J. Bob Alotta as Mozilla Foundation’s new VP, Global Programs, starting today. Bob joins us from The Astraea Foundation where she served as Executive Director.

Photo of J. Bob Alotta

Photo credit: Lola Flash

As many of you know, this has been a long search. We’ve been looking for over a year to find the right person to lead the portfolio of programs that we run for, and with, leaders around the world — the Internet Health Report, MozFest and our considerable fellowships and awards work. In Bob, I believe we’ve found the person we’ve been looking for.

Over the last eight years, Bob grew Astraea in many of the ways we want to grow Mozilla. She transformed a largely US-focused organization into a foundation that makes more grants in the global south and east than any other funder in their sector. With her team, Bob built a funding program aimed specifically at strengthening movements, with nearly every grant adding extra support for digital security, data use and internet freedom. She worked with private, public and bilateral funders to not only bring money into Astraea but build lasting and meaningful partnerships with and amongst them. And, she bridged the gap between the LGBTQI+ and digital rights worlds. It was through this last bit of work that Bob met Mozilla, at MozFest and as a fellowship host org.

During our search I emphasized geographical scope, including in my original blog post about this role. While Bob will be located in New York, she no doubt has the chops to help us on this front. In her eight years at Astraea, she both expanded their work globally and created a model for consistently building real partnerships on the ground.

Over the last few months, Bob and I talked a great deal about what success looks like for the work ahead. She is particularly excited about bringing her experience helping people become strong community builders and making links between movements to the work she will do at Mozilla. Her initial priorities will be:

  • Working with our allies across the movement to develop clear goals and real momentum on the issues we care about most, including trustworthy AI
  • Increasing our ability to connect and amplify the work of people in the movement, eg. helping fellows become stronger community organizers and leaders.
  • Growing diversity and geographical scope across our programs, with an emphasis on expanding our work outside North America.

On this last point, it is worth noting we have changed the title we’re using for this position from the originally advertised ‘VP, Leadership Programs’ to ‘VP, Global Programs’. This change reflects the strong emphasis we want to put on expanding diversity and geographical scope over the coming years. Of course, these programs remain focused on connecting and supporting internet health leaders from around the world — that is a core pillar of our movement building strategy and is something Bob has a great deal of experience with.

Bob will be joining the team starting today and will be available to connect with our community at MozFest.

Please join me in welcoming J. Bob Alotta. I am really excited about what is ahead!