The philanthropic community is working to develop the field of public interest technology, citing public interest law as an example of how funders jumpstarted a now-robust field. While it may be tempting to move forward with satisfaction that it can be done, it’s important to pause and understand how it was done.

With that in mind, this memo—based on research conducted by Freedman Consulting, and commissioned by the Ford Foundation—identifies parallels between the development of the two fields, drawing useful lessons with an eye to shaping best practices.