The Heat Initiative’s vision is an internet safeguarded against child sexual abuse. Our theory of change is rooted in a determination to shift the current decision-making dynamics in the tech industry by increasing pressure on companies to invest in combatting child sexual abuse on their platforms at scale.
Established in 2022, Heat Initiative aims to increase pressure on companies by deploying timely, strategic, and surgical tactics through targeted corporate campaigns. Simultaneously, the initiative will hone a sharper communications muscle for the child safety space – one that ensures the tech industry is invested in fighting the abuse of children.
Sarah Gardner is the Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Heat Initiative, a collective effort of concerned child safety experts and advocates encouraging leading technology companies to detect and eradicate child sexual abuse materials on their platforms. This year, she launched Heat’s multimillion-dollar effort to hold Apple accountable for its inaction in removing child abuse from iCloud.
Sarah previously spent 10 years at Thorn, an organization that builds technology to combat online child sexual abuse, where she was integral to its growth from a small, start-up effort to a multi-million dollar nonprofit. As Vice President of External Affairs, she helped develop a plan to eliminate child sexual abuse material from the internet which spurred a $63M investment in the organization through the TED Audacious Prize. Sarah also worked at Free the Slaves, an organization empowering local organizations to end modern forms of slavery. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, three kids, and a bulldog.
Lily formerly served as Chief of Staff to the Vice President of External Affairs at Thorn, where she oversaw the stewardship of Thorn’s $63M Audacious funding and ensured the organization’s External Affairs team brought the best of the organization to a wide variety of audiences. Prior to Thorn, Lily received her Masters in Public Policy from UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and is honored to join Sarah in co-founding The Heat Initiative.