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A guide for researching ways of funding open source projects.

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open-funding

Introduction

More individuals, organizations and companies are starting to realize the potential of open source. An important question is obviously how projects can be funded to enable individuals to subsist and work on open source full time. This document aims to be an open guide to funding of open source projects.

Grants

A list of funding opportunities that follow the grants model. This type of funding is usually carried out in batches, i.e. the fund in question release a certain amount of money each year and it's spread out over multiple projects. Grant funding often allows you to plan and execute projects over a longer period of time.

Open Technology Fund - OTF

From their webpage:

The Open Technology Fund utilizes available funds to support Internet freedom projects that empower world citizens to have access to modern communication channels that are free of restrictions, and allow them to communicate without fear of repressive censorship or surveillance.

OTF
funds projects through the following funds:

OTF - Internet Freedom Fund

The Internet Freedom Fund is OTF's primary way to support projects and people working on open and accessible technology-centric projects that promote human rights, Internet freedom, open societies, and help advance inclusive and safe access to global communications networks. Successful applicants are awarded monetary support up to $900,000 and no less than $10,000, with preference given to projects and people who are new to the Internet freedom community, directly serving those living within repressive environments, and are requesting less than $300,000 for a duration of 12 months or less.

OTF - Core Infrastructure Fund

The Core Infrastructure Fund supports the development, improvement, and increased adoption of foundational 'building block' technologies that are relied upon by digital security and circumvention projects. This may include efforts focused on sustaining or improving PGP, SSL, SSH, Tor, OTR, pluggable transports, code libraries, or other technologies, infrastructures, and standards that make up the core building blocks of everyday Internet freedom technologies and which are used by people throughout the world to increase their access, privacy, and security online.

OTF - Community Prototype Fund

The Community Prototype Fund (CPF) is OTF’s newest fund, focused on supporting the rapid development of innovative Internet freedom technology prototypes that serve the immediate needs of the human rights and Internet freedom communities. The CPF works from an idea pool populated with ideas sourced from the Internet freedom community. Activists, journalists, and human rights defenders with urgent technology needs can submit their ideas to this pool. Technologists (applicants) can then view eligible ideas and apply to build them. Alternatively, if you have an idea and want to build it yourself, you can also apply to do that. Focusing on short-term seed funding to jumpstart good ideas, the CPF offers up to $6,000 USD for a maximum duration of 12 weeks. Applications will be reviewed by the OTF community, consisting of current and former fellows and projects, the Advisory Council, and OTF staff.

OTF - Rapid Response Fund

The Rapid Response Fund is part of a broader OTF initiative which aims to facilitate the development of a strong digital emergency response community that can work together to resolve threats in a timely and comprehensive manner. OTF offers both direct financial support as well as technical services from trusted service partners to resolve digital emergencies experienced by high-risk Internet users and organizations, such as bloggers, activists, journalists. and human rights defenders.

OTF - Labs

For more specific, one-off support needs and services, check out OTF's Labs: Localization, Community, Engineering, Usability, Red Team, Learning, and Legal.

They also fund people by offering fellowships.

RIPE NCC Community Projects Fund

From their webpage:

The RIPE NCC will provide EUR 250,000 per year to support projects of value to the operation and resilience of the Internet, with a focus on tools and services benefitting the technical community in our service region.

The service region for

RIPE NCC
is made up of over 75 countries, which is one of five Regional Internet Registries (RIR). See https://www.ripe.net/about-us/what-we-do/ripe-ncc-service-region for more information.

Horizon 2020
:eu:

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over between 2014 and 2020. You need a consortium to apply. See Holger Krekels talk at 32c3 (link below) for a more detailed description.

InnovationsFonden
:denmark:

InnovationsFonden
or
Innovation Fund Denmark
invests in both large and small projects and they don't require any stake in the project nor repayment. They have three different programs targeting the whole range from large scale research projects to smaller enterprises and entrepreneurs down to talented individuals within the research space. Funds can be anything between 50k to 5M DKK depending on the size of the project.

InternetFonden
:sweden:

InternetFonden is a Swedish fund run by Internetstiftelsen i Sverige or IIS, which administer the Swedish

.se
TLD. Parts of the earnings from selling .se domains goes to various projects that benefit the development of internet in Sweden and one of them is InternetFonden. Since 2004 the fund has financed 323 projects for a total of 65M SEK (7.7M USD/7.1M EUR/5.2M GBP). Applicants can be companies, organizations or private people as long as they have a Swedish organization number or social security number.

Netidee
:austria:

netidee, run by the Private Internet Fund Austria, is meant to fund projects related to the open source internet. In 2020, the maximum amount of funding was 50k EUR for an individual project. An Austria-resident individual or organization has to request the grant. Applications can optionally be sent in English and parts of the project can be outsourced to entities abroad if this is detailed in the initial request.

Mozilla Open Source Support (MOSS)

Mozilla Open Source Support (MOSS) is a grant program specifically focused on supporting the Open Source and Free Software movement, with an initial allocation of USD $1 million.

The Python Software Foundation

From their webpage:

The Python Software Foundation welcomes grant proposals for projects related to the development of Python, Python-related technology, educational programs and resources.

Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII)

The Core Infrastructure Initiative, or CII, is a multi-million dollar project to fund and support critical elements of the global information infrastructure. It is organized by The Linux Foundation and supported by companies like Amazon Web Services, Google and IBM. CII was formed as a response to the Heartbleed security crisis; however, the Initiative’s efforts will not be restricted to crypto-related issues in the long term.

SIDN Fund

From their webpage:

SIDN Fund stands for ‘a strong internet for all’. We provide financial support to ideas and projects that aim to make the internet stronger or that use the internet in innovative ways. By doing so, SIDN Fund wants to help increase the social impact of the internet in the Netherlands.

Similarly to

InnovationsFonden
,
SIDN
also funds projects on different levels. Smaller projects -
Pioneer projects
- can receive a maximum of 10k EUR and larger projects -
Potentials projects
- up to 75k EUR.

The Awesome Foundation

Apply for grants and get funded $1000 at a time.

Knight Foundation

From their webpage:

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.

Sloan Foundation

From their webpage:

The Sloan Research Fellowships seek to stimulate fundamental research by early-career scientists and scholars of outstanding promise.

and:

These two-year fellowships are awarded yearly to 126 researchers in recognition of distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field. The 2018 Sloan Research Fellows will receive fellowships in the amount of $65,000

NLNet Foundation

From their webpage:

The foundation "Stichting NLnet" stimulates network research and development in the domain of Internet technology. The articles of association for the NLnet foundation state: "to promote the exchange of electronic information and all that is related or beneficial to that purpose".

NLnet does not directly benefit from the undertaken projects, and all developments are published as Open Source.

Current submission(s):

From OTF mailing list:

NLNet is seeking proposals requesting between €5,000 and €50,000 for projects for Privacy and Trust projects “aimed at providing people with new instruments that allow them more agency - and assist us with fulfilling the human need of keeping some private and confidential context and information private and confidential.” This effort is part of the EU’s Next Generation Initiative (NGI), which seeks to “re-imagine and re-engineer the internet for the third millennium and beyond to shape a value-centric, human and inclusive society for all.”

Notable Projects

List of notable projects that have received grants.

DeltaChat

Decentralized email-based instant messaging with end-to-end encryption based on

Autocrypt
. There are mobile applications for Android and iOS and also a desktop version. All implementations use an underlying core, which is being rewritten in rust.

Funded by

OTF
.

equalit.ie

Read about the launch of their multiparty chat encryption.

Funded by

OTF
.

DAT

From the

DAT
homepage:

Dat is a grant-funded, open-source, decentralized data sharing tool for efficiently versioning and syncing changes to data.

Funded by

Knight Foundation
.

OpenCare

OpenCare
is a project trying to figure out ways of combining modern science and technology with communities. It got funded 1.6M EUR by Horizon 2020.

Ghost

Ghost is an open source blogging platform. The project is run and organized by The Ghost Foundation, which is a non-profit organization. Ghost is completely free to use if you host it yourself. You can pay for it if you need help with hosting your blog. This is what funds further development and The Ghost Foundation calls this Sustainable Open Source.

Read the Docs

Funded by MOSS.

StreetComplete

Work of one of contributors was sponsored by NLNet Foundation.

Other Organisations

This section lists organizations that aren't necessarily offering grant funding, but are still very important for creating a sound and healthy environment for open source projects.

:sparkles:
Software Freedom Conservancy

From the

Software Freedom Conservancy
homepage:

Software Freedom Conservancy, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization incorporated in New York. Software Freedom Conservancy helps promote, improve, develop, and defend Free, Libre, and Open Source Software (FLOSS) projects.

Conservancy offers a range of important services. From donations to assistance with fundraising, legal advice, contract negotiation to logistical support for conferences. Read more about their services here.

Some notable projects under their umbrella are:

Check out all their current 46 member projects.

Crowdfunding

The concept has been around for a while and can at times be the spark that makes a project take off.

There are different models, the traditional crowdfunded project asks for funds given some budget and project proposition. If the project reach the donation goal you can receive extra benefits apart from the actual product.

Other models are more focused on the community, where members of the community pitch in a certain amount of money per time unit, e.g. once a month.

Links

License

Creative Commons License
All content submitted to this project is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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