Alternative Sources of Support – March 2018

Wed, 2018-03-28 19:30

Funding opportunities from OTF and elsewhere

Each month, OTF sends an announcement of upcoming funding deadlines for Internet freedom and related projects and fellowships to our OTF-announce mailing list. The announcement includes funding opportunities from both OTF and alternative funding sources, as well as some new funders we’ve recently added to our list. Below you can find the March 2018 edition.

If you’d like to receive this announcement directly in your inbox, you can sign up for our low traffic OTF-announce mailing list here. In addition, you can find a compiled list of alternative funding sources here. The opportunities listed below are only for those with approaching deadlines, while a number of funders accept applications on a rolling basis.OTF Funding

OTF – Internet Freedom Fund
Next deadline: May 1, 2018
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 those projects and people who are new to the internet freedom community, helping those living within repressive environments, and are requesting less than $300,000 for a duration of less than 12 months.

OTF – Core Infrastructure Fund
Next deadline: May 1, 2018
The Core Infrastructure Fund supports building blocks of digital security and circumvention projects. This may include efforts focused on sustaining or improving PGP, SSL, SSH, Tor, OTR, pluggable transports, code libraries, and other technologies used within the core building blocks of everyday Internet Freedom technology used by people throughout the world to increase their access, privacy, and security online.

OTF – Rapid Response Fund
Deadline: Ongoing
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 partners to resolve digital emergencies experienced by high-risk Internet users and organizations, such as bloggers, cyber activists, journalists. and human rights defenders.

OTF – Labs
Deadline: Ongoing
For more specific, one-off support needs and services, check out OTF’s Labs: Localization, Community, Engineering, Usability, Red Team, and Legal. Of note, the Usability Lab recently expanded its offered services, which you can read about here.
Learn more about OTF’s Labs at: Funding

Facebook – Secure the Internet Grants
Deadline: March 30, 2018
Part of Facebook’s stated commitment of $1 million to security research, Facebook’s newly launched Secure the Internet Grants is seeking applicants to conduct research in areas including “abuse detection and reporting, anti-phishing, post password authentication, privacy preserving technologies, security for users in emerging markets, [and] user safety.” Applicants are asked to submit a two-page paper on how a grant would enable them to create “real impact in helping secure the internet.” Applicants may apply fo up to USD $100,000. Grant recipients will be announced at Black Hat USA 2018.
More information:

Prototype Fund
Deadline: March 31, 2018
The Prototype Fund “supports ideas in civic tech, data literacy, data security, and software infrastructure.” Grants of up to €47.500 are available, and projects have up to 6 months to implement ideas from a concept to prototype. The Prototype Fund supports up to 25 projects per funding round. Projects and their outputs must be released publicly under an open source license. This funding round features a specific theme of “Power to the users,” emphasizing submissions related to “digital tools that promote self-determination,” secure trust-building tools, and open source projects for a free and open internet. Note: Limited to German residents
More information:

FIRE Africa Grants
Deadline: April 1, 2018
The Fund for Internet Research and Development (FIRE) Africa has a total of $58,000 available for funding across two categories: “Women Empowerment in ICT” (three grants at $11,000 each available) and “Building Community Networks” (two grants at $15,000 each available). FIRE Africa places a “strong emphasis on the documentation of impact and knowledge sharing through papers, videos, and other communication materials.”
More information:

CIPESA – ICT4Democracy Fellowships (Academia and Media)
Deadline: April 1, 2018
The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)’s ICT4Democracy Fellowship Program has two fellowships available: one “Academia” themed and the other for “Media.” The Academia track “aims to nurture university students’ and early career academics’ understanding of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for governance, human rights and development,” while the Media track “aims to raise media understanding of, and its effective and consistent reporting of ICT-for-Democracy issues in East Africa.” Fellowships last for three months and fellows are allowed a modest monthly stipend for related expenses.
More information:

Open Internet for Democracy Initiative – Leaders Program
Deadline: April 5, 2018
The Leaders Program is “a nine month non-resident leadership program that empowers emerging leaders from across the globe to build their advocacy and organizing skills to protect internet freedom.” Selected participants engage in activities around “national or regional advocacy,” “communications/outreach,” and “thought leadership.” The Leaders Program is a collaborative efforts between the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), and the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA).
More information:

State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) – FY18 DRL Blockchain and Worker Rights
Deadline: April 13, 2018
The State Department is seeking proposals from projects “that develop and pilot the use of a blockchain solution to solve worker rights challenges.” Possible challenges addressed could include “non-payment or under-payment of wages, withholding of identity documents, reporting violations, access to remedy, and lack of transparency in supply chains.” Applicants should request no less than $400,000 and not more than $500,000 for a duration of “between 20 months and 36 months.”
More information:

Mozilla Fellowships
Deadline: April 20, 2018
Mozilla is seeking applicants for its 2018-19 fellowship cohort, with available fellowships falling into three general areas: open web activists, scientists and researchers, and tech policy professionals. Mozilla has $1.2 million available for the program, which runs for 10 months from September 2018 – June 2019. Fellows are encouraged to “design products, run campaigns, influence policy and ultimately lay the groundwork for a more open and inclusive internet,” with cross-disciplinary approaches encouraged.
More information:

Matter – Matter Nine
Deadline: April 30, 2018 (rolling also accepted)
Matter is looking for “scrappy entrepreneurs inspired to make real change” to join Matter Nine, an incubation program for “teams building scalable, for-profit ventures that change the way we tell stories, learn about the world, and empathize with other peoples’ lived experiences.” Matter Nine runs five months and teams are provided $50,000 cash as well as space and mentorship from Matter. The program is in-person (either San Francisco or New York). The next cohort starts on August 13th, 2018.
More information: Added Alternative Funding Sources

We’re always on the lookout for new funding sources relevant in some way to internet freedom or the broader intersection between human rights and technology. Here are a few recently added to our list:

Dropbox – Dropbox Foundation
In February Dropbox announced the launch of the Dropbox Foundation, the non-profit arm of the online file hosting company. The Foundation’s goal will be “promoting and protecting human rights by partnering with impactful nonprofits,” offering its recipients “flexible, unrestricted grants” and “skill-based volunteering” from Dropbox employees, whether that be help with “financial modeling, improving data security, or recruiting the best talent,” the company said in its announcement. The Foundation has an initial endowment of about $20 million.

Arcadia – Open Access Grants
Since 2002, Arcadia has awarded 40 grants totaling $30 million for projects “that challenge barriers to open access, create new legal tools for open access to academic publications, and develop best practices for open access to library collections.” Arcadia also ensures that any materials created through its grants are made openly accessible on the internet, including those that aim to preserve culture and nature.

United Nations – UN Democracy Fund
The UN Democracy Fund “supports civil society projects around the world that strengthen the voice of civil society, promote human rights, and encourage the participation of all groups in democratic processes.” Supported projects receiving funding for two years with grants ranging between $100,000 – $300,000.


Join the OTF-announce mailing list to receive this in your inbox on a monthly basis here. Access our compiled list of alternative support sources here.