OTF is extremely pleased to announce that we are reopening our Internet Freedom Fund for applications. After we were forced last year to close our Internet Freedom Fund for the first time since OTF’s inception, we are thrilled to once again be able to support the important work of the internet freedom community.
In preparing to relaunch we’ve reflected on feedback from the community, and have been working hard to improve our application process and operations in order to reduce complexity and barriers for applicants applying for our funding, while maintaining OTF’s commitment to due diligence and feedback-driven, competitive processes. In the coming weeks we will publish more blog posts detailing changes, and why we’ve implemented them, such as our new application categories, and switching from bi-monthly round deadlines to accepting applications on a rolling basis. To start, however, we wanted to highlight one of the most visible changes to the way we accept applications , which we call the “single-button apply”.
So, what’s the story behind a “single-button apply”? OTF started with the Internet Freedom Fund as our main means of supporting projects. Over the years, OTF introduced other funds, and labs, as a result of our growing understanding of community needs, as well as to address emerging issues and underfunded areas of internet freedom.
These newer funds include the Core Infrastructure Fund, which was created to support the fundamental building blocks of the internet that enable internet freedom tools to be secure, Community Lab which brings people working on internet freedom projects together to collaborate and innovate, and the Community Prototype Fund, which encourages the creation of internet freedom prototypes that can improve current technologies, or become full-fledged tools on their own.
While we still intend to support the vital work happening in these areas, we’ve gotten feedback that applicants who come to our application system are often confused as to where they should apply for their work. Also, given that the first stage of our application process is a short concept note that we evaluate before we request a full proposal, we’ve noticed that our concept note forms for many of the funds are very similar.
For those reasons, in a design consultation with Simply Secure, we decided to consolidate multiple funds and labs into the Internet Freedom Fund, resulting in a single “Apply” button and a unified concept note where the majority of our applicants can apply. While there are still separate applications for some of our other funds and labs that we couldn’t include at this stage due to their particularities, we will continue to listen to you all on how well this change is working, and continue to improve on our processes to make it easier and less confusing for people working on internet freedom to apply for funding.
We remain extremely grateful for all the support we received during our funding hiatus and are very excited to resume the fight for internet freedom with this incredible community. If you have any questions or feedback on our process, feel free to email us at: [email protected]