The Core Infrastructure Fund (CIF) strives to uphold and increase capacity for individuals, organizations, and companies working to fortify the foundational components of demonstrably important technology relied upon by people in repressive countries.
Ideal applications are: open in nature, collaborative, promote a broader understanding of existing challenges and limitations, are preemptive in approach, and/or exist at the core of the internet’s ecosystem. Common applicants come from the community of developers and organizers working on open-source projects recognized as critical dependencies of one or more active platforms or tools strengthening internet freedom and digital security.
Ideal applications for this fund focus on supporting:
If you feel your effort fits within the goals of this fund, but is not explicitly listed above, apply!
Problems addressed by the Core Infrastructure Fund:
For an idea of the types of efforts OTF supports through the Core Infrastructure Fund, here are a few previously supported projects:
Relevant to mission:
Proposals should exhibit originality, substance, and relevance to the funds stated mission above. The work plan should adhere to the program overview and guidelines described above.
Ability to achieve objectives:
Objectives should be ambitious, yet measurable and achievable within the boundaries of the proposed funding. You should not include items that require additional funding beyond the life of this grant. For complete proposals, applicants will have to provide a monthly timeline of project activities.
Applicant’s record and capacity:
OTF will consider the past performance of prior recipients and the demonstrated potential of new applicants. Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the project’s objectives.
Submitting a concept note is always the first step to getting the process started. If your concept note is accepted, you will be invited to submit a full proposal.
For a full rundown of desired project criteria and the application process, head here.
Core Infrastructure Fund concept notes are accepted on a rolling basis, with submission rounds closing every two months. For the next upcoming batch deadline, see the header at the top of this page.
To stay up to date on this and other OTF funding opportunities, sign up to join the OTF-announce mailing list.
All CIF applications are reviewed by the OTF team; selected applications are also then reviewed by OTF’s independent Advisory Council review panel. CIF proposals are reviewed by specific AC members who bring with them a deep knowledge of and experience with core internet technologies.
Members of the CIF Advisory Council review panel are:
OTF awards are performance-based contracts (see an example template here) signed directly with the applicant. Payment is issued on completion of stated objectives, activities, and deliverables per a schedule outlined in the contract. OTF reserves the right to award less or more than the funds requested as deemed in the best interest of OTF’s priorities.
Applications that request more than the award ceiling of $300,000 or less than the award floor of $5,000 may be deemed technically ineligible.
OTF awards are generally 6 to 18 months in duration. From time to time, OTF may consider requests to extend existing contracts beyond previously agreed upon durations. Any such decision will be subject to availability of funds, satisfactory progress of the applicants, and a determination that continued funding would be in the best interest of program priorities.
Successful applicants selected by OTF are paired with an OTF program manager who oversees all project monitoring and evaluation for the duration of the awarded contract lifecycle. Monitoring and evaluation assessments are largely based on predetermined and agreed upon metrics, deliverables, and goals as laid out by the applicant in the project proposal workplan.
As described above, because payment is dispersed at regular intervals upon completion of stated contractual goals, successful applicants can expect regular contact with their OTF project manager. Monitoring consists of compulsory monthly reports and also phone, email, or in-person discussions and consultations as needed.
Ideal applicants are proposing efforts within the scope of this fund and OTF’s mission, values, and principles. In addition, ideal applicants meet one or more of the following:
OTF prioritizes projects coming from individuals or organizations who are new to the internet freedom community and are requesting less than $300,000 for efforts with a duration less than 12 months. This allows us to empower a new pool of technology and development talent that may not have been otherwise supported.