After nailing our colours to the mast of people rather than projects in 2009, we succeeded in delivering a fellowship programme that does much more than award funding to people for doing good in the world. It serves as an infrastructure backbone and support network for those who are taking risks to make the world a better place, and we are very proud of it.
Learning from the Free and Open Source Software movement however, we can always iterate and make ourselves better. In 2013 we looked for more data driven insights into our funding and application processes. By the end of the year, we took stock of where we were, and looked to assess if that was actually what we wanted.
In 2014, we will be conducting a number of funding experiments, testing assumptions about what really makes ideas fly and how can Fellows best achieve their objectives for sustained social change. What support adds the most value Is there one answer or is it unique every time?
We are still at our core working towards an open ecosystem, a place where ideas and knowledge are shared and accessed freely, without fear of judgement. There is a long road to tread.
We supported openness in intellectual property, data, privacy, hardware, education, publishing, government and the Web.
We maintain a small core team to continue to develop and support our fellowship programme with the strategic insight and flexibility we offer Fellows. The vast majority of our funding is spent either directly or indirectly on Fellows and their projects.
We invite individuals from anywhere in the world to apply for a fellowship based on their innovative idea for social change. While we value knowledge, learning and technology as key themes, we encourage applicants to present us with their idea as is rather than trying to fit it into a specific mould. Our only absolute requirements are that their work be open and they apply fresh thinking that adds value.
At the heart of our co-investment fellowship model is the principle that Fellows continue to invest in their own ideas. The Foundation amplifies the Fellow’s investment by matching it at least tenfold, along with covering the cost of their time for the year.
The figures you see here do not reflect each Fellow’s fellowship year funding, but rather the funds unlocked within our financial year, as the fellowship years start either March or September and Fellows are not required to spend the available funds proportionately throughout the year.
As driving social change does not adhere to financial or fellowship years, Fellows are allowed to spend unlocked project funds beyond the end of a fellowship year. In addition to Alumni continuing to participate in our bi-annual fellows’ gatherings, mentoring new Fellows and engaging in the Fellowship group as support network, we remain invested in their entities and continue to work with them on project implementation.