During 2014, we set out to review and think about what we do, why we do it, and what presents an ongoing challenge to realising our vision of philanthropy. Our journey from traditional funder to today helped us test some of the assumptions we had made. Now, more than ever, we believe that people, not projects, change the world. Past success does not guarantee future success. There is no standard recipe for change, we have to build the best vehicles fit for purpose. And ownership fuels longevity, not just money.
We have also discovered that, like most funders, we have put processes in place that do not add value to our overall philanthropic goals of sustained social change. This has helped us to simplify our model of investment to support and build, not impose unnecessary road blocks.
We will continue to challenge and evolve our processes and practices, and check our own assumptions along with those of the broader discipline. How do we work towards a world of Open when Privacy is compromised? How do we truly measure change and success, when the metric used to evaluate them are almost always quantitative? For us, this involves a lot of learning, revisiting, expanding and distilling again.
Being a relatively small and young foundation affords us some unique opportunities, not least of which is experimentation. We can learn, iterate and re-imagine how philanthropy could be done to drive the sustained social change we need.
The How of OpenRead more
This success has also made the term fashionable and sometimes leads to overenthusiastic uses of the open label or, more worryingly, open-washing . It can result in uncertainty and confusion for those who plan to open up knowledge resources for strategic purposes. The detail of how open is open, matters....... >>
We do this because who we are and how we behave has impact on others. We want to present the best, most relevant parts of ourselves in a given context. We choose to ignore the warts and wobbly bits in favour of the identity we’ve claimed as our own in...... >>
Open as a Strategy for Philanthropy and Social ChangeRead more
The more we expose the thinking, working and practices of our organisation, our ideas and our projects, the better. Exposing this information allows other organisations, project implementers, funders, policy makers, change agents, advocates and academics to learn from what we have done. We have found that being intentional about making...... >>
Application pointersRead more
Prospective applicants often ask us to narrow down the parameters for applications and be more specific about what we’re looking for. We are not planning on doing that, as we want to be surprised and intrigued by applicants, no matter how unconventional the idea may be. However, we can provide...... >>
From Traditional Funder to TodayRead more
Our main goal was to improve the quality of education in South Africa. We invested in projects that offered unique and innovative solutions to educational challenges in a developing society, focused on the areas of science, technology, entrepreneurship and maths in education, as well as propagating the use of open...... >>
The open source software movement has not only created widely used software but million dollar businesses. Although the model is well established for software development, distribution and use, it is not the case for education, philanthropy, hardware or social development, to name but a few important endeavours. The default imposed...... >>
We focus our energy by supporting openness in intellectual property, data, privacy, hardware, education, publishing, government, science, telecoms, environment, music, transparancy 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.
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.