Technology has transformed our daily lives. A force for boundless innovation and enormous good - it can also deepen and exacerbate inequalities. That’s why the Ford Foundation has been working with a community of partners to develop the field of #PublicInterestTech - people and organizations harnessing technology to serve justice and the public interest.

Many of our friends in philanthropy—including the Mozilla Foundation, Astraea Foundation, Knight Foundation, and Open Society Foundations—are investing in opportunities to help build the Public Interest Tech field.

Here are some of the opportunities available right now. Spread the word!


1. Mozilla - Art and Advocacy (AI)

Mozilla has been a major partner growing the field of #PublicInterestTech - providing grants and funding support to people and organizations on the front lines of making the internet open and accessible to everyone. This includes the Mozilla Open-Web Fellowship, a fellowship program that embeds technologists in nonprofit organizations worldwide (be on the lookout for their annual application announcement).

In June 2018, Mozilla announced a new $225,000 initiative for Art and Advocacy exploring artificial intelligence. Funds will be awarded to technologists, artists, and media makers working on projects that help people understand how artificial intelligence and machine learning affect everyday life.

Apply now! Deadline: August 1, 2018


Open Technology Fund

2. Open Technology Fund

The Open Technology Fund supports projects that promote a free and open internet and empowers people to access modern communications channels free from oppressive censorship or surveillance. The fund has two opportunities with fast-approaching deadlines:

  • Apply for their Internet Freedom Fund for projects and ideas that promote a free and open internet and advance access to platforms by at risk users, including journalists, human rights defenders, or people in repressive regimes.
  • Apply for their Core Infrastructure Fund for projects and ideas on digital infrastructure, “building block technologies,” and supporting communities working on digital securities.

Deadline for both funds: July 1, 2018


Media Democracy Fund

3. Media Democracy Fund

The Media Democracy Fund works with foundations, government, the private sector, and individuals to award grants to media and technology organizations that work to advance the public interest in the digital age around the world.

MDF supports work that utilizes a variety of strategies, including organizing, public education, research, litigation, technological development, and legislative and regulatory reform.

Apply now! Deadline: Ongoing


4. Ford and Sloan Foundations’ Digital Infrastructure Research RFP

In the 2016 Ford Foundation-funded report, Roads and Bridges, author Nadia Eghbal laid out how fragile our critical digital infrastructure is. In 2018, the Ford Foundation and Sloan Foundation have partnered up to fund a new wave of research “exploring the economics, sustainability, and maintenance of the world’s digital infrastructure.”

The goal: To find out how we can strengthen our digital infrastructure in ways that benefit us all.

Got ideas? Submit your concept notes now! Deadline: June 13, 2018


Are there other opportunities you think the Public Interest Technology community should know about? Share them in the comments below.

And be sure to visit us at to sign up for ongoing updates, stories and future opportunities like these.