Announcing the OSM Foundation’s Call for Microgrant Applications

2020 will be the first year that the OSM Foundation operates the new microgrants project. In the coming weeks, we hope to hear from you about a bold, community-driven, and impactive OpenStreetMap project idea that will benefit from a microgrant of up to 5000 euros. We welcome a broad range of projects, with the minimum requirement being a clear connection to OpenStreetMap.

What is a microgrant? In our case, it is a modest amount of funds awarded to applicants in order to fund direct expenses of a project. For an idea of successful projects, you can take a look at the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team’s 2019 microgrant awardees. Keep in mind that the OSM Foundation (OSMF) has a wider focus than the humanitarian sector, spanning our global community, and welcomes applications with any focus that relates to OpenStreetMap. We particularly encourage applicants to consider the core values from the OSMF’s mission statement and how any microgrant work can incorporate them.

The OSMF Microgrant Program focuses on simple grant proposals, and we will swiftly decide on what to fund. Our goal is to avoid a complicated and long application and decision process. You should submit a brief and concise proposal, and we plan to quickly announce the awardees.

We encourage submissions from individuals, groups, and organizations who have a clear idea they want to pursue. Each project should be completed within 12 months of the microgrant being awarded this spring. Microgrants are open to all OSMF members, and can be submitted in any language. If you are not yet a member of OSMF then you can apply to join up until the time you submit a microgrant application, and be eligible for an award. Please note there is an active contributor program that may allow you to join the OSMF at no cost. 

In light of the ongoing health crisis regarding COVID19, we will not be awarding microgrants for projects which require offline group gatherings and in person meetings, although these ideas are certainly valuable for future rounds.

Funding can be used for a variety of purposes. You may need tools and supplies for mapping activity, funds for training materials, technology expenses for a series of virtual mapathons, prizes for an online coding, mapping, or writing contest, and many more examples. Please embrace your own creativity and not feel limited by the range of examples.

We encourage you to consult with your local OpenStreetMap community when planning a microgrant application, and make sure you adhere to community guidelines in the scope of the project. If accepted for a microgrant, you will be responsible for reporting progress, signing a grant agreement, and making sure to follow the detailed microgrant rules. It is strongly suggested that your project uses the funding to enable volunteer work to have a wider and stronger impact than it would without funding.

The call for microgrants will open on April 19th, 2020 and we will continue to accept applications through May 10th, 2020. In order to submit,  visit the OSM Wiki page and click on “Start your application” to enter the template. When this is complete, send a message to microgrants at osmfoundation.org. We also encourage sharing your application on osmf-talk when it is submitted. If you need help with the submission process, please feel free to contact the Microgrants Committee for help. If you don’t have enough time to prepare your plan and application, please consider submitting it in a possible future round of microgrants.

Once the submission period closes on May 10th, we invite the community to review the complete list of submissions and provide feedback on the wiki page. We also will accept feedback by email to microgrants at osmfoundation.org and via osmf-talk

Complete timeline:

  • April 19: call for microgrant applications opens
  • May 10: final date for submission (23:59 Pacific Time Zone, USA). 
  • May 10-TBD: community feedback period
  • Late May: announcement of awards

For more details, see the complete rules and guidelines on the OSM wiki and contact us at microgrants at osmfoundation.org with any questions. This is the first time the OSMF is sponsoring such an activity, and we look forward to learning together about how this benefits our community and how to build a transparent, effective, and inclusive microgrants program for everyone involved. We are grateful for the opportunity to make funds available to the community and hope to hear your ideas in the coming weeks.

Chris Beddow, OSMF Microgrants Committee Chair

Do you want to translate this and other blogposts in your language..? Please send an email to communication@osmfoundation.org with subject: Helping with translations in [your language]

The OpenStreetMap Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation, formed to support the OpenStreetMap Project. It is dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free geospatial data for anyone to use and share. The OpenStreetMap Foundation owns and maintains the infrastructure of the OpenStreetMap project, is financially supported by membership fees and donations, and organises the annual, international State of the Map conference. It has no full-time employees and it is supporting the OpenStreetMap project through the work of our volunteer Working Groups. Please consider becoming a member of the Foundation.

OpenStreetMap was founded in 2004 and is a international project to create a free map of the world. To do so, we, thousands of volunteers, collect data about roads, railways, rivers, forests, buildings and a lot more worldwide. Our map data can be downloaded for free by everyone and used for any purpose – including commercial usage. It is possible to produce your own maps which highlight certain features, to calculate routes etc. OpenStreetMap is increasingly used when one needs maps which can be very quickly, or easily, updated.

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5 thoughts on “Announcing the OSM Foundation’s Call for Microgrant Applications

    1. Tordanik

      @SSEKITOLEKO: Yes, you can apply as an individual! Some of the questions and examples in the application form could probably be better worded to make that obvious, but please don’t let that deter you.

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