Submissions open for Data Empowerment Fund

Deadline Date: March 05, 2024

Donor Name: Patrick J. McGovern Foundation

Grant Size: $10,000 to $100,000

Submissions are now open for the Data Empowerment Fund to support a diverse set of initiatives that enable greater individual agency or community control over data.

It is powered by the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, Omidyar Network and Open Collective Foundation.

Data empowerment can take many forms, depending on its purpose and context. The following is a non-exhaustive list of what a successful application to the Data Empowerment Fund could involve:

  • Developing a participatory process or tool that enables individuals or communities to collect, use or share data, or otherwise shape how it’s used.
  • Applying a participatory process or tool to a particular challenge, or with a particular community.
  • Making an existing digital service more responsive to its users’ preferences around data collection, sharing or use.
  • Collaboratively building a new dataset, or collaboratively addressing bias or other issues with an existing one.
  • Building a new institution to foster greater individual or community control over data, such as a data cooperative or data trust.
  • Evolving an existing institution to work more closely with its community on data, such as a labor union or charity.
  • Developing a technical protocol or standard that enables people to use their data rights or assert their preferences.
  • Developing a legal mechanism to empower individuals or communities to shape how data is used, such as new collective data rights or an indigenous data license.
  • Creating an artwork that involves, or challenges them to think differently about, participatory data collection.
  • Undertaking original research or design projects to produce new, radical proposals for empowering people with or around data.

Funding Information

  • The Data Empowerment Fund will provide grants of either $50k or $100k, and will support around ten initiatives in total.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Individuals, collectives, organizations (nonprofit and for-profit) and academic institutions are eligible. Those based outside of the United States and Europe are especially encouraged to apply.
  • With this call, the Data Empowerment Fund is particularly interested in supporting:
    • Initiatives that have significant public policy relevance. For example, data intermediation services or data altruism organisations as per the European Data Governance Act.
    • Initiatives that enable people to control whether, or how, data is used to train AI models. For example, tools for artists to signal their preferences such as those developed by Spawning.
    • Initiatives that involve a novel legal, technological or participatory approach, and therefore can be learnt from. For example, a creative new approach to running a public dialogue or other deliberative process.

For more information, visit Patrick J. McGovern Foundation.

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