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Catalyst Grants Program

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Purpose of Catalyst Grants Program

Creative Commons is investing up to $100,000 to empower individuals and communities deeply rooted in the principles of openness and sharing. With the Catalyst Grants program, Creative Commons will seed activities around the globe that support our mission. Our goal is to scale our community's efforts and support them in becoming self-sustainable. Through a rigorous public review and transparent evaluation process, the best proposals, submitted by CC Jurisdiction Teams and the broader community, will be selected to receive $1,000–$10,000 to make their ideas a reality.

Fundable Projects

Applicants may seek funding for activities that positively impact Creative Commons' mission of fostering creativity (cultural, educational, scientific and other content) in the commons, to promote understanding and adoption of CC's tools, licenses and technologies, and to support the building and work of communities that use or benefit from CC licenses, tools, and technologies.

Some funding may be ear-marked to address particular issues, programs or activities, geographies or other specified objectives or criteria, all as may be indicated by Creative Commons in the relevant Call for Grant Proposals.

Grants will range in amount from US$ 1,000 - US$ 10,000.

Example projects:

  1. Convening a workshop on best/recommended practices for developing and publishing Open Educational Resources (or CC-licensed works in some other high-value field).
  2. Publishing an academic article comparing multiple jurisdictions' laws on copyright exceptions and limitations.
  3. Establishing metrics for and measuring the impact of CC-licensed works within a particular field or discipline, such as education or science, or particular geography, such as Africa.
  4. Documenting novel business models that are enabled by Creative Commons licenses and technologies, including commercial ventures.
  5. Studying the benefits and challenges associated with incorporating CC licenses and technologies within libraries, museums and other cultural institutions.
  6. Preparing a white paper on the negative effects of license proliferation, or documenting case studies involving license incompatibilities.
  7. Supporting a local team to implement a CC-related technology challenge, such as adding license support to a specific CMS.
  8. Examining the effects that the licensing of databases and data have on scientific research and discovery.
  9. Creating a database of projects that have adopted the CC0 waiver (placing works in the public domain) for content and/or data they publish, and how such content and data is thereafter used by others and with what effects.
  10. Capacity-building for CC affiliate projects such as development of proposals for and pursuit of local funding.
  11. Outreach projects the demonstrate the value of CC, such as a clinic on using free software creation tools to remix CC-licensed content.

Funding may not be used for lobbying activities, license porting activities (launch events, legal review of the licenses, etc.), Salons, exclusively for the creation of CC-licensed works, or for similar activities and events, all as determined by CC in its discretion. Events must be outcome-driven and integral to CC's mission. Grants will not support "meetings for the sake of meetings" nor regional meetings unless those meetings deliver specific, mission-relevant outputs.

Funds will be distributed beginning in August and cannot be applied to previously incurred expenses. Applications for activities funded by other means will not be accepted.

Who May Apply

Any organization or institution may apply. Applications from or endorsed by official CC affiliate institutions will receive preference. Joint applications from official CC affiliate institutions and other organizations are also welcomed, although each joint proposal will still be capped by the maximum grant amount. Applicants wishing to establish an official CC jurisdiction project in their country are encouraged to apply as well. Applications from non-OCED countries will be given special consideration.

There are no limit to the number of applications an organization or group of organizations can submit, although bear in mind the Grant Review Committee will distribute grants as fairly as possible across regions.

Application Process

Creative Commons will publish one or more Calls for Grant Applications, which will detail application processes and deadlines, as well as any supplemental application criteria. All applications must be submitted in English and will be made public on the Creative Commons wiki. The application form must be accompanied by a proposed budget. See below for more details.

Successful applicants will be required to sign a Grant Agreement as a condition of receiving funds, which agreement will specify reporting, accounting and other terms and conditions governing receipt and use of the funds. Among other things, all Grant Agreements will provide that all original material produced within the scope of the grant program will be made available under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license or CC0.

Grant recipients must also agree to report on and document the project and use of funds as described by Creative Commons in the Grant Agreement. Recipients agree to participate in communication with the grant committee and coordinators, and also with fellow grantees, CC staff, and CC jurisdictions, all as may be reasonably requested.

Application and Grant Calendar

  • Call for CC affiliate Catalyst Grants applications: opens April 23
  • Call for public Catalyst Grants applications: opens May 14
  • Catalyst Fundraising Campaign: June 1 – June 30
  • Deadline for all Catalyst Grants applications: June 30
  • Review Committee convenes: July 1 – July 30
  • Catalyst Grants awarded: beginning August 1

Review Process

Following initial screening by CC for completeness and appropriateness of the project proposed, applications will be published online for a period of public review and comment. By submitting a grant application, Applicant agrees to such publication, and further agrees not to reveal any confidential or other information that the Applicant is restricted from disclosing publicly, to Creative Commons, or otherwise.

A Grant Review Committee established by Creative Commons will evaluate the grant applications and make recommendations to Creative Commons for final action. The committee will consist of CC staff as well as a single representative from each of the following regions: Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Middle East/Arab world, and North America. Official CC affiliate institutions within each jurisdiction are expected to establish a process for selecting a single regional representative to serve on the Grant Committee; however, if no regional representative is selected or if a process is not established for any reason prior to the commencement of the Grant Committee's work, then Creative Commons may select a representative for the region. Regional representatives will serve for a period of one year, and are expected to make themselves available for conference calls and meetings to review and establish recommendations for review and action by Creative Commons.

Creative Commons reserves the right to amend or modify these terms at any time in its sole discretion, and to discontinue the Catalyst Grants program at any time.

Grant applications in progress or submitted

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