Microgrants Consultation document

From OpenStreetMap Foundation

The OSM Foundation is seeking input for a new Grants program for members. Once the project is launched, the timeline for the first iteration will be 6 month pilot. Anyone who has been a Foundation member for at least 6 months can apply for an OSMF Grant to will cover expenses up to 5000 EUR related to events and initiatives that support the mission of OpenStreetMap.

  • Note: this is a historical page. For current info on the Microgrants project, see Microgrants.

Why are we doing this and what are we looking for?

OpenStreetMap is a vibrant global community. The inaugural OSM Foundation Microgrants program seeks to support innovative and sustainable projects that directly contribute to OSM community and OSM software development. Often, great ideas proceed if they are “bootstrapped” to prototype or to help scale existing projects. OSMF Microgrants will serve for both new and existing OSM related projects. Microgrants would be available to OSMF members.


  • Develop draft microgrant process  
  • Consultation Process Ends  
  • Announcement of microgrants  
  • Request for selection committee  
  • Submission deadline  
  • Selection and announcement
  • Funds dispersed/Mentors/connections assigned
  • Microgrant activities and reporting
  • Review the pilot


Questions / discussion

  • Should the individual/group apply to their local chapter first? Should this be only a last resort (other funding opportunities demonstrably exhausted?)
  • What are the types of grantees we are targeting?
    • Does applicant need to be an individual?
    • Group of individuals?
    • Can it be a local chapter?
    • A working group?
    • A regional/local SOTM?
  • Can we / should we use the program to actively support specific objectives? If so which? How do we measure success/impact?
    • Would a researcher/outside adjudicator be able to review the grant process and give feedback?

Examples / counterexamples

  • Travel to a conference / event? If presenting?
  • Software projects involving contracting developers?
  • Not pay people to map
  • Not for server hardware
  • Not for ongoing expenses (hosting, rent, …)


The board suggests that for the pilot the committee is derived from existing leaders, then iterate on the roles/structure for further pilots. (e.g. board, local chapter leads, advisory committee) It is very important that this committee have diverse skills, background, global /gender representation, as well as deposition to work as a team in an ethical, peaceful and committed manner.

Review process

  • Each reviewer will review half of the applications with a coded methodology
  • The application will consist of a number of questions (elaborate? Look at HOT?)
  • There will be checks and balances on the process to ensure fair and balanced review of all potential grantees.
  • The committee will meet to discuss the final selection.

Program administration

Our research found that this type of program requires extensive administration help. Some of the tasks identified include correspondence, budget, financial transactions, and reporting. We aim to be as transparent and accountable as possible.