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Creative Commons Catalyst Grants: Igniting Openness and Innovation

Over the past decade, Creative Commons has been the most important link between creativity and copyright law, championing a new breed of licenses that use the law to propel, rather than hinder, creative collaboration and shareability. This week, the nonprofit launched The Catalyst Campaign – an ambitious fundraising effort to support the recently introduced Catalyst Grants program, which aims to ignite innovation around the world by seeding $100,000 to global projects that support CC’s principles of openness and sharing.

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 affiliates and the broader community, will be selected to receive $1,000–$10,000 to make their ideas a reality.”

Between June 1 and June 30, Creative Commons will microfund the $100,000 seed fund through donations. Less than 48 hours into it, they have already raised over $15,500 – a positively heartening start. Donations come in four suggested amounts – $25, $75, $150, $300 and $1000, with the last three even offering monthly payment plans – but you can also enter your own amount. (A smart take on the pay-what-you-will (PWYW) model, which has been gaining increasingly more traction over the past couple of years and holds intriguing potential for the future of financial transactions, particularly when it comes to cause marketing and social payments.)

The Catalyst Grants themselves will range between $1000 and $10,000, given to innovators, educators and researchers around the globe. Both the funding and grant allocation processes are executed with complete transparency, and anyone can submit a grant application. What makes the project particularly powerful is that it aims to be an enabler of a triad of some of today’s most sorely needed social concepts – crowdsourced microfunding, local entrepreneurship and creative collaboration.


Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine and Huffington Post, and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.


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