Grants/Leader Overview

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How This Works
List of Submitted Grants
Annual Fundraising Plan 2013

Common Question Phrasings

  1. Provide a brief biography of the social entrepreneur that leads the organization and a description of how this person has impacted the organization's success. - Skoll Foundation
  2. How are you uniquely positioned to address the problem? - Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation


Marcin Jakubowski (Senior TED Fellow & Shuttleworth Fellow) was born in Poland. His grandfather led actions in the Polish underground derailing German trains in WWII. His grandmother lived through a concentration camp. When he was 10, tanks rolled down the streets of his neighborhood, and it wasn't a parade. These were times of martial law behind the Iron Curtain - a clear state of material scarcity. Marcin and his family waited in line for staples like butter and meat. His life would be transformed when his family left for America, but he never forgot the terrible things that happen when resources are scarce and people fight over opportunity. He began to think that the most essential type of freedom starts with an individual's ability to use natural resources to free oneself from material constraints. Marcin thrived in the United States graduating with honors from Princeton University and earning his Ph.D. in fusion physics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Yet, Marcin felt increasingly useless, as his studies were distancing him further from solving pressing world issues.

So, Marcin started a farm in rural Missouri. He learned about the economics of farming. He bought a tractor - then it broke. He paid to get it repaired - then it broke again. Then, soon enough, he was broke too. He realized that the truly appropriate, low-cost tools that he needed to build a sustainable farm and settlement just didn’t exist yet. He needed tools that were robust, modular, highly efficient, low cost, made from local or recycled materials, and that were designed for a lifetime - not obsolescence. He realized that he'd have to build them himself. So he did just that, and he tested them. He found that industrial productivity can be achieved on a small scale. So then, he posted all the designs, schematics, instructional videos, and budgets on a wiki, and contributors from all over the world began showing up to prototype new machines during dedicated project visits. As such, the tractor, the brick press, and a number of other machines were created.

Open Source Ecology was born.

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