Grants/Programs Description

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How This Works
List of Submitted Grants
Annual Fundraising Plan 2013

Common Question Phrasings

  1. What are the details of program operations offered by your organization. - Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation
  2. Please provide a detailed explanation of your initiative. What is it? Where is it? How does it work? Whom does it impact? Include the source of inspiration, how the project has evolved from inception to its current stage of development, and the implementation/impact timeframe. Explain how your strategy creatively and comprehensively integrates the key social, cultural, economic, ecological, and technological factors required to transform ‘business as usual’ in this area of need. Describe the vision -what long-term systemic impacts do you anticipate when your initiative is fully implemented. - Buckminster Fuller Institute


We create spaces where people all across the planet can collaborate to invent open technology and open business models together. By adhering to a set of guiding design principles, we generate affordable solutions that are accessible enough for almost anyone to build themselves using widely available tools and materials. Through open enterprise, we can create fundamental, enduring solutions to poverty and do so in a way that promotes the regeneration of the environment.

We are working on the Global Village Construction Set (GVCS): a modular, DIY, low-cost, high-performance platform that allows for the easy fabrication of the 50 different industrial machines that it takes to build a small, sustainable civilization with modern comforts. The platform's technology spans multiple industry sectors including agriculture, construction, energy production, transportation, and digital fabrication.

Our programs are based on four fundamental activities:

  1. Designing and field-testing the 50 Global Village Construction Set (GVCS) machines
  2. Creating training documentation for each machine
  3. Conducting local, hands-on training workshops
  4. Promoting entrepreneurship through Distributive Enterprise

Our mission is to build the Open Source Economy, where people collaborate openly to achieve an accelerated rate of innovation and grant their work to the creative commons for everyone’s benefit. We envision an open society where high quality digital training materials and hands on workshops are available throughout the world to teach individuals and communities how to harness abundant natural resources - soil, rocks, sunlight, water, and air - to develop regional industrial autonomy.

Our flagship initiative is the Global Village Construction Set (GVCS): an open source, low cost, high performance, DIY platform of the 50 different industrial machines that it takes to generate a high standard of living using abundant, local resources. The GVCS includes everything from a bread oven, to a tractor, solar concentrator, circuit maker, and other machines that span multiple industries: agriculture, energy production, transportation, construction, and digital manufacturing.

For each machine that we develop, we publish open source training documentation to help other people build it themselves. The types of documentation include: 1) videos showing the complete fabrication and assembly processes, 2) fabrication diagrams detailing the types of materials required, their dimensions, and how they fit together, 3) 3D models allowing people to view a digital prototype from any angle and zoom level, and 4) step-by-step fabrication manuals and resources guiding the end user.

We are developing a parallel program with the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) to publish documentation standards for the open hardware industry. Through collaborative workshops with representatives from open hardware companies, we are defining guidelines and best practices for everyone to use, which will raise the overall standard of documentation quality and improve the compatibility of different projects.

Taking these collaboration tools to the next level, this Summer, we will host the world’s first collaborative ‘jam’ to build an open source business model over the course of a single weekend. The product of this collaboration effort will be a turnkey kit that anyone can use to start an open-hardware-based enterprise. This project will kickstart a major initiative to create entrepreneur networks, where business-owners actively share the lessons they learn from their day-to-day operations for everyone else’s benefit.

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