Tag Archives: grants

Mozilla Foundation grants and related expenditures for 2007

I previously posted some information on the Mozilla Foundation’s grants and related expenditures in 2006. Since then I’ve been expanding our internal database of information about such expenditures, and have now gotten to the point where I can provide the same information for 2007. I’ll continue updating this post in the remainder of the year as we add new projects.

Background

In my previous post I provided information important to understanding the Mozilla Foundation’s grant and grant-related activities. See the post for the full details; here’s a brief recap of the two most important points:

  • There’s a difference between what we consider to be grants (made to US-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations or non-US equivalents as part of a formal grant agreement) and related expenditures (contracts with individuals or organizations to perform certain work, or travel sponsorship of individuals). This post covers both categories.
  • There’s a difference between the Mozilla Foundation’s activities and the community program (sometimes referred to as community giving) run by the Mozilla Corporation. This post covers only Foundation expenditures.

For more on the history behind the Mozilla Foundation’s grants and related activities, see my original blog post from July 2006.

Grants and related expenditures in 2007

Now to the details on items we funded in 2007 to date. We made the following expenditures that we consider to be grants as defined above, with grantees as noted:

(Note that some of our conference sponsorships were done as grants as well; however for simplicity I’ve included those with the other conference-related expenditures listed below.)

The next category covers software development and related activities, mostly through contracts with individuals:

  • Produce a Java-based conforming HTML5 parser that implements error reporting as needed by the HTML5 conformance checker, and an HTML5 parser library for Java applications as a drop-in replacement for XML parsers (Henri Sivonen). For more information see the Validator.nu HTML parser project page.
  • Enhance the OpenSSL cryptographic library and Apache mod_ssl SSL/TLS module to support sending of OCSP responses to Firefox and other web browsers as part of the SSL/TLS protocol exchange (Open Source Software Institute). For more information see the OpenSSL code changes and Apache bug 43822.
  • Improve scriptability in Camino and provide a new way to extend the browser using AppleScript (Peter Jaros). (Note that this project was a proposed Summer of Code project that ended up being co-funded by the Mozilla Foundation and the Camino project instead.) For more information see the original proposal and the associated bugs.
  • Implement the IAccessible2 accessibility API for Windows in Mozilla (Alexander Surkov). For more information see the IA2ToGecko page.
  • Create a Firefox extension to simulate the appearance of web pages to someone with colorblindness (Jörg Dotzki). For more information see the colorblind simulator project page.
  • Implement techniques for improved keyboard navigation to active elements on a web page (Leo Spalteholz). This was another proposed Summer of Code project for which we didn’t have a slot, and subsequently decided to fund ourselves.
  • Complete implementation of the Accerciser interactive test tool for testing Firefox and other applications supporting the AT-SPI accessibility API on Linux and the GNOME desktop (Eitan Isaacson). For more information see the associated GNOME Journal article.
  • Optimizing Firefox for pointer and switch access (Steve Lee). (Note that 2007 funding was a continuation of previous funding made in 2006.) This project addresses accessibility for people with physical dexterity or mobility problems (as opposed to much accessibility work, which relates to blind users); for more information see the Jambu project page.
  • Enhance the Fire Vox screen reader extension for Firefox to support WAI ARIA widgets, and thus become the first assistive technology to fully support ARIA with Firefox (Charles Chen). For more information see the WIA AIRA live regions page on the Mozilla Developer Center site.
  • Complete the implementation of the Collection interface for GNOME’s Assistive Technology Service Provider Interface (AT-SPI) to provide performance and functionality improvements to support Firefox accessibility on Linux (Ariel Rios). For more information see GNOME bug 326516.
  • Enhance the Orca open source screen reader for Linux to support Firefox, including the ability to navigate using web page elements and initial support for ARIA (landmarks only) (Scott Haeger). For more information see the dependency tree for GNOME bug 423348.
  • Migrate Orca to use pyatspi, a new standard Python client library for the GNOME AT-SPI accessibility interface (Eitan Isaacson). For more information see Eitan Isaacson’s blog post.
  • Implement various enhancements to Orca as used with Firefox, including performance enhancements and bug fixes (Eitan Isaacson). For more information see GNOME bugs 448848, 446277, and 491862, as well as the blog post referenced in the last item.
  • Enhance Orca to improve the quality of Braille output to match those of proprietary screen readers (including support of contracted Braille, also known as Grade 2 Braille) (Eitan Isaacson).
  • Evaluate the feasibility of porting the GNOME AT-SPI accessibility interface from ORBit to D-Bus, in order to ensure that the accessibility infrastructure used by Firefox on Linux is as up to date as possible (Codethink Ltd). For more information see the associated project page.

The final category comprises conferences and other events for which the Mozilla Foundation either provided sponsorship or paid travel and related costs for Mozilla contributors, or both:

Summary

Between the three categories of expenditures above (grants, contracts for development, and conference and travel sponsorship) we’ve approved funding of approximately half a million dollars thus far in 2007 we approved funding of over $700K in 2007. Note that these are not final numbers, and may differ somewhat from the numbers actually reported for 2007 in our filings next year in 2008. (In particular, not all the money authorized has yet been spent, and may not be spent in 2007 because some contracts are still in progress and payments are contingent on additional milestones being completed.) Note that these numbers may differ somewhat from the numbers actually reported for 2007 in our filings, because not all the grants and related expenditures approved in 2007 were actually paid in 2007.

In general we’ve continued the trends started in 2006, including an emphasis on funding accessibility-related projects (which accounted for almost three quarters of all expenditures). It’s too early to tell how much we’ll spend in total in 2007 on grants and related expenditures, but we’ll quite possibly double the amount spent in 2006. (As noted above, I’ll update this report as appropriate.) In 2007 we more than doubled the amount spent in 2006. As we move into 2008 we’ll be funding projects in more areas as well.

Mozilla Foundation grants and related expenditures for 2006

As noted in a blog post by Mitchell Baker, yesterday we posted various 2006 financial documents for the Mozilla Foundation, including our 2006 Form 990, a 2006 consolidated financial statement for the Foundation and the Mozilla Corporation, and a FAQ on 2006 finances. The 2006 financial FAQ in particular contains some figures on Mozilla Foundation grants and related expenditures for 2006. In this post I wanted to describe in a bit more detail what activities the Mozilla Foundation funded in 2006.

Background

Before I get into the detailed list of projects and activities we funded, I wanted to provide a bit of background. First and foremost, we often use the term “grants” very loosely to cover all of the activities we fund. In actual fact our funding includes the following categories:

  • grants made to other non-profit organizations that are exempt from taxation under IRC Section 501(c)(3), and to non-US nonprofit organizations that we consider equivalent to US-based 501(c)(3) organizations
  • payments for software development and related activities made to independent individuals (i.e., people who aren’t otherwise associated with the Mozilla Foundation or Corporation)
  • sponsorship to allow the above individuals and other contributors to travel to conferences and other meetings, along with sponsorship of conferences and meetings themselves

As noted in the 2006 financial FAQ, only items in the first category are true grants and reported as such; the other items are listed under “consulting fees”, “travel”, “conferences”, or other categories. However note that all these expenditures are over and above what it takes to keep the Foundation operating, i.e., they don’t include salaries and related expenses for myself, David Boswell, Gerv Markham, and Zak Greant, nor do they include other basic operational expenses (e.g., for accounting, auditing, etc.).

Second, our primary goal with grants and related expenditures is to support the principles of the Mozilla Manifesto, the overall mission of the Mozilla Foundation, and the work of the Mozilla project, while not duplicating efforts undertaken by the Mozilla Corporation or (in future) by the new MailCo entity. That means that on the one hand we aren’t going to be a funder of any and all charitable activities, and on the other hand we aren’t going to fund activities that the Mozilla Corporation (or MailCo) are already doing or are planning to do in the relatively short term.

One major area of activity for the Foundation has been supporting efforts to make the Web (and the Internet in general) more accessible to people with disabilities. This is an area that spans across the entire Mozilla project and also encompasses other areas outside the Mozilla project proper, in particular the problem of providing open source infrastructure, tools, and applications to support accessibility. For more on this topic and how it relates to the Foundation, see my comments on how accessibility relates to the Foundation’s mission and my more recent discussion of a Mozilla accessibility vision and strategy.

Finally, the Foundation’s grant and related activities are separate from the “community program” (sometimes referred to as “community giving”) run by the Mozilla Corporation, which is primarily directed at supporting dedicated volunteer Mozilla contributors.

For more on the history behind the Foundation’s grants and related activities, see my blog post from July 2006. I’ll come back to some of the thoughts in that post in my conclusion below.

Grants and related expenditures in 2006

Now to the details on items we funded in 2006. As already noted in the 2006 financial FAQ, we made two grants in 2006 that were reported as such (with grantees as noted):

The next category covers software development and related activities, mostly through contracts with individuals; however note that some of this funding went to nonprofit organizations, and because of the way the paperwork was handled the funding got lumped into this category:

The final category comprises conferences and other events for which the Mozilla Foundation either provided sponsorship or paid travel and related costs for Mozilla contributors, or both:

Mozilla Foundation projects in 2007 and beyond

Once 2007 concludes I’ll produce a similar report to this for Mozilla Foundation grants and related expenditures this year. (I’ve already mentioned several of these in my weekly status reports.) However in general we’ve continued the trends started in 2006, including an emphasis on funding accessibility-related projects. It’s too early to tell how much we’ll spend in total, but I suspect we’ll easily double the amount spent in 2006. As we move into 2008 we’ll also be funding projects in more areas.

In general I think my initial thoughts from last year still apply: The Mozilla Foundation’s role (at least at present) is best thought of as providing “seed funding” for Mozilla and Mozilla-related projects and activities that are both important for the future and not being addressed fully by the Mozilla Corporation or others. Continuing the analogy, our “exit strategy” is to have those activities (or at least some aspects of them) be picked up by other organizations willing to contribute their own funding. (See, for example, the hiring of Tim Keenan by the Mozilla Corporation to supervise accessibility-related QA and testing, and the hiring of Charles Chen to do accessibility work at Google.)

The other constant is the importance of having people who can help us put together a funding program in particular areas, as Aaron Leventhal has done for Mozilla accessibility. To repeat what I wrote last year:

We’re looking for more people like Aaron to whom we can successfully delegate responsibility for suggesting and overseeing grants in their area(s) of expertise. If you’re one of those people I’m interested in hearing from you.