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Influence

  • Mark Surman
We also measure our progress in terms of influence. Almost fifteen years after Mark Surman became a fellow, he is still championing our philosophy and values with Mozilla to protect the free and open web. Francois Grey also wields great influence. He had his perspective changed by his fellowship and, a decade later, continues to be an ambassador for us, advocating for openness in his work at the Citizen Cyberlab and its partners in CERN, the United Nations, and the Geneva Tsinghua Initiative. Peter Cunliffe-Jones came to the fellowship oblivious to the open movement but applied openness at the heart of his project Africa Check and later into the International Fact-Checking Network.
By embedding openness as a philosophy in individuals, they embed it institutionally elsewhere. As each of our fellows realises their potential and becomes a leader, our ideas spread further into new and exciting places. Significantly, this process is not driven by us as funders. We do not demand openness is introduced to any particular field and find someone to make it happen - it simply wouldn’t work as effectively. Instead, people bring their ideas to us, we support them, and they spread our shared, collective thinking out into the world.
And what of our aim to reimagine philanthropy? We have advised several significant foundations on starting their fellowship programmes, while many others used our legal agreements to help them shift towards an open funding model. Our toolkit of innovative legal mechanisms includes the Open Lock, developed with Andrew Rens to cement openness at the heart of an organisation. We have also innovated new funding ideas: our Flash Grant programme, for example, is an attempt to move to a more decentralised, trust-based form of philanthropy and helps extend our reach across the world into new territories, both thematically and geographically.
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