article / 4 October 2023

Mozilla Foundation, funding for nature conservation

Many people know of the Mozilla Foundation because of the FireFox browser and other open source software they produce together with countless volunteers. Perhaps less well known, the Mozilla Foundation also runs a funding program, which I believe may be an potential source of support for certain nature conservation projects.

Mozilla's funding program

The Mozilla Foundation runs the program with the credo "Funding and resources for a more human-centered internet". It supports diversity in community, emerging internet and data technologies, and long term infrastructure, all with the aims of a "more open, secure, and inclusive internet" and a more trustworthy AI.

According to their website, the program has fellowships and awards, which it grants through open calls under different sub programs. Since 2015 it has supported over 200 fellows and has handed out $22 million to organizations and individuals in 46 countries in all continents except the antarctic. Besides funding, the foundation also offers other forms of support, such as mentoring, peer support and its Data Futures Lab.

Funding source for nature conservation?

Now, what does the program have to do with nature conservation? Obviously, nothing much in a direct sense. However, this year, the Mozilla Technology Fund runs a call with the question "Is there a role AI systems can play in addressing topics like environmental degradation, climate change, indigenous justice, food justice, and energy justice?". Suddenly, it is about nature conservation. Moreover not just that but also about closely related themes of the role and rights of indigenous people, food and climate change.

By the way, the call closes on October 5th, so be fast if one sees an opportunity. Excuse me for writing this late, but I found out only today.

The existence of the call indicates that the Mozilla Foundation acknowledges connections between internet and AI on the one hand and nature conservation on the other.

Besides social justice, there are other connections. Open source and open data are huge topics in nature conservation. Big data, big science, machine learning and AI have become common themes in the field. And last but not least, internet connectivity in remote areas is another common theme. There is quite some of tinkering going on in nature conservation, as for example the WildLabs forum shows.


One may have missed this particular 5 October deadline. That is unfortunate, but the more long-term take away should be to consider Mozilla Foundation as a potential funding source for a project in nature conservation. Funding is scarce and competition fierce. One trick is to look in the less obvious areas where not nature conservation per se is funded, but where other related and common topics are. Mozilla Foundation fits that bill.


For more details see

This article is published in LinkedIn, WildHub and WildLabs

Photo by Rachel Claire :

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