Media Democracy Fund manages two different programs that match technologists with social justice organizations: the Technology Exchange Matching Fund and the PhDX Fellowship Program.
Ford/MDF Technology Exchange Matching Fund
Launched in 2015, the Ford/MDF Technology Exchange Matching Fund (TX) creates opportunities for emerging technology leaders around the world to gain experience working with civil society organizations on Internet Freedom issues.
The program identifies candidates from the applicant pool of the Ford-Mozilla Open Web Fellows program and the Ford Technology Fellows program, and matches them with US-based and international grantee organizations from the Media Democracy Fund and Ford Foundation Internet Freedom portfolios.
Supplemented by a matching grant from Ford/MDF, each selected host site creates a full-time staff position that lasts at least 12 months and provides participants with a salary, benefits, and professional development opportunities. We hope that, in some cases, these will become permanent staff positions.
The TX staffers work on a range of substantive projects at the leading edge of technology, policy, and social justice. Some examples include:
While TX staffers and host site supervisors organize the projects independently, MDF supports the Tech Exchange cohort through monthly conference calls and a dedicated staffer-only Slack channel. TX staffers use these networks to talk about their projects, solicit ideas, arrange meetings with each other, promote events and post job listings. MDF also organizes in-person convenings at at least one internet freedom-related conference a year, giving TX staffers a chance to meet each other face to face. Other opportunities to connect and convene TX staff with Open Web Fellows are pursued throughout the year, as funding and staff availability permit.
2019-2021 host sites (extended for 12 months because of COVID-19)
2018-19 host sites
2017-18 host sites
2016-17 host sites
2015-16 host sites
Does your organization want to apply to be a host site?
Organizations that complete Mozilla’s Open Web Fellows host site applications can opt-in to be considered for the Tech Exchange program at the time. In June, MDF and Ford review the host site applications, and invite about 20 organizations to apply for 10 host site spots for the next cohort. MDF selects host sites in July, and the organizations then interview their chosen applicants in August. Most staffers begin their year-long positions around November 1.
Contact Media Democracy Fund to learn more about the host site selection process.
Are you an individual who wants to apply to be a TX staffer?
Applications are accepted through Mozilla’s Open Web Fellows process (open March – April each year). We encourage you to sign up for Mozilla’s announcements to get alerts about future application windows.
PhDX: Talent for the 21st Century
In 2017, Media Democracy Fund launched a pilot for PhDX, a fellowship program designed to pair graduate or PhD level university students with a background in technology with DC-based public interest technology policy organizations for an immersive fellowship experience over two consecutive summers. This pilot project was made possible with support from Open Society Foundations as part of the NetGain initiative.
Through this program, the students enrich their graduate level computer science and tech policy interests by learning from and contributing to organizations working on the front lines of technology, policy and social justice.