Launched in 2020, The Microgrants and Small Project Support program is designed to support digital security and privacy education and software development through low overhead financial support to organizations and individuals working on projects that support the Calyx Institute's mission. We accept applications for our themed funds subject to certain restrictions detailed in the call for proposal pages. General grants and the Sepal Fund are currently by invitation only.
This program is currently supporting the following projects and organizations. A list of previously funded projects can be found here
Digital Fourth is a Massachusetts-based nonprofit focusing on advocacy around privacy and surveillance issues. With funding from Calyx, they are developing curricula to be used in Massachusetts high school Government classes, which will teach students about the Fourth Amendment and its implications for cell phone surveillance and school-monitoring. This will bring to light what mechanisms are in place to protect student privacy, what, if any, information is being shared with law enforcement, how long student data is maintained, and how consent is or is not requested for the use of the monitoring technology.
Caroline Sinders is an artist and researcher who works within the intersections of public good, civil society and technology. Through funding from Calyx to Superbloom, Sinders is researching the extent of surveillance and smart city technologies across cities in the Deep South, such as Mobile, Alabama; Birmingham, Alabama; Houston, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; Jackson, Mississippi. Mid-sized cities in the American South are under-reported within the United States on a national journalism level, but these cities are the ones that become surveillance testing grounds against communities of color. From the information gathered through qualitative interviews with community organizers, tech and criminal justice journalists, criminal justice advocates, civil servants, city officials, and technology researchers in these cities, Sinders will produce reports that can be used both by local communities, and on a national scale.
Restore the Fourth Minnesota is a grassroots organization dedicated to restoring the protections of the Fourth Amendment and ending mass government surveillance. With funding from Calyx, they are researching the use of surveillance technology in Minnesota. Through their research, they will compile and publish a resource which lists which Minnesota government entities have used what kinds of surveillance technologies, including a timeline of adaption, data on Use Policies, how polices compare baselines set by state law, permissiveness of the policy, enforcement mechanisms, and amount of oversight and public participation in policy-crafting process.
Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoSecrets) is a non-profit that exists to enable the free transmission of data in the public interest, promote and support journalism, freedom of speech and government and corporate accountability. They engage in outreach, education, advocacy, and other work primarily through our collaborative index of datasets. This grant supports infrastructure costs, including hosting, web development, and seeding capabilities for the nearly 50 TB of data in DDoSecret’s archive. We are currently providing financial support to DDoSecrets through our Sepal Fund.
Team CommUNITY, a program of ARTICLE 19 offers a variety of in-demand services to the International digital rights community, which is made up of open-source technologists, frontline human rights defenders, and researchers. Calyx Institute support provided interim funding for Team CommUNITY to offer critical programming and training and continue important conversations during a time that individuals are unable to gather in person.
The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project (AEMP) is a volunteer-run housing justice collective using data visualization, critical cartography, and community organizing to fight dispossession and evictions upon gentrifying landscapes in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City. In collaboration with other local organizations, the AEMP launched Landlord Tech Watch as a platform for information on harms associated with landlord technology. Our funding supports the research and writing of two reports on landlord tech harms in San Francisco and New York City - both epicenters of proptech development and deployment. These reports will hopefully empower tenants and serve coalition, policy, and housing justice work in the fight against landlord tech abuse.
Theorem Media, an educational 501(c)(3) nonprofit, builds coalitions and advisory boards of the very best and brightest from across dozens of disciplines that share a passion for making complex issues not only accessible, but also entertaining. Theorem Media creates and distributes digital first content using multiple formats and channels. Through funding from Calyx, they are creating a handful of short videos, created by widely-known, funny social media personalities, covering some fundamentals of how the internet works: focusing heavily on protecting users' privacy and security. By producing a few super-short, entertaining, spreadable explainer videos, this will give millions of people a better grasp on these fundamental concepts, and give them “tools to think with” as they encounter breaking news about security and privacy threats. Viewers will come away from these videos with more confidence in their ability to protect their online privacy and security on mobile telecommunications services and the importance of privacy-protecting tools.
LEAP Encryption Access Project is a nonprofit organization that develops the LEAP VPN, an open-source virtual private network platform designed for ease of use and developed for utility within censored environments. They work with service providers including the Calyx Institute to build and brand their VPN service. LEAP VPN is the shared code base for Bitmask, CalyxVPN, RiseupVPN, SurVPN and more. As the number of users has increased rapidly in the past year, this grant will enable them to improve UX, work on user-requested feature development and contribute to the overall maintenance of their servers.