Microsoft's Free and Open Source Software Fund (FOSS Fund)
The Microsoft FOSS Fund provides a direct way for Microsoft engineers to participate in the nomination and selection process to help communities and projects they are passionate about.
A project of the Microsoft Open Source Programs Office, the FOSS Fund provides $10,000 sponsorships to open source projects as selected by Microsoft employees. To help drive an open contribution culture across Microsoft, employees are eligible to select projects for the fund when they participate in projects that are not governed by Microsoft.
Projects that are selected for the FOSS Fund receive $10,000 USD from Microsoft, selected by all the open source contributors from Microsoft who participate in selecting the project for that round.
- Fund #2: Project selected, sponsorship pending
- Fund #3: Eligibility period is currently open for Microsoft employees
About the FOSS Fund
Microsoft is proud to be participating in open source communities more than ever before, whether contributing to projects, releasing new open source projects, or using open source to make our products and services work better for the world and our customers.
While Microsoft and its many teams sponsor everything from open source conferences to contributing to foundations like the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and industry groups such as the Linux Foundation, we hope that the FOSS Fund can help to connect to a new set of projects that we may not have thought to fund in the past, providing real value to communities and projects that help power Microsoft products, services, and our customers.
How the fund works
Every month a new fund and selection process will provide $10,000 to an open source project, typically as $1,000 payments over 10 months. Any employee or intern at Microsoft can nominate a project, with a few requirements:
- the open source project must be used by Microsoft
- the project must have an OSI-approved open source license
- needs to have a way to receive funds that our procurement and legal teams are happy with (GitHub Sponsors is great!)
- the project cannot be owned by a Microsoft employee
Each funding period has a set eligibility date range. During that time, any Microsoft employee who contributes to an open source project on GitHub (creating a pull request to a project, submitting and discussing issues, performing a pull request review) will become eligible to be in the selection process.
After a selection is made, the Microsoft open source office works to fund the project, allowing the recipient to use the funds to best suit their project's needs.
How the nomination process works
The nomination process is open to all Microsoft employees and interns, and a curation group - the "Open Source Champs", helps to get each fund's nominees together. Some funding rounds may have a particular theme, and every funding round will have from 5-20 nominated projects or so.
If you are an open source maintainer, the best way to make sure you're eligible is to build a great community, an amazing project, use an OSI-approved license, be able to receive funds (sometimes this may require working with a foundation).
Resources for Microsoft employees:
- Learn about the fund and select a project in the current round: aka.ms/fossfund
- Review nomination criteria and other information: aka.ms/fossfundform
- Employee resources about open source at Microsoft: aka.ms/opensource
Other FOSS Funds
We're proud to have adopted the FOSS Fund model as created by the Indeed open source engineering group, and have learned a lot from others.
If you're interested in the experience that Indeed had, which inspired us to join in the effort, the post The FOSS Contributor Fund: Six Months In is a very good read. We know of other companies running similar projects, such as Salesforce, and really think this is another great funding avenue to help open communities collectively.