OVERVIEW: The Omidyar Network considers global development broadly and its efforts are centered on economic and political empowerment. Omidyar is also flexible in how it supports development, supporting both nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
IP TAKE: This can be a tough funder to access, but its major resources, wide interests, and flexibility in approach means plenty of possible opportunities for support.
PROFILE: The Omidyar Network is the brainchild of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife, Pam, a geneticist by training. The Omidyar Network, formerly the Omidyar Foundation, was founded in 1998 to help nonprofits empower people to create lasting change in their own lives. But, in 2004, more attuned to the role the private sector could play in changing things, the Omidyar Foundation became the Omidyar Network. It would continue its support of nonprofit entrepreneurship and development projects, but it would add private-sector investments to its portfolio. Omidyar supports both nonprofit and for-profit organizations based on the reasoning that no single sector of the economy has a monopoly on the ability to do good.
While Omidyar supports both nonprofit and for-profit portfolios, it tends to support nonprofits more. Omidyar's grantmaking focuses on five priority initiatives, outlined below:
- Consumer Internet and Mobile. Focuses on bridging resource gaps and empowering marginalized populations. Omidyar invests heavily in bringing telecommunications and access to those without it.
- Education. Seeks to increase education opportunities around the globe.
- Financial Inclusion. Centers on providing access to basic financial services to the poor.
- Governance and Civil Engagement. Seeks to strengthen relationships between people and their governments.
- Property Rights. Focuses on the identification and protection of property rights to help advance economic security.
This foundation likes catalytic projects likely to make profound and positive societal impacts. The Omidyar Network does not accept unsolicited proposals, but it does offer grantees a comprehensive list of what it looks for in projects: mission alignment, extent of impact, potential for scale, solid leadership, and innovation.
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