Apply for the Innovation Grants to address internet connectivity gap and access: The BOLT Program

The Internet Society Foundation has launched a second round of grants to advance Internet access and connectivity around the world. Now in its second year, the The Building Opportunities/Leveraging Technologies (BOLT) grant program supports teams of creatives, technologists, and researchers to develop solutions to Internet connectivity, particularly among communities where current technologies are unavailable or inaccessible. US$200,000 grants will be awarded to organizations for projects lasting up to 12 months.  

“The Internet Society Foundation is committed to using our funding to address the challenges that prevent people from accessing the Internet, in line with our vision that the Internet is for everyone. With almost half of the world population still offline, these grants aim to bolster the development of imaginative and sustainable solutions that will promote greater Internet access and connectivity for communities around the world”, noted Sarah Armstrong, Executive Director of the Internet Society Foundation.

The BOLT program builds on the Internet Society Foundation’s commitment to support innovative solutions to Internet connectivity. Organizations currently implementing projects around the world through the program include: Digital Empowerment Foundation, Digital Harbor Foundation Inc., Fundación Sole Colombia and the Research and Education Network for Uganda (RENU).

BOLT is open for applications between 8 August and 2 September and the grantees will be announced in October. Applying teams must ensure that their lead organization is a legally registered 501(c)(3) or equivalent.  See grant details and application process.


The basic eligibility requirements for all Foundation grants are outlined here. Teams must ensure that their lead organization meets these basic requirements.

The Foundation seeks to fund teams housed in organizations that align with the Internet Society’s mission and its work for an open, globally connected, secure, and trustworthy Internet for everyone.

BOLT Program Objectives

  • Advance Internet development
  • Improve Internet access and connectivity around the world
  • Promote responsible innovation

Selection Criteria

Assembled teams/collectives will be asked in the online application form to:

  • Clearly articulate how the proposed project directly addresses the objectives of the BOLT program
  • Demonstrate their affiliation with an organization that is a 501(c)3 or equivalent

An Independent Program Review Committee (IPRC) will determine the success of eligible applications based on the following:

  • The proposed project effectively responds to a clearly identified need
  • The team demonstrates the necessary knowledge, experience and capacity required to successfully implement this project
  • The project team has identified relevant outcome indicators that demonstrate sufficient impact, relative to the funding level.


Grants of USD$200,000 will be awarded for 12-month projects. Read about the current BOLT projects.

How To Apply

Applicants are strongly encouraged to register their organization in the Foundation’s grants managements system prior to the application window opening. Please allow adequate time to prepare your registration submission as it will be closely reviewed by Foundation staff. 

Only applications submitted in the Foundation’s grants management system by the deadline will be considered for funding. We encourage you to submit your application early.

Incomplete applications or applications that do not meet eligibility requirements will not be considered (see “Eligibility” section above). 

Applicants will have the option to submit a portion of their application in written, visual, or audio form. Audio/visual submissions should be no longer than three minutes, and can be in any format. You may also consult this guidance on how to develop a strong application.Submit your application now

About The Internet Society Foundation:

The Internet Society Foundation was established in 2019 to support the positive difference the Internet can make to people everywhere. Guided by our vision of an Internet for Everyone, the Foundation champions ideas and enables communities to unlock the Internet’s potential to tackle the world’s evolving challenges. Focusing in five program areas, the Foundation awards grants to Internet Society Chapters as well as non-profit organizations and individuals dedicated to providing meaningful access to an open, globally connected, secure and trustworthy Internet for everyone.   

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