Grantmaking Categories & Goals (2024)

ARDC’s roots are in amateur radio and the technology of wireless digital communication. We remain deeply committed to the further improvement and advancement of both. We are also committed to open access to technical information and enabling individual technical experimentation, as both have often led to broad advances for the benefit of the general public.


Our grantmaking goals follow in the footsteps of this philosophy, and fall into three main categories:


Additionally, we look for grants that further the following aspirational goals:

  • Broad reach. Our best grants will benefit the widest community possible. We want to see that your grant will not only benefit your organization or community, but may also be cheaply replicated more broadly throughout society.
  • Social over commercial benefit. As a private foundation, we hold an important role in the fabric of our economy: providing funds to projects that benefit society but may not have a viable business model or that require an alternative organizational structure. We prioritize giving to such organizations and projects over commercially-driven ones.
  • Inclusion of underrepresented groups. Both amateur radio and digital communications technology have been historically male-dominated fields. In the United States and other western countries, the majority of those males are white. ARDC aims to make grants that broaden the demographics of these arenas and is keenly interested in grant proposals that aspire to do so.
  • Empowerment of individuals, and distribution rather than centralization. Innovation by individuals and a community mindset are both at the heart of amateur radio. They are also core to our mission at ARDC. We prioritize projects that empower individuals and small organizations. ARDC-funded projects enable and encourage public distribution – rather than centralization – of tools, knowledge, and access.
  • Preservation of the right to innovate, despite oligopolies and corrupt governments that restrict innovation to protect the status quo, feed advantages to their cronies, or keep the current winners in privileged positions.

Open Access Requirement

Because ARDC works with and for the public, we require that the work of the projects we fund be freely available to everyone who can benefit and to everyone who can contribute. Thus all technology, documentation, and other materials produced using ARDC funds must be made freely available to the public.

For software, we highly encourage releasing it under an Open Source Initiative (OSI)-approved license. For documents, audio, and video, we recommend releasing them under the Free Culture subset of the Creative Commons licenses, including CC-BY, CC-BY-SA, or CC0.

Apply for a Grant

If you have a project you think fits into the above goals, check to see if you are currently eligible and, if so, please apply for a grant. If you have questions about any of these goals, reach out to us at: Your thoughts and feedback are welcome any time for this living, breathing document.