Ecosystem Support Program
We provide grants and other support for open source projects that strengthen Ethereum's foundations, with a particular focus on builder tools, infrastructure, research and public goods
up to 30K
a week ago
ESP Grants and Support Overview
Mission and Scope
As the public facing allocation arm of the Ethereum Foundation, ESP provides funding and other forms of support to eligible projects working to improve Ethereum. We focus on work that strengthens Ethereum's foundations and enables future builders, such as open source tooling, building blocks and libraries, research, community building, educational resources, open standards, infrastructure and protocol improvements.
ESP support is generally directed toward enabling builders rather than end-users: strengthening Ethereum's infrastructure, expanding the range of tools available to those building on Ethereum, gaining a deeper understanding of cryptographic primitives, and growing the builder ecosystem through education and community development. We're open to supporting work from people and teams of all kinds.
- Software and protocol developers
- Community organizers
- Other grant programs and public goods funding platforms
We don't often fund dapps or front-end platforms, although this is not a hard rule and there are exceptions - for example, where an application serves as a research or educational tool, or a reference implementation of a new standard.
ESP focuses on strengthening Ethereum's foundations and enabling future builders: improving infrastructure, expanding the range of tools available to those building on Ethereum, deepening our understanding of cryptographic primitives, and growing the builder ecosystem through education and community development. The work we support is open source, non-commercial and built for positive sum outcomes.
ESP support is generally directed toward enabling builders rather than end-users: strengthening Ethereum's infrastructure, expanding the range of tools available to those building on Ethereum, gaining a deeper understanding of cryptographic primitives, and growing the builder ecosystem through education and community development.
- Projects that strengthen Ethereum's infrastructure
- Developer tooling
- Research on cryptographic primitives
- Growing the builder ecosystem
- See more items or areas of interest on our wishlist
Not a Priority
- Financial products (e.g. trading, investment products)
- Token or investment-focused events
- Projects with a planned token launch and or raise
- NFT PFP projects, launches, and marketplaces
Who We Support
ESP funding is generally directed toward supporting builders rather than directly impacting end users. We don't often fund dapps or front-end platforms, although this is not a hard rule and there are exceptions - for example, where an application serves as a research or educational tool, or a reference implementation of a new standard.
Our grantees come from all over the world and represent many different backgrounds, disciplines and levels of experience. We have supported individuals and teams of all kinds - companies, DAOs, nonprofits, institutions, academics, developers, educators, community organizers and more.
How We Support
When we say "grants", we're referring to direct funding awarded following a formal application, review, and a decision made by the ESP team with input from technical advisors.
Grants are not donations, nor do we expect financial return. We give grants to support recipients in building things that are vital to Ethereum's success without the need to commercialize their work, so that these resources remain free and open to all.
There are several different ways we go about awarding funds:
- Small grants, capped at $30,000, are aimed at projects that are smaller in scope, more experimental, in early stages or have a shorter timeline.
- Project Grants undergo a more intensive process of review and feedback, with no hard limit on the size of the request. Larger grants often evolve significantly from the initial application, in collaboration with the ESP team. Project Grants are targeted toward projects with multiple phases or components, longer timelines, more complex needs and greater financial or operational overhead.
- Event sponsorships: we accept sponsorship requests for events focused on Ethereum's technology and community through our small grants program.
The “support” in Ecosystem Support Program can mean many different things. Although grants are narrowly defined, with some specific qualifying criteria and standardized processes, the other work we do is less clear-cut. The Ethereum Foundation has many valuable resources: visibility; access to a massive collective knowledge base; a creative and dedicated team; connections to leading developers, researchers and community members. Our goal is to deploy these resources as impactfully as we can. Office Hours are our primary channel for delivering a variety of non-financial support.
Examples of non-financial support
- Some of the most common forms of support we've provided in the past include:
- Feedback and guidance.
- Facilitating collaborations with other teams and individuals.
- Connections with mentors, advisors or others working in the same topic area.
- Information about events (hackathons, conferences, etc.) to meet the community, showcase work, and get feedback.
- Introductions to community members in the same geographical area.
- Platform access.
- Identifying other resources or funding opportunities.
This is not an exhaustive list - we are open to new ideas and take an individualized approach to every project we work with.
How to apply
There are several ways to request support from ESP. Choose an application type to see which one might be a fit for you and learn more about the process.
Before submitting (click the Join the Grant button on this page), please take time to understand the criteria and expectations for each type of application, as well as ESP's mission and scope in order to make sure you provide the appropriate information and context for us to make an informed decision on how to proceed with your application.
- Office Hours are a chance to connect directly with a member of the EF's Ecosystem Support team for support other than funding, including support with the process of submitting a grant application.
- Small grants, capped at $30,000, have a streamlined application and evaluation process to deliver a decision around two weeks after submission.
- Project Grants. Project grants have no specific funding cap, and undergo a more intensive process of review and potentially rescoping. Timelines vary widely depending on scope and complexity.