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Lacuna Fund began as a funder collaborative, but it has since evolved into a multi-stakeholder engagement composed of technical experts, thought leaders, local beneficiaries, and end users.

Guiding Principles

Guided by machine learning professionals worldwide, Lacuna Fund is designed for and by the communities it will serve. Our governance is a multi-tiered structure rooted in the following principles.

Lacuna Fund is committed to ensuring that labeled datasets created through its funding are accessible to and benefit underserved communities in service of the Fund’s goals. Datasets and related intellectual property will utilize appropriate open data licensing to maximize responsible downstream use. (See IP policy for additional details.) 

Lacuna Fund aims to make AI more equitable by creating datasets that are representative of the Global South and people of color globally and their needs. These datasets should not create or reinforce bias.

Lacuna Fund will fund data collection in a manner consistent with ethical labor standards and require subgrantees to outline steps they will take to protect privacy and prevent harm in the collection, licensing, and use of datasets created with grant funds. 

Lacuna Fund strives to meet the needs of affected stakeholders by involving local beneficiaries and end users in the governance of the project as well as in data creation. 

Data generated by funded efforts should be of high quality, enabling beneficial applications in research, communities, and industry. 

The Fund aims to unlock the advances offered by AI for poor and underserved communities by funding datasets that address fundamental gaps in AI.  

Steering Committee

Lacuna Fund is governed by a representative Steering Committee comprised of 5-9 members, with a balance of perspectives that serves the principles of Lacuna Fund. The committee provides strategic direction and oversight for the Fund, working to ensure the Fund’s focus, impact, and growth. 

Technical Advisory Panels

Domain-specific technical advisory panels (TAPs) provide technical guidance for the Fund, advising on the focus of requests for proposals within each domain area, selecting proposals, and distilling learnings from the funding process. 


Ranging from public-sector agencies to private philanthropies, our funders enable the Lacuna Fund to advance a vision of machine learning that serves the world more equitably. 





The Secretariat provides backbone support to the Fund as a whole, including managing the RFP process and distribution of funds. Meridian Institute serves as Secretariat for the Lacuna Fund.