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Project of social benefit award

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on May 19, 2011 12:48 PM
This award is given out annually. It was first awarded in 2005.

The Award for Projects of Social Benefit is presented to the project or team responsible for applying free software, or the ideas of the free software movement, in a project that intentionally and significantly benefits society in other aspects of life. Winners of the 2020 award were announced at LibrePlanet 2021. This year's winner will be announced at LibrePlanet 2022. Nominations for this year's award are now closed.

Since we mounted the award from the Free Software Foundation inside the door of our facility, no one comes in without stopping to look at that award and asking about it. Winning that award meant more to us than you may ever know. It's an honor that I, at times, feel beneath. I'm fortunate to know that others do not feel that way.

— Ken Starks, Reglue, winner of the 2014 Award for Projects of Social Benefit

We look to recognize projects or teams that encourage people to cooperate in freedom to accomplish social tasks. A long-term commitment to one's project (or the potential for a long-term commitment) is crucial to this end.

This award stresses the use of free software in the service of humanity. We have deliberately chosen this broad criterion so that many different areas of activity can be considered. However, one area that is not included is that of free software itself. Projects with a primary goal of promoting or advancing free software are not eligible for this award (we honor individuals working on those projects with our annual Award for the Advancement of Free Software).

We will consider any project or team that uses free software or its philosophy to address a goal important to society. To qualify, a project must use free software, produce free documentation, or use the idea of free software as defined in the Free Software Definition. Projects that promote or depend on the use of non-free software are not eligible for this award. Commercial projects are not excluded, but commercial success is not our scale for judging projects.

The 2020 award was accepted by CiviCRM, a free software tool for managing nonprofit contact databases. The award was presented by FSF executive director John Sullivan.

Previous winners have included CiviCRM, OpenStreetMap, Public Lab, the Freedom of the Press Foundation, the Library Freedom Project, Reglue, GNOME Outreach Program for Women, OpenMRS, GNU Health, Tor, the Internet Archive, Creative Commons, Groklaw, the Sahana project, and Wikipedia.

Let's Encrypt Watch the acceptance speech from Let's Encrypt at LibrePlanet 2020
Title Effective Date
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