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Lacuna Fund

To unlock the benefits of AI for all, Meridian facilitates and manages Lacuna Fund, an innovative funder collaborative that puts resources directly into the hands of changemakers in low- and middle-income contexts globally.

Artificial intelligence (AI) can improve healthcare outcomes, increase food sovereignty, and enable access to digital services for millions around the globe. But in low- and middle-income contexts globally, a lack of representative data puts the benefits of AI out of reach for many vulnerable and underserved populations.

To unlock the benefits of AI for all, Meridian, along with funders and partners, launched Lacuna Fund—the world’s first collaborative effort to fund open datasets for social impact. Through open calls for proposals, the Fund provides data scientists, researchers, and social entrepreneurs with the resources they need to label, create, expand, and maintain open datasets that address urgent problems in their communities.

Lacuna Fund proactively embeds Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) in its governance and decision-making processes: the Fund’s Steering Committee is composed of technical experts, thought leaders, local beneficiaries, and end users, with a focus on geographic, gender, and sector diversity. The Steering Committee prioritizes both increasing equity in the larger field of AI for social good and fueling meaningful on-the-ground impact for communities. Technical Advisory Panels—groups that recommend proposals for funding—are made up of experts across relevant domains, with a focus on representation from geographies where funding is disbursed.

Taking a people-centered approach, Lacuna Fund puts resources directly into the hands of leaders in affected areas and ensures solutions are developed locally and grounded in community priorities. Lacuna’s open funding processes give agency for communities to define their needs and harness local capabilities to solve them. By helping build the capacity of local organizations to be data collectors, curators, and owners, the Fund empowers changemakers with the data resources they need to fill data gaps, reduce bias, uncover new insights, embrace innovative solutions, and ultimately fuel systemic change.

Read Lacuna Fund’s Guiding Principles here.

A group of Meridian fellows, three women and two men, gather around large post-it papers in a boardroom. They are engaged in discussion.

Our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Principles

As we pursue our mission, we aim to center Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion within Meridian and in our projects. Learn more about our JEDI Principles here.