Open Collective
Open Collective

Collective pending approval.

Awaiting approval from Open Collective Foundation.

Trust Fund

Trust Fund is the member-governed treasury of Trust, a hybrid community of 400. Funds will go towards members' creative, technical and critical projects, with a focus on play, research, civic tech, and solidarity economics.


Trust Fund is all of us

Our contributors 2

Thank you for supporting Trust Fund.


Trust Fund is the member-governed treasury of Trust, a decentralized collective and extended network based in Berlin and online, focused on multidisciplinary research and practice to unlock horizons beyond catastrophe. Trust is a network of utopian conspirators, a sandbox for their creative, technical and critical projects, and a site of experimentation for new ways of learning together.

Last year, Trust completed a year-long series of experiments around the design of Trust Fund, testing different aspects of collective decision-making within the Trust community, such as voting, curation, and grant allocation. The goal was to develop protocols that fit and make sense in the context of Trust and implement a decentralized and participatory approach to resource distribution, public programming, and publishing. With an initial donation of around $50,000, Trust plans to offer two mini-grants per month of $1000 each, decided by an elected board via a quadratic vote. Trust will share its learnings in a knowledge-base so that other communities can replicate its process.

Trust Fund aims to elevate community members who are frequently marginalized in spaces of research and practice, providing them with a stake in the project. The project builds on insights developed through a working group hosted with Black Swan in January 2021 in the Trust Discord, in which nine members tested different governance mechanisms to allocate funds toward collective projects. Trust learned that members appreciated the nuance afforded by Quadratic Voting and discovered the importance of community facilitation to enable the exchange of value, resources, and skills.

The Trust Discord is a productive community space where members can get involved at different levels, from joining a reading group to sharing their work for feedback, to joining a project team. The Discord channels are based on themes around trust, and members can also start their channels in more loose categories. Trust also hosts synchronous and asynchronous events, such as Reading Group and Sandbox, to build a shared language and set of ideas that continue to be developed over time. In addition to these events, Trust members also engage in educational activities such as lectures and workshops.

Shared infrastructure is Trust's way of talking about the things that act as substrates for the Trust network and for members to have meaningful, productive, or stimulating encounters with each other and research or create together. Trust emphasizes maintenance rather than simply creation, recognizing the importance of sustaining these infrastructures over the long term. The core team of Trust is made up of "maintainers," caring for and tending to the shared infrastructure to ensure its sustainability. Trust is developing insights about building infrastructures that are accessible to people who might not have the technical or financial resources to participate. Many of the tools Trust needed to think, play, and be together online either didn't exist, are inaccessibly designed, or rely on extractive platform economics, so Trust began prototyping its own, such as Millieu, Moving Castles, and Black Swan's Cygnet. Trust is also considering ways to structure collective assets and infrastructures, respecting the importance of curation and care.

Recent projects by Trust members include the Discord bot Bubble, which allows online communities to post directly to social media when comments reach a threshold of emoji, and Black Swan's consensus-building tool Cygnet, which formed out of a collaboration between Trust members and continues to be tested and developed within Trust and other communities.

Our team