RealNetworks, the creator of internet media-streaming software (including RealPlayer, RealJukebox, and RealSystem), recently announced the creation of its RealNetworks Foundation. Beginning this year, the foundation plans to make grants to nonprofit organizations in three areas: (1) free speech and “alternative voices”; (2) broadened access to technology in underserved areas of the United States and around the world; and (3) philanthropic endeavors in geographic areas in which its employees live and work.

Though funds are not directly targeted toward school- and youth-related technology programs, Ellen Stearns, manager of the Real-Networks Charitable Giving Program, told STFB that the organization is open to “a wide range of proposals” and would welcome grant proposals from schools. RealNetworks has donated small numbers of its internet media software packages to public schools in the last few years, and the company may expand that program in the near future, Stearns added.

Individual, one-year grants will range from $1,000 to $75,000 each, and the foundation has no set limit on the number of grants it will make each year. The number will “depend on the funds available and the size of the projects we do decide to fund,” Stearns said.

The foundation is especially interested in proposals that use the internet creatively, and applicants must clearly identify how their projects would aid free speech, technology access, and/or serve its preferred geographic areas. For a list of these areas, visit the foundation’s web site (see link below).

To fund its new charitable programs, RealNetworks will donate five percent of its annual pretax income to the foundation. For 2001, the company estimates that its foundation will receive about $2 million, some of which will be reserved for operating expenses. Company officials say they expect the monetary amount of their five-percent figure to increase each year as the company grows.

Current preapplication deadlines are Feb. 1 and Aug. 1, and full proposals are due May 1 and Nov. 1. The foundation expects grantees to implement funds in the following calendar year. During the course of each grant year, the foundation will contact recipients to assess each project’s progress.

Additional details, as well as preapplication and proposal instructions, may be found at the foundation’s web site or by contacting Ellen Stearns, Program Manager, at RealNetworks Inc., 2601 Elliott Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121; phone (206) 892-6644, fax (206) 956-8249, eMail


RealNetworks Foundation