IPython receives support from, government, corporate, and not for profit sources, listing supporters prominently on a Sponsors Page. According to the sponsors page, the largest supporter of IPython is the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which awarded IPython a $1.15 million grant in December, 2012. The grant funds a number of specific objectives for the IPython software and supports three full time developers, two 3/4 time principal investigators, and two 1/2 time researchers. Additionally, the grant funds two development sprints per year at UC Berkeley. IPython also received a $100,000 grant recently from Microsoft and cites Rackspace as a provider of free hosting for the IPython Notebook Viewer. Previously, IPython received support for full time developers from the U.S. Department of Defense High Performance Computing Modernization Program.
Sloan Grant and Collaboration
While organizations often get one-off sponsorship for events such as meet ups or hackathons, it is interesting that the Sloan Foundation's grant specifically supports two development sprints per year at UC Berkeley. Looking at IPython's developer documentation on Github, these developer sprints have become a key core contributor meeting, where the development roadmap for a future release is determined. This clearly shows a relationship between the Sloan Grant and the cooperative dynamics of the community. It could also be argued that going forward, the completion of this grant and potential loss of support for these community meetings after 2014 could adversely affect the IPython community.
IPython has a clear role in the Python scientific software community as a member of NumFOCUS. NumFOUCS stands for "NumPy Foundation for Open Code for Usable Science" and other member projects include NumPy, SciPy, Matplotlib, SymPy, Cython, pandas, PyTables, scikit-image, and scikit-learn. As an umbrella non-profit, "NumFOCUS provides a critical service as an umbrella organization which removes the burden from the projects themselves to raise money." This is likely very useful for IPython, allowing the core contributors and leadership to focus on development work and not administrative tasks related to managing a non-profit.