Drupal Association members fund grants that make connections all over the world.
I'm one of the maintainers of Workbench and Workbench Moderation. Workbench Moderation, like ERS, Workflow, State Machine, Revisioning, Maestro, etc, provides tools for better content authoring.
I'd like to see one of these modules in Phoenix. A few weeks ago I started a g.d.o thread to discuss adding features to these modules and reducing duplication among them: http://groups.drupal.org/node/198188. We've been actively working on this at Palantir.net and will have a sprint tomorrow to continue on this front.