Our deepest thanks to everyone who contributed their resources to open source education, charity hackathons, WordPress meetups, and annual WordCamps in 2017. We’re so grateful for your work, and so proud of how these programs continue to grow!
In 2017, we set a goal of supporting the organizing of two “Introduction to Open Source” workshops in parts of the world with less participation in open source: Latin and South America, Africa, Oceania, and Asia*. This was accomplished with events in Mombasa, Kenya and Kanpur, India.
Daniel Joakim, lead organizer of the event, commented that this kind of workshop was a good fit for the Mombasa community because:
Currently, in Kenya and more specifically in Mombasa, the rate of unemployment is extremely high. Thousands of high school graduates normally don’t make it to the university or any higher learning institutions every passing year, so where do they end up? It is so sad, the majority get wasted on the beach and in the local clubs, this is a negative growth to the community.
Introducing open source software to these generations might be the solution to unemployment. The main agenda in mind for that event was to open up minds of the youths to seek other alternatives to tools that are readily available, and build amazing technology on top of these.
The WordPress Mombasa group was founded a little over a year ago, and currently has 168 members. Daniel said that organizing the workshop helped spread the word about the monthly user group, as well as educating the community about open source. Regarding the response of attendees to the information about open source shared in the workshop, Daniel said, “some of the attendees liked the fact of ease of use without the technical background of coding. Others found it to be handy in terms (of) speed in web design compared to other conventional methods we know.”
We love open-source and wanted to spread more knowledge about what open-source is, and why it’s important. We’ve been trying to take our workshops to colleges and schools to bring more awareness, and the [Introduction to] Open Source workshop allowed us to do this exactly.
In addition to presenting the material outlined in the lesson plans on WordPress.org, the Kanpur organizers included an open mic session. Hardeep commented that this allowed attendees to talk about anything they had coded and published open-source. “There was a guy who coded a pretty cool application using C++, and he was unsure how to release it, and open-source wasn’t his first choice, but we sat with him and explained him how it can benefit him and the community, and he decided to release it under GPL once it’s finished,” said Hardeep.
When asked about what part of the workshop particularly interested attendees, Hardeep responded, “When we talked about the freedom that open-source and Free Software gives you, a lot of people were interested, as well as when it came to privacy.”
Looking forward to more workshops in 2018
Based on the success of these two workshops, we hope to expand this program in the future, with a plan to sponsor at least four events in 2018. If you’re interested in organizing an event of this kind in your community, please keep an eye out for the next call for organizers, which will be posted early next year!
If you’re interested in helping the WordPress Foundation support open source education all over the world, please donate today!
*According to a recent study, the majority of Github participation in OSS projects is centered in North America and Western and Northern Europe.
When we were looking forward to 2017, one of our goals was to work with local WordPress communities to organize charity hackathons in order to help non-profits benefit from open source tools. We made sure to achieve this goal by bringing the do_action event series into our program.
do_action is a charity hackathon that uses WordPress to uplift local communities by having volunteers come together to build websites for non-profit organizations.
Over the course of the year, we supported four local communities in running do_action events – Johannesburg, Beirut, Cape Town and Montreal. Each event was very successful, resulting in a total of 122 volunteers building WordPress sites for 17 different non-profits organizations — with the financial and logistical support from the WordPress Foundation to make it all possible.
Here is a small selection of the sites that were created at these hackathons:
Along with their websites, the non-profits also received invaluable WordPress training, making these events educational as well as charitable.
We chatted to the organizers of the four events this year to get an idea of why they chose to do them, and how they feel about it all – they had some interesting insight into their events and the impact that the do_action events can have worldwide.
The Beirut event was held on July 8 — they had 30 volunteers attending and helped 3 organizations get online with WordPress.
The primary organizer for the Beirut event, Marina Pape, had a great team working with her to make it happen. She said that “do_action seemed a good fit as the tech scene in Beirut is pretty alive and there are a lot of NGOs doing great stuff, but needing websites.”
The event “went smoothly, with a great group of people. It met the goal of rallying the WordPress community, creating connections between WordPress developers, designers, and marketing people.”
Marina and the Beirut community are interested in organizing another event in the do_action series for 2018.
This was Cape Town’s fourth annual do_action event — this year they held the event on July 15 and had 70 volunteers working to build new WordPress websites for 9 organizations.
I was the lead organizer for the Cape Town event and we put the event together because we wanted to open our local WordPress community to the broader community of Cape Town and using our web-building skills for this just made sense — we, as a WordPress community, have all the skills needed to build a great online presence for anyone. Couple that with the fact that there is a lot of need amongst Cape Town non-profits for this kind of thing, and an event like this becomes the logical next step.
While it’s difficult to gauge the impact of a do_action event in its entirety, we’re confident that we met the goals for the day. The non-profits all left with great new websites along with training on how to use them effectively in order to grow their own causes — that’s the goal of this event.
Aside from the broader impact of the non-profits being more empowered to continue their good work, our WordPress community worked together in a way that we never have before — the impact of this on each of us as individuals and our community as a whole has been fantastic. We now have a greater awareness for organizations outside of our usual circle, and we have shown that we can use WordPress as a powerful tool to provide a dynamic platform for any non-profit organization.
Johannesburg held their event on February 4; 10 volunteers attended and they helped 1 charity with a new WordPress website.
Seagyn Davis, who was the lead organizer for the Johannesburg event, said that they “always love giving towards good causes and do_action is a great initiative that allows them to use the great skills found in the WordPress community to do something really great for someone who really needs it.”
When we asked about the possibility of doing do_action again in 2018, he said that “the people that were involved really loved it and would do it again” — they are in the process of recruiting an organizing team for the next event already.
Montreal hosted their event on October 14 — they had 28 volunteers coming together to build WordPress websites for 4 organizations.
The motivation behind the Sasha Endoh’s plans in leading the Montreal event, was that though her “business is focused on working with non-profit clients, there are many times when smaller organizations who do important work can’t quite afford to hire a professional team for their project.” She wanted to give back to the community “by giving support to these organizations and helping them have a greater impact.”
When asked after the event about what impact she felt the hackathon had on the broader community of Montreal, Sasha commented that, by assisting the organizations that took part, “we hope to have helped to bring more cultural events, create a community space, connect and support folks who’ve been through the foster (care) and adoption system, and put a dent in the abandoned animal problem in our city.”
“It was amazing to see so many different folks come together for a good cause — the organizing team is eager to go to work on the next event!”
The plan for 2018 is to continue promoting the do_action hackathons and supporting more communities that wish to organize them, around the world. There are already four events on the schedule for next year – three of which are in cities that have never hosted one before (Bristol, Pune and Zurich) along with one returning city (Cape Town) – and we fully expect at least another five communities to be organizing their own events over the course of the year too.
This year’s Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship recipient has been selected by members of the WordPress global community team. Over the past two years, Bianca Welds has worked with the local community to bring education around technology and help others achieve entrepreneurial success in the online space. Currently residing in Kingston, Jamaica, Welds is a new contributor and is ready to kickstart progress in her community.
You can read more about Bianca and what led her to this opportunity on the WordCamp US site. More information on the scholarship, including information on past recipients, is available here.
To further the WordPress Foundation’s charter to educate the public about WordPress and related open source software (OSS), we want to sponsor a new series of workshops/training events introducing people to open source.
Specifically, we want to shine more light on the potential of open source software in countries where there is less participation in OSS projects. To help spread the word about the potential that open source has to offer, we’d like to provide financial support for two educational events this year, to be organized in parts of the world with less participation in open source: Latin and South America, Africa, Oceania, and Asia*. Here’s what we have in mind:
Event title: Introduction to Open Source
Event description: What do people mean when they use the term Open Source when referring to software? This workshop will cover that question as well as what the GPL software license provides, why WordPress is an open-source project, and how this is important for both the users of WordPress and the contributors to WordPress.
Event purpose: Spread knowledge and understanding of the open web and open source through two-hour training events, staffed and organized by local communities, and financially supported by the WordPress Foundation, using training materials here: https://make.wordpress.org/training/handbook/user-lessons/what-is-open-source/ and https://make.wordpress.org/training/handbook/user-lessons/what-can-you-do-with-wordpress/
Financial support: up to $500 USD per event, available to defray costs associated with event venue, refreshments, and/or videography.
Expectations for organizers: Event should be free of cost, open to anyone, and organized/held in 2017. Strong preference will be given to organizers who are already members of a community group that is part of the WordPress open source project’s meetup chapter program, but has not yet organized a WordCamp. Organizers should not need to solicit additional event sponsorship. Financial support will be provided via Paypal or wire transfer, and will require documentation.
We’ve added information on the Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship, which provides funding annually for a woman who contributes to WordPress to attend WordCamp US, to our site. We’ll also announce the 2017 awardee here, when this year’s selection process is complete.
The Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship supports the mission of the WordPress Foundation to democratize publishing, supporting participation in open source by people who are historically underrepresented in the world of tech.
Financial reports from 2013, 2014, and 2015 are now posted and available. Later this year we’ll close the books on 2016 and share those as well. Part of our mission is to ensure free access to the software projects we support, which we do in many ways including educational events, financial support of non-profits, and charity hackathons.
Some highlights of our work in the past three years:
– In 2013 we had $848,925 in sponsorship donations funding 71 WordCamps, 40 of which were international.
– In 2014, the WordPress Foundation organized an experimental travel assistance program to remove financial barriers to attending the WordPress Community Summit at WordCamp San Francisco.
– The number of WordCamps outside the United States increased by 17% over the reported period ending with 47 events over the course of 2015.
Happy New Year! We are excited for a great 2017. This year the WordPress Foundation will continue to pursue our educational mission in a number of ways.
First, we plan to contribute financially to other non-profit organizations; we’ll be making major (to us) grants to Hack the Hood, Internet Archive, and Black Girls Code. Second, we’ll be working with local WordPress communities to organize charity hackathons, helping non-profits benefit from open source tools. Finally, we plan to promote education about open source in economically disadvantaged nations.
If you’re interested in how you can support the WordPress Foundation in these efforts — maybe you want to organize a charity hackathon in your community or volunteer to teach a free class about open source software — please drop us a line and tell us how you’d like to help.
The other major news from 2016 is the creation of the new subsidiary, WordPress Community Support, PBC. This entity will continue to support WordCamps and WordPress user groups across the world hand in hand with the volunteers who dedicate their time.
For more news and details, keep an eye on this blog!
Since January, we’ve been working on switching all operations related to official WordCamp and Meetup organizing to the new subsidiary of the WordPress Foundation, which is a public benefit corporation called WordPress Community Support, PBC (WPCS).
One of the main advantages to the change from the WordPress Foundation (a non-profit) to the WPCS (a public benefit corporation) is that the rules around sponsoring official WordPress events are much simpler. The WordPress Community team has updated sponsor rules to eliminate the barriers to value-add details on promotional items, while keeping rules that helped us form a trustworthy, community-focused sponsor program.
This also means that, by and large, the WordPress Foundation is no longer the financial entity for WordCamps and Meetups. Donations to the WordPress Foundation will still be accepted, and will support the Foundation’s charter to educate the public about WordPress and related open source software.
One of the few disadvantages to this switch is that WordCamps and meetup/user groups are no longer eligible for non-profit discounts. While this does present a problem for some groups, we think that the benefits we can provide outweigh the loss of the discounts for non-profit status.
WordPress Foundation currently holds a blanket insurance policy that covers all WordCamps in the US and Canada. WordPress Community Support, PBC is being added to that policy as a subsidiary, and we’ll be able to issue certificates with WPCS as the insured party, just like we did with the Foundation last year. All events using the WordPress Foundation name and info on their contract in 2016 will be covered by the blanket policy.
Large portions of this are excerpted from the post here, by Andrea Middleton.
Howdy! The WordPress Foundation filed taxes for 2012 recently, and we’d like to talk about how we pursued the Foundation’s charter to educate the public about WordPress and supported opportunities for people to get involved in web publishing and open source projects across the globe.
In 2012, the WordPress Foundation provided support and guidance for a total of 67 WordCamps, organized by volunteers in communities all over the world. There were 22 WordCamps in cities or countries that had never had a WordCamp before — exciting! The WordPress Foundation supported 43 WordCamps by acting as their legal and financial entity in 2012. Not only does this provide legal protection in case an organizer is sued, but it also makes it possible for anyone, no matter what their financial situation, to organize a WordCamp, and protects organizers from getting into tax trouble with their respective governments.
Of the Foundation’s total revenue, the majority related to WordCamps that used the WordPress Foundation as their financial entity (43 in all):
$345,020 — Corporate sponsorship donations to WordCamps (59% total revenue).
$228,132 — WordCamp ticket sales (39% total revenue).
$9,343 — Individual sponsorship donations to WordCamps (1.6% total revenue).
$3,298 — Donations unrelated to WordCamps (0.6% total revenue).
$528 — Royalty income (0.09% total revenue).
Total Foundation’s expenditures equalled $580,161, as detailed below:
$525,361 (91%) related to WordCamps that used the WordPress Foundation as their financial entity.
Unsurprisingly, major WordCamp expenses were concentrated in venue and food & beverage.
Percentage of total expense
Food & beverage, including after-parties and speaker events
Event tees and other swag*
Printing & signage
International WordCamp grants***
* Classified as advertising and promotion on tax documents.
** The WordPress Foundation occasionally provides travel scholarships to commit-level contributors who require assistance to travel to WordCamps and speak. Also, in 2012, the WordPress community organized its first Contributor Summit, which included approximately $20,000 of travel scholarships for attendees who could not afford to attend the summit otherwise.
*** The WordPress Foundation helped some 2012 WordCamps that didn’t use the Foundation as their financial entity by forwarding corporate sponsorship payments from companies unable to send them money directly.
The WordPress Foundation also supported the publishing of 431 videos from WordCamps held in 2012 to WordPress.tv by providing video camera kits to WordCamps. These kits include an HD camcorder, tripod, external microphone, SD cards, and a hard case for shipping. We covered the cost of shipping the video camera kits from WordCamp to WordCamp and added seven video camera kits to our collection: two new kits in the US (for a total of eight kits in the US), three in Canada, and two in the EU. 445 WordCamp videos were posted to WordPress.tv in 2012, almost double the number from 2011.
The total expenditure of this program was $32,741:
Video Kit Shipping: $6,526
Video Kits & A/V Equipment: $9,605
Video Processing or Videography: $16,610
Major Foundation operational expenses included:
Legal and accounting fees: $7,115
Paypal fees: $6,648
Meetup.com dues for WordPress meetups: $4,500
Banking fees (which allow us to execute international wire transfers): $2,341
We hope to publish 2013 data sometime in the first half of 2014. We’re so happy with the way the WordPress community is growing!