Charity Hackathons: August 2020 Report

In September 2019, we shared about the progress of do_action charity hackathons for the year. We went on to work with 15 local communities to organize charity hackathons in 2019, which is a remarkable improvement over the 12 events from 2018.

2020 brought in some unexpected challenges for community organizers across the world due to COVID-19. By March 2020, the pandemic had spread out to most parts of the world, and hence many organizers were forced to make the difficult decision to cancel their planned in-person events. Despite these challenges, community organizers worldwide joined hands with a firm resolve to help charities by organizing online do_action events. As a result, we have seen three online do_action events in 2020 so far, with more events in the pipeline. 

Volunteers of do_action Japan doing a virtual wave.

In pre-COVID-19 times, do_action events were local – with volunteers and NGOs belonging to the respective cities. However, since online events are location-agnostic, organizers decided to experiment with larger do_action events that elicited participants spanning an entire country! The first of such events – do_action Japan – was a success! The event was followed by do_action South Africa in June and do_action India in August. Community organizers have embraced the online event format and are excited about the process.

As geographical restrictions had eased, community organizers went a step ahead and used the opportunity to help out charities located in far-flung areas. Instead of a single day event, local communities experimented with spreading out the event over multiple days or weeks. Organizers, volunteers, and charities also used tools such as Slack and Zoom to collaborate during the event.

A screenshot from a do_action India launch event.

The three events that have already taken place in 2020 saw 359 participants helping out 23 non-profits build their brand new websites. Volunteers also trained these Non-profits on how to use their websites after each event.

Here are some of the websites built at these do_action events:

More than strengthening these charities’ web presence, the websites help these charities in furthering their mission by assisting them to attract volunteers, teach courses, receive donations, and help more people. Our community members’ excellent work goes the extra mile in taking forward the mission and vision of these organizations.

Volunteers of do_action South Africa are helping non-profits learn how to use the WordPress block editor.

We live in challenging times, where the actions of a global community have the power to uplift others’ lives. Unfazed by the challenges of COVID-19, our communities have done stellar work to support charities that contribute to the greater good. As we move forward to the rest of 2020, we are excited to see what our communities do for even more non-profit organizations, and how the do_action program will grow and adapt to an online format!

Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship for WordCamp US 2020

MAY 8, 2020 UPDATE: Because WordCamp US 2020 will be online, we will not be issuing the scholarship this year.

The WordPress Foundation will once again offer the Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship. Kim was a valued and committed contributor to the WordPress open source project, and this is the WordPress Foundation’s way of honoring her memory. This scholarship will be awarded to one woman-identifying WordPress contributor who has never attended WordCamp US before, and requires financial assistance to attend.

The Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship provides travel assistance so that the recipient can attend WordCamp US, including travel from the recipient’s home city, hotel stay for the duration of the event, and a ticket to WordCamp US.  

To be considered, please apply no later than Friday, May 29, 2020 at 12 am Pacific.

For more details, please visit the WordPress Foundation’s About the Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship page

Click here to apply for the scholarship.

Charity Hackathons in 2018

A few months ago we reported on the progress of the do_action charity hackathon event series so far in 2018 — at that stage of the year, we had supported eight local communities to help them run their own do_action events. By the time the year came to a close, we had worked with a further four communities, making twelve total do_action events for 2018.

As the program grew through the second half of the year, the additional communities that had organised do_action events were Stuttgart, Beirut, Montreal, and Port Harcourt. Montreal and Beirut were both returning communities who held their do_action event for the second year in a row.

Continue reading Charity Hackathons in 2018

Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship for WordCamp US 2019

The WordPress Foundation is once again offering the Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship, a travel assistance program. Kim was a valued and committed contributor to the WordPress open source project, and this is the WordPress Foundation’s way of honoring her. This scholarship will be awarded to a woman-identifying WordPress contributor who has never attended WordCamp US before, and requires financial assistance to attend.

The Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship is awarded to one recipient every year, and covers travel to WordCamp US from the recipient’s home city, hotel stay for the duration of the event, and a ticket to WordCamp US.  

To be considered, please apply no later than Friday, May 31, 2019 at 12 am Pacific.

For more details, please visit the WordPress Foundation’s About the Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship page.


Click here to apply for the scholarship.

Successful Open Source Workshops in Mombasa and Kanpur

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.

Mombasa

The Introduction to Open Source workshop in Mombasa was held on September 23, 2017 at Swahili Pot Hub. Though only 10 people signed up online, 38 people attended.

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.”

Kanpur

The WordPress Kanpur user group held its Introduction to Open Source workshop on November 11, 2017 at Allenhouse Institute of Technology. Online sign-ups were counted at 44, but event attendance was estimated at 150-200. Hardeep Asrani, one of the organizers of the event along with Himanshu Awasthi, said that the Kanpur community was interested in organizing this workshop because:

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.

Call for Organizers: Introduction to Open Source

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.

Interested in organizing an event like this? Fill out this 10-question application!

We’ll close applications on August 21, and notify the successful applicants no later than September 8, 2017.

*According to a recent study, the majority of Github participation in OSS projects is centered in North America and Western and Northern Europe.

Looking forward to a great 2017

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!

Introducing WordPress Community Support, A Public Benefit Subsidiary

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.

WordPress Foundation: An End-of-Year Snapshot

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.
  • $32,741 (6%) related to WordPress.tv content production.
  • $22,059 (3%) related to operational expenses.

Unsurprisingly, major WordCamp expenses were concentrated in venue and food & beverage.

Expense

Percentage of total expense

Average

Food & beverage, including after-parties and speaker events $216,003 41% $4,214
Venue rental $150,347 29% $3,348
Event tees and other swag* $93,208 18% $2,163
Travel scholarships** $26,952 5% N/A
Printing & signage $19,276 4% $448
International WordCamp grants*** $7,054.47 1% $164
Furnishing rentals $6,390.79 1% $149
Insurance $5,280.98 1% $123

*  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!