Funding for open source#

There are many funding opportunities earmarked for open source. For example, grants, development contracts, or donations that are targeted for open source work. 2i2c should seek this kind of funding, but we must do so in a way that aligns with our values and those of open communities.1

This page lists some guidelines and principles to follow. It is impossible to do everything perfectly each time, but these are best-practices that we should strive for.

Seek funding that aligns our values and strategy with the community#

Funding opportunities should be a clear opportunity to advance the interests of both the upstream community and 2i2c. Ensure that a funding opportunity has a clear value proposition for the community as well as for us. Point to specific community goals and documentation that helps us make this case, and ask community leaders if there are any doubts.

Seek funding that matches our capacity and goals#

We should feel comfortable seeking dedicated funding for open source, provided that it meets the following conditions:

  • It is targeted for one of our key communities.

  • It aligns with our technical strategy OR would provide crucial support to the community.

  • It aligns with our team’s skillsets, and would not require us to drop our team capacity in a way that would harm the team.

  • We have a plan for continuing (or discontinuing) employment after the funding ends.

Be transparent in our mission, strategy, and operations#

Regardless of a specific funding opportunity, we should make our mission, strategy, budgets, and operational activities transparent so that others can assess whether our interest in funding is realistic and matched to the goals of communities we work with.

Include others in funding opportunities#

If possible, find at least one other community member or organization to join us in applying for funding. Be generous in giving others access to our funding connections, particularly smaller or under-resourced organizations or people, and those that are from historically marginalized communities.

Find ways to compensate others for time#

When we have funding that requires receiving work in upstream communities, ask if there is a way that we can compensate others for their time. If possible, write this compensation into budgets so that we have funding earmarked for this work.

Dedicated funding means we work for the community#

When we get dedicated funding for an open source community, we act as a vehicle for the community’s interests. We should follow the strategy and goals of the community, and consider ourselves as answerable to a community’s needs. If it pays for a significant amount of one person’s time, treat it as a temporary organization transfer2.

Carry out work in community spaces#

Any community-focused work should happen in community spaces, not 2i2c spaces. Our plans and ongoing activity must be easily discoverable and accessible to community members, and must be kept up-to-date.

Ask others to assess our work#

Provide non-2i2c community members the ability to provide feedback about how we are doing and whether we’ve lived up to our expectations regarding a funding opportunity. Conduct self-assessments and post these publicly for others to see.

Be realistic about how much work this takes#

Finally, we should be realistic that doing things inclusively and in the open almost always means that it will take more resoures and time to accomplish. Think about the ways in which 2i2c will have to contribute in order to get something done (e.g. strategy, management and oversight, reviews and support, etc). Make sure that we do not accidentally over-commit or obscure hidden work we’ll need to contribute as part of a funding opportunity.


See this blog post on principles for open source for a brainstorm on this topic.


For example, secondments are a process where one organization “loans” a person to another.