Empowering individuals of the community – The board takes action

(Disclaimer: I’m speaking as a single director of the board, wording and specifics could be different than written here as this post has not been reviewed by the board.)

(Disclaimer 2: Some parts of this blog post were covered by Allan’s and Alexandre’s blog posts.)

This blog post is intended for GNOME Foundation members or people interested in part of our budget management. I have good news for you, the board has decided new policies to empower the individuals of our community!

Budget for individuals

For long the board have been the holder and decision making approval of all (big exception with travel committee) the GNOME foundation budget. Of course the community trusts the board to manage the budget as the board believes is better for GNOME, but the board thinks GNOME members doing important work for GNOME are also to be trusted, and we need to empower them however we can.

In order to achieve this, the board has approved a new policy. Now, individual GNOME members can be holders and managers of budget!

That means, as a single GNOME member you can be given an allocated amount of cash to be managed and spent in the way you believe is better to progress the goals of GNOME (after budget and goals are discussed and pre-approved with the board), and you will be able to spend this amount of money per year without need to discuss again with the board, or any other approval. That could include things like buying items or food for a meeting, promoting other individuals (a wild idea, for example to bring an expert to a workshop), promoting small events with marketing, etc.

A concrete example: You could mention to the board that you usually host workshops for newcomers and workshops for translators in your city. Then the board allocates 500$ per year to be managed by you for this purpose. You don’t need to discuss or pre-approve anything else, you are free to spend that budget yearly with that intention indefinitely, we will just look at the reports to see how things are going or do some meetings to sync with you.

I’m honestly excited imagining all the possibilities that this brings to members of GNOME, and how much that empowers the individuals of our community. Wanna know more? Read the budget policy for individuals.

Delegated decision making

We talked about budget management. But the board is also responsible of most of decision making at GNOME. Marketing, events, conferences, sponsorship, hardware requests, the software that defines GNOME, legal inquiries, and many more. However, we believe members of the community should be trusted to also take part of some high level decision making of GNOME.

We want the community to take leadership roles, influence where GNOME goes, and give them voice and decision making power. We want more integration with more people of the community. In short, we want members to take the role of the board in specific topics. A step closer to the board itself.

So the other big decision is that the board have agreed on expanding this concept, reach more community members and promote new roles to take upon. To achieve this we have started drafting new committees with new members, an approach to be more in touch with our current and new committees, and brainstorm a way to make easier for members of the community to apply for these roles.

This is still not set in stone and we are looking for other ways that are not necessarily committees, or to make some committees more flexible & easier, but I hope you are ready because we will write over the next weeks news about this and opportunities for being part of them!

Thanks the board and foundation employees

As a selfish last section, I want to thanks all the members of the board and employees. This wouldn’t be possible without their energy and tireless willingness. These discussions were part of our hackfest at Berlin; honestly, the hackfest was hard and draining, but it was productive and necessary. It was the first time in the history of the foundation that the budget was approved at the start of the fiscal year, so I’m proud of what we have achieved. Many more discussions, decisions and policies took place, you will heard about them over the next weeks.

Like what we did? Let us know!

Hope you like the work we have been doing, the policies and ideas we came up with to empower you as part of GNOME. I also hope you now have a grasp of what the board does and how it can impact our community.

If you have any question, let me know here, irc or by email, I’m looking forward to know what you think. You can also always contact the board at board@gnome.org, don’t be afraid of it, really!


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