I have posted a formal version of the Grants Committee 2014 report.
Here is another, a bit less formal and more personal version.
Here I am
I took over the position of the Grants Committee secretary at the beginning of this year. I wanted to try a lot of things, some of which went great, but others were challenging.
- Daisuke Maki joined the committee as the first voting member from Japan. Perl community in Japan is often "invisible" and TPF is invisible in Japan due to the language barrier and he has been working hard to increase the visibility.
- Mark Jensen joined us as a grant manager. I am sure a number of you enjoy his grant updates already. Behind the scene, he spends good amount of time to help the grants run smoothly.
Grant rules change
- The grant evaluation is conducted every 2 months. It was quarterly until 2013.
- The grant limit was raised from $3,000 to $10,000.
Can't be a bad thing.
Challenge 1: Marketing
Our favorite topic. The grant program has to be more known. Our committee people tweeted and blogged. I spoke about the grant program in my local Perl Mongers meeting. The program was mentioned in multiple talks in YAPC. You may have seen our Google ads which I have been testing. But marketing is never enough.
Challenge 2: $$$
The grant program isn't possible without our sponsors. As the Grants Committee, one of the best ways to give back the value to the sponsors is to deliver grants successfully to advance the Perl language. We need to have more successful grants, which will lead to the sponsors' satisfaction and, in the long run, more sponsorship and more grants will be possible.
The Grants Committee evaluates grant proposals every two months (rules 1.1). We accept grant proposals all the time, and in this round, we will evaluate proposals which we get between July 15th till September 14th. I will post a CFP tomorrow, September 1st my time, on the TPF news.
Some readers may remember that I discussed the budget in July. Let me be clear; the grant limit is still $10,000 as announced in February.
Read on if you are interested on our budget.
As we funded $6,000 grant in the July round, the allocatable money we have for 2014 is $5,200.
At the same time, let me stress the basic rule for the grant application: Don't try to calculate your proposal based on the budget we have. While the budget is one factor, ultimately your grant value should not be influenced by the budget we have.
For example, if you think your grant is worth $8,000, submit a proposal with $8,000. Don't lower it just because of our remaining budget. The committee's initial decision whether to fund the grant will not be influenced by the remaining budget either.
It is true that we need to handle the situation differently if we want to fund more than we are allowed; but we will do our best to make it our issue, not grantee's issue.
Want to see how we will deal with this? Submit a proposal and see :)
We have received two proposals for this round. Take a look and give them feedback. Your input is important for us to determine how to use the community money.
If you have a grant idea but missed this round, you can still submit a proposal now. We will review them in the Septermber round.
I don't know the Grants Committee ever published the annual budget. I see reasons to do so and not to do, but let's do it. Transparency is a good thing.
Conclusion first. The Grants Committee's budget for 2014 is $16,000.
Here is how it works.
Rule #1: The committee evaluates and funds grants every two months. At the point of funding, the money is "spent".
Suppose you submit a grant proposal of $3,000. Your proposal is great, the community feedback is all positive, and your grant is funded. At this point, we have spent the money; it's like putting the $3000 in a special envelope that has your name on it. The money is still in the TPF safe but it is reserved for you.
Rule #2: We are out of the money when all the money is spent for the year.
Suppose our budget was $9,000. If we funded three grants each of which is worth $3000, we would be done for the year. No more grants would be funded even if these grants were still running. We would not have CFP in this scenario.
Rule #3: Grant cancellation brings the money back.
Grants are cancelled at times. We open the "envelope" and put the money back into the allocatable pool. We are back in business and resume the CFP process.
Where we are right now
We have two running grants which are worth $4,800 in total, so we have $11,200 allocatable for the rest of the calendar year 2014.
Note that the committee is not obliged to use all the money. On the other hand, the committee may choose to use all the money early.
When you apply, therefore, don't try to calculate your proposal based on the budget we have. For instance, it would be a mistake if you define your grant as $11,200 / 3 just because there are three remaining rounds. While the budget is one factor, ultimately your grant value should not be influenced by the budget we have.