Improving the grant program (1) Grant Limit

Last year, Alberto, who ran the Grants Committee at that time, published this blog article to ask what we can do better. I read the comments repeatedly to think about our improvement options. In the next few entries, I will discuss what we did and what we will do to make the grants program more useful.

The first one is the removal of $3,000 limit (see #2 of the announcement).

From the comments made at Alberto's article:

I think the grant limit is an issue. I have projects I could submit, but I think they'd take too much of my time, and $3,000 just wouldn't cover it. Basically, I think I'd need to be able to take weeks or a months off of my job to get done what I'd like to do.

A smaller issue is the grant size - I did not have in mind grand plans like autarch, but I can easily see this being a month of work. $3k/month is rather limited.

Personally I don't think $3,000 is a small amount of money. But I understand $3,000 is not a big amount of money if you, those who live in most expensive cities in the world, compare it with your salary, rent or college tuition.

So the new limit is $10,000.

To answer some anticipated questions:

What kind of grants are worth $5,000, $8,000 or $10,000?

There is no simple answer but the amount should be determined based on the grant's impact to the Perl community and the advancement of Perl. It is always good to see the list of the completed grants to determine the amount. Better not to try to bring your salary into the equation.

How much money does the Grants Committee have?

We do not disclose the annual budget but you can get some feeling by reading the year end report. That said, 2013 was a quiet year for us:

  • Q1: No applications were received
  • Q2: Four applications received. 2 x $3,000 grants were approved
  • Q3: No qualified applications were received
  • Q4: CFP was not opened due to our internal, non-financial reasons

In the end however, don't think about the budget too much. Especially don't calculate your grant in relative scale using the budget. It is true that we cannot pay more than the budget but we can reevaluate the proposal when we get funding (see the rule 1.2 for the exact detail).

Q. I don't need $10,000. I even don't need $1,000. Is the grant program still useful for me?

We will need to discuss our marketing topic separately but grant program is not only about money. With the grant program, you can hire an experienced project manager for free who helps you to get it done. In addition, your project will get visibility through TPF.

One example: Joel Berger's Alien::Base grant proposal was $500. While the cash he got was not big, he got a grant manager who kept pushing him to deliver it (well, it was me). And his grant progress was published to the public through TPF and it gave him good visibility (and maybe some pressure). I hope the grant program was useful and enjoyable for Joel.

Q. How can I help?

Spread the word! Make the grant program known by more people. Well, let's discuss the marketing matter in another entry.

Speaking of $$$ help, you can make a one-time donation or you can use Amazon Smile so you can let Amazon make 0.5% donation every time you purchase merchandise. If your employer has a gift matching program, use that to make the impact bigger. The Perl Foundation is 501(3)(c) nonprofit organization in the US.

Another way to help is to apply for a grant! By having successful and quality grants, TPF will make a big impact. Think about it as an ecosystem; quality grants will trigger more donation from business and we can allocate more money on the grants.

Well, I wrote too much. I hope you are still reading this.

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About Makoto Nozaki

user-pic Secretary, The Perl Foundation.