Donations - 2020

With the end of the year comes the time for donations :slight_smile: And this year, I thought it would be nice to give a chance to anyone interested to contribute to the list of recipient organizations.

Of course, there is a near infinite list of good causes or projects that would be worth helping, so the list is necessarily going to be incomplete. For OpenCraft’s contributions, I’ve so far focused on these aspects, but we can revise the list together:

  • Organizations with a proven track record of efficiency (ie independently proven high ratio of donation to effect - see https://www.givewell.org/)
  • Contributing to open source sustainability, in particular for projects/communities we use a lot
  • Education
  • Compensating negative effects from OpenCraft’s activities - specifically the CO2 emissions from flights to the conference/clients, as well as the energy use of datacenters

Here is the list of organizations that I’m considering for our financial contributions to this year - do you see anything important missing? Or better recipients?

I’m also looking into Tidelift, as a way to extend more broadly the support to extensions we use. The details are a bit fuzzy though, so I’ve booked a meeting with them.

NB: One that might be surprisingly absent from this list is edX / Open edX – this is because they already have a lot of very wealthy donors, as well as a good income stream, so any financial contribution from us would be a drop in the ocean. Our best way to contribute is through our code and work on the project - which then makes it, by very far, the top recipient :slight_smile:

10 Likes

I love seeing the PSF and DSF in that list :blue_heart:
If I had to pick one similar I might suggests the Free Software Foundation (FSF) who, as best I can tell, sponsors the whole family of GNU tools, mv, cp, Bash, Screen, GCC, just to name a few and countless other tools that enables every computer to be amazing. :sunglasses:

I cannot speak to the FSF’s track record of efficiency, I would understand if there are concerns about that organization, I am not 100% up to date on their policies and procedures.

Great to see Anki in this list! Well deserved for an underappreciated software. Also everything else on the list looks great! :+1:

I wonder what other small projects there are that we use a lot for free and take for granted?

They are highly transparent about how they use money and get very good scores. They already receive a lot in donations (specially after the $1M BTC in 2018) and now have>$3M in assets. A smaller one in comparison is FSF Europe which moves less money (finances) but is important to protect Europe’s legislation. And they’re tax-deductible in Germany. But I didn’t evaluate in detail how both of them use their money; what I know is they don’t waste it.

The CO2 ones are important. At least to compensate the bad contributions (pollution) until we find a long-term solution. As a remote company, we don’t pollute the planet much via transportation, but we do via electricity. I guess it’s not much but I didn’t calculate it. But yesterday and due to different reasons I was researching which companies produce most CO2 in Spain, and many of them are the companies that provide electricity to homes, so the electricity←→CO2 link is near and it’s easy to study. (They’re also improving).
Fighting deforestation is a challenge too.

Donations to software projects like Django or Python: I’m always afraid that they get so much that they start „innovating“ and rewriting everything and redesigning the language… (I think Python and Django are complete enough). But maybe they want money to spread the current software to more people, which would be only good.
I’ll have to check.

This seems important and could be displayed in OpenCraft’s website if they are on-topic.
However, „education“ is a broad word that contains many conflictive topics and per se isn’t a good thing. It all depends on the topic.

It looks like a service company (providing support for third-party software). If there’s „consideration“ it wouldn’t count as donation.


In any case, donating is hard. I want to learn more before having a solid opinion.


And by the way, this is a great initiative (letting many people comment or suggest the donations made by the company). Only, if run big-scale it can create conflicts when people want to support conflicting organizations (I know about a similar approach that started well and worked well but ended in politics).

1 Like

Thanks for the comments!

For the FSF, we have actually been a donor/member historically, but I’ve stopped it for a few reasons. First, they already have a lot of money, so I don’t think it would help much to add to that big reserve. Second, they haven’t done anything really impactful for quite a while… It’s good that they are around, and if they were in danger that would be different, but it feels like they have become a bit complacent, and I don’t want to encourage that. Last, and maybe most controversially, I was very disappointed with their handling of the controversy surrounding RMS and his resignation - for an organization meant to protect freedom, bowing to mob rule without consideration for the actual facts was disheartening.

Given the annual budgets they target, they really wouldn’t have enough funds to rewrite everything :slight_smile: This seem to be more for organization of events, advocacy, etc – ie yes, bringing more people to the project, bringing the community and volunteers together, and doing the minimum to run the foundation and its online services.

That’s fine - as far as I understand it, there aren’t a lot of incentives to have “pure” donations in Germany anyway – it requires to give to a non-profit implanted in Germany, and able to produce German tax receipts. So anything donated to structures outside Germany doesn’t count… And even in cases where it is the case, it merely allows to count the expense as an operating expense – which is also the case for anything the company expenses for its own operation …which would be the case of a “support” license, like Tidelift offers.

+1 to that question - if anyone thinks of any that also provides a way to donate to them, let me know, I’m happy to look into it.

2 Likes

I haven’t heard back from Tidelift yet, but looking at Github sponsors, they provide a way to quickly list all the projects that we use and could sponsor through them - likely based on the dependencies from our github repos (so that wouldn’t include code we host on gitlab, though). See:

So here is a survey based on that list - have a look, and see if you spot some projects worth contributing to? As an experiment, I’ll make us donate to any author from a project that has at least two votes, and the more votes for a given author’s project(s) the more we’ll donate :)

This is sorted using Github’s “most used” prioritization (the most used being shown first, which seem based on the number of our repos listing it), with some alterations to group the repos of prolific authors together. Feel free to pick as many as you would like, but focus projects you recognize and appreciate – and don’t feel like you have to review all the list in detail:

0 voters

(Split in two polls as discourse limits them to 100 options.)

0 voters

I have also found a few more projects that we depend on or might want to encourage, so I’m also starting a poll for them:

If you notice any project we should donate to that is missing (and allows donations), let me know too, with a link to their donation page.

3 Likes

If you notice any project we should donate to that is missing (and allows donations), let me know too, with a link to their donation page.

Probably “The OpenBSD Foundation”? OpenBSD’s development team maintains OpenSSH and other critical software, we use it on our every server. Donation page.

5 Likes

@demid Thanks for the addition! I can’t edit the polls now that others have voted, so instead I will use the number of likes on your post as votes :slight_smile: Same thing if others suggest new entries - if there is one entry the likes will be the votes, and with multiple entries create a poll similar to mine, public and which allows multiple votes, and closes at the end of the day on December 28th.

Yikes look at all those repeated usernames who are publishers of all those tiny, pervasive, pointless javascript/node libraries, who aren’t helping the horrible situation with the huge insecure node_modules dependency tree in every project… :confounded: I’d prefer if we didn’t support that. Remember the left-pad incident?

1 Like

Thank you for the votes and additional nominations! As planned, I have made the additional donations to the projects & authors from the polls. All projects with at least two votes should have received a donation, with the items with more votes getting more. It gives a final list of donated projects & authors for 2020, with the ones donated to more listed first:

  • GiveDirectly
  • Kiva
  • Atmosfair
  • Django Software Foundation
  • Python Software Foundation
  • encode / django-rest-framework
  • Freedom of the Press Foundation
  • Mozilla
  • Tor
  • Let’s Encrypt
  • EFF
  • OpenBSD Foundation
  • Foundation 22 Stars
  • nedbat / coveragedotpy
  • Internet Archive
  • OpenSSL
  • eslint
  • jpadilla / django-rest-framework-jwt
  • Babel
  • urllib3
  • OBS Studio
  • PostgreSQL
  • Vim
  • Anki

Let me know if there is anything surprising, wrong or missing in that list.

Happy new year :slight_smile:

12 Likes

Thank you for making these donations @antoviaque, and for your care in deciding where the money will do the most good. Yet another reason I’m proud to work for OpenCraft.

Happy New Year!

9 Likes