Re: Current state of Foundation finances

On 2014-04-13 02:20, Karen Sandler <karen gnome org> wrote:
On 2014-04-13 01:43, Stormy Peters wrote:
Don't we have reserves though? We should have 6 months of operating
expenses as reserves.

I should leave maybe this to Kat and other board members but I'm
recently enough gone that I can answer - the Foundation has adequate
reserves for GNOME's ordinary operations but not for OPW, and the
program has ramped up really quickly while the Foundation is still very

That is not correct according to: That section states "The Foundation does not have any cash reserves right now".

For a rough overview, the 30 participants in the round that just ended
required around $170k in expenditures, and that's the smaller of the two
rounds per year. The two most recent rounds together should have
approached $400k. So OPW only accepts interns with confirmed funding for
each intern but if there are delays in getting that funding it adds up
to a big burden for the org to bear.

By writing that the OPW "only accepts interns with confirmed funding", I would assume that you mean "has a contract with the sponsor where the sponsor agrees to pay on time, with appropriate penalties in place for late payment". However, as you then go on to say that delays in funding are a burden for the GNOME Foundation, that does not seem to be the case.

You mention an estimate of $400k as annual turnover for the OPW, which (according to the most-recently available annual report that I can find, the 2012 one at is very close to the turnover of the Foundation as a whole ($418k income and $409k expenditure). Those 2012 numbers include $106k of Women's Outreach expenses, so the turnover of non-OPW Foundation tasks seemed to be somewhere in the region of $300k.

Additionally, the 2012 annual report states that "The GNOME Foundation currently has approximately $274,000 in cash". Referring to my first point, if the Foundation now has no cash reserves I would assume that the current figure would be approaching zero.

Assuming that other items in the budget have remained the same (which is unlikely, but without a 2013 annual report the best information I have to go on), this means that the OPW has a greater turnover than the rest of the Foundation combined, and the unpaid invoices have reduced the Foundation's cash reserves by around $250k since 2012.

As the FAQ states, the board is
evaluating various solutions, including raising the admin fee already
charged and putting measures in place to assure earlier payments. I
think the program should also try to raise its own reserves, though this
is very difficult on a short term basis.

Given the popularity of the OPW, it would seem reasonable to expect a decent amount of financial support from sponsors. If this is difficult in the short term, what are the medium- and long-term plans to raise funding for the OPW in a way that does not negatively impact the traditional activities of the GNOME Foundation?

GNOME would never have been able to support the program to date without
the reserves it already had in place.

Those reserves no longer exist, according to the first point in the FAQ. How is it possible for the Foundation to continue fronting the costs of the OPW without those reserves?

Given that the budget of the OPW now dwarfs the rest of the GNOME Foundation, it seems that the Foundation is ill-equipped to support it in terms of both administrative effort and financial backing, unless major changes are made to the way that the OPW is funded and supported.


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