Re: Can a foundation member have access to the sponsorship history?

Hello Germán,

> 2) Learn how the decisions are taken

This is a two fold decision.  The board approves funds, and the Travel
Committee "manages it".

For hackfests, the way it "has worked" as the event planner ask for a
budget to the board, the board approves it, and let the Travel Committee
knows the decision  in order to handle the forms.  Theoretically, the
board (or ED) would find sponsors for the hackfest.

("has worked" between quotation marks, if you read the minutes and
latest announcements, you will get an idea).

At that point, the decision was only taken by the board and the event
planner who decide who would attend to the hackfest. You can look at the
list of people asking for sponsorship for hackfests in:

And the process is documented here:

However, events like GNOME.Asia and GUADEC, the funds available are
smaller than requested. For example, if GNOME Foundation wanted to
sponsor whatever people asked for GUADEC 2014, it would need US$57,500;
but the funds available are US$42,900.  If we think we really need more
funds, we request it to the board, but we have to present a good case,
and... rarely we have gotten more funds.

Who gets priority then? Who are we going to sponsor? and to what extent?
which I think goes in line with, what I suppose, is your original
question: when and why somebody gets sponsored for X% and not Y%?

First at all, for travel fares, if we find cheaper fares and yet
reasonable trips, we will consider that ones as reference (it is
documented in the archives and the wiki page).

This is not black and white, and there are many cases to consider. The
higher priority will be for foundation members who are also speakers.

This does not mean full sponsorship. Because if, for example, everybody
makes an effort and can afford $200 out of what they need (or the
reference fare), with those bunch of $200, we can sponsor more people.

Foundation members requesting partial sponsorship (for example, only
accommodation), are likely to get accepted what they ask for, because
they are already making an effort. For airfares, still the reference
fare rules.

Non-foundation members who have been sponsored in the past, are likely
to be rejected, because they should have become foundation members (at
least there is a good explanation).

Interns (GSoC/OPW) are likely to receive only partial sponsorship.
Usually accommodation, and *maybe* part of the ticket (likely less than
50%). In the past, interns have counted with $500 for event stipends.
Unfortunately, not this year.

Non-foundation members, who are not interns nor speakers, have the lower
priority. If they get sponsored, likely accommodation and *maybe* part
of the ticket.

And people requesting sponsorship after the deadline, lower priority
(and again, considering if foundation, and any other explanation).

And still there are more cases, people who are students, or volunteers
who are taking vacations to attend. Or what happens if contributors
affiliated to a company request more funds (in total) than the amount
the company is sponsoring? And what if the company has divisions, and
they are not part of them? or even if they get no permission and are
taking holidays instead? If the budget is very tight, then: when was the
last time somebody was sponsored? was it full or partial? and so on.
What if they are also organizing a workshop or hackfest? Or if they are
board candidates and must attend to the meetings?

So, many of them are solved in a case-by-case basis.

It clarifies the most part of my doubts, but I still have a few.

What about volunteers? (for GUADEC and GNOME Asia, for instance)
May I request sponsorship to help people in another country/continent to produce a better event if I am a Foundation Member?
Can I do this without being a Foundation Member?

Does the sponsorship work only for GNOME "official events"?
For instance, in Brasil we have a conference called FISL (
Would be acceptable to ask Foundation's money to go there and present a talk about GNOME?
Even if I'm flying from another continent?
Would people from South America have a preference? 

What about balancing the number of people from one team going to a conference?
Does it happen nowadays?
Is it taking into consideration?
Does it should be?

> 3) Check if the values spent are okay

Here I am unsure what you are asking for.  I published summaries in the
past regarding to GUADEC, for example (Sorry for my English, it was
rustier than now):

If you are asking for details of how much we have sponsored per every
individual, it was decided at the very beginning to keep that
information private.  It was also part of the announcement (see the
links below):

    "Any information you send the TC will be private"

If we provide the names and numbers, there will be missing contextual
information to explain some things.  And this could refrain people of
requesting sponsorship. So, there is a trade-off between transparency
and privacy.

This is the thing that I don't understand.
Why people would not ask for sponsorship if the reasons are valid? I mean, the transparency should not influence in these cases, right?
IIRC, GNOME Foundation already asks people to do a blog post saying that they were sponsored by GNOME Foundation. So, what would be the problem to have a list of names, describing if the person is member or not of the Foundation and the motivation to help this person? (I'm not even talking about expose how much money they got from Foundation).
> Although I'm not the one who would like to dig into these data, I'd feel
> really more comfortable knowing that I can do this, if I'd like to.
> Does it make sense? Am I asking too much?

> Please, as I told before, I'm kind-of new here. So, If this discussion
> already happened in the past, please, point me some links and I'll be happy
> reading them and trying to understand why this process is not transparent
> for all the Foundation members. (Seriously, I'm not trying to put my finger
> in anyone's face about how the money is or should be spend. Just would love
> to understand how the process works)

The Travel Committee was proposed and discussed in 2009. You can see the
original proposal in the following link:

This was lengthly discussed, see for example the archives of February

And you can see a follow-up on March on a related topic ("Sponsoring

And the announcement in April:

Thanks for the links. I'll take a few hours during the weekend(s) and read them carefully.

> With my thoughts and my doubts, yesterday I approached the Treasurer (who
> is also member of the Travel Committee) and asked her about those things
> and I'd like to share my disappointment with the answers.
> [comments deleted]
> After that, I was told to raise it with the Foundation, and that's the
> motivation for my email :-)

I lack the context for the quotations here, but I assume people mean
well. If this started by asking for naming the people and the amount
funded, I explained it above.

Yeah, this is exactly what I've asked and I have to say your answers are way better than the previous ones :-)

Thanks for your answers, Germán!

Best Regards,
Fabiano Fidêncio

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