We hope you are doing as well as you can in these uncertain times. We’re checking in with exciting news about the Gathering for Open Science Hardware and a request for you to help shape its future direction on our path to make open science hardware ubiquitous by 2025.
First, the exciting news - we have two years of funding support!
As many of you are aware, GOSH events have been supported by the Alfred P Sloan Foundation since 2017 and we’re delighted to announce that the Foundation has now awarded GOSH $575k over two years to support not only Gatherings (or whatever that looks like in the post-COVID world) but activities to support advancing the GOSH Roadmap and provide a stable foundation on which the community can grow.
How will this work on a practical level?
Two things were required in order for the support to come to the community: financial stewards and an entity to administer the funds. Public Lab has previously been the GOSH fiscal sponsor but the time seemed right to establish an independent entity that could be governed by the community. GOSH has therefore been established as a 501c3 non-profit in the US, with Shannon and Jenny volunteering to deal with administration, legal paperwork, financial stewardship and grant reporting. A US organisation set up by existing grantholders with several years of connection to the Sloan Foundation was the only route to accepting the funding within a reasonable period of time but other entities may be established elsewhere in the future to support the work and community to grow.
Having a 501c3 also opens up new possibilities for the community, like fiscally sponsoring open hardware and related community projects, hosting community initiatives who need a legal entity, and more. See the FAQ below this post for more information.
Over to you, the GOSH Community
Now is the time to establish a community governance model for GOSH to ensure that decisions around the direction of the community, GOSH activities, the Gathering, and other aspects are in the community’s hands. We also need to ensure that the governance processes we put in place reflect our values as laid out in the GOSH Manifesto.
Who would be interested in shaping what the GOSH governance structure looks like?
We will be hosting a community call on June 16th at 10am EDT via Jitsi for all who want to join the conversation. If you can’t make it at that time, please respond on the forum with your ideas.
Sign up for the meeting here >> (sorry to give you an extra step but we are conscious of recent security problems with online meeting)
We’ve included some further Q&As below and look forward to hearing from you here and at the meeting. Stay safe!
Jenny and Shannon
What about the next GOSH event?
Due to COVID-19, it looks unlikely that a GOSH event can be held in 2020. There is funding in the grant for one global GOSH event between June 2020 and June 2022 but we should be creative in taking into account the scope for virtual events and the role they could play in the future of GOSH. A call for people to join the next global GOSH committee will be announced soon. Some of the 2018 committee will stay on for continuity (e.g. Julieta, Greg), others are stepping down (e.g. Jenny, Shannon, Francois, Fernan) in order to allow a new set of GOSH coordinators to step up!
Who will make decisions about the grant funding?
Where GOSH has money for activities involving a choice between different options or proposals e.g. supporting regional events, workshops, projects etc, this will be in the hands of the community through the processes that emerge from the governance conversation that is starting now. Decisions “within” event or project budgets e.g. who to support with travel sponsorship to GOSH 2021, would be in the hands of the organising committee as usual.
Shannon and Jenny signed the grant agreement with Sloan Foundation and are therefore responsible for financial oversight i.e. ensuring the money is spent legally and in line with all conditions of the funder.
What do you mean by fiscal sponsorship?
Fiscal sponsorship refers to the practice of non-profit organizations offering their legal and tax-exempt status to groups—typically projects—engaged in activities related to the sponsoring organization’s mission. For example, Public Lab accepted and administered funding for previous GOSH events because GOSH was aligned with their mission and did not have an entity or bank account so needed someone to take on that (risky and time-consuming) task. The new GOSH entity could now take on this role for community projects.