The pandemic has caused economic hardships and upheaval in nearly every industry. Open source communities and contributors have been affected in a myriad of ways – whether it’s a loss of donations, the burden of nonrefundable travel expenses for canceled conferences, or severely diminished business and fundraising opportunities.
FOSS Responders is a working group of volunteers that aims to future-proof the open source infrastructure we rely on by helping sustain those who maintain the software. The group’s website allows those in need to apply for emergency funds. FOSS Responders is raising money on Open Collective and 100% of donations go to open source technologists in need. So far the group has an estimated annual budget of $8,145.05. Open Collective is also waiving its platform fees on COVID-19 solidarity collectives until the end of June.
On May 22, FOSS Responders plans to host a virtual funding event to provide financial support for organizations affected by the profound economic disruptions caused by the pandemic. Organizers have a $5,000 goal for ticket revenue from general event ticket sales.
In addition to providing emergency funds, the FOSS Responders group is aiming to address non-financial needs. Open source projects that relied heavily on events for fundraising need help amplifying their projects and recruiting volunteers. FOSS Responders is also creating a Resource Center for projects to find tips and tricks on how to manage fully virtual community interactions and events. Anyone with a skill or service to volunteer can receive in touch on the FOSS Responders website and the team will work as matchmakers to connect experts with projects that need help.