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Revision as of 09:47, 27 February 2012 by Robert (talk | contribs) (updated summary financial position)
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This page should answer two questions:

  • How much money does Sugar Labs currently have, where did it come from, and what is it being used for?
  • How can I ask for some of it?

(We hope you'll also help us figure out how to get more resources as well!)

The Oversight Board is currently responsible for the finances of Sugar Labs. This responsibility may be delegated to an individual at some later point.

Current finances

All figures are in USD. All figures for a month refer to transactions that occurred within that month (i.e. a month is only calculated at the end).

  • The Current Assets balance is accurate as of January 31, 2012 and is $19,830.84, held as follows:
    • $19,830.84 USD in a Vanguard Money Market account held by the Software Freedom Conservancy on behalf of Sugar Labs
  • The $19,830.84 USD is earmarked as follows (source):
    • $9,615.92 USD for Gould Grant
    • $1,600.00 USD has been ear-marked to purchase a server
    • $8,614.92 USD unrestricted (available for future grants)

Robert Fadel will be providing monthly income and expense details shortly.

Balance information is based on a ledger account reconciliation completed on February 24, 2012.

Where we get money from

Sugar Labs doesn't have much in the way of regular income, so we can't predict when new funding will come in. We've gotten funding from a few sources in the past:

  • Donations from private individuals (thank you!)
  • Grant money to develop certain aspects of Sugar Labs - this is typically earmarked for a specific project
  • Google Summer of Code - Sugar Labs gets $500 of unrestricted funds for each student mentored.

In particular, if you're interested in applying for an external grant to work on some aspect of Sugar Labs, let us know; we'd be happy to help.

Requesting budget

You may request budget for Sugar Labs related travel or project expenses. We can't fully fund every request, because we do operate on a limited budget. But we can't fund yours if we don't know you have a need -- so if you do, fill out a request and we'll get in touch with you about it.

You can see the list of all open requests and also the list of every request that's ever been made.

How to fill out a request

A request can be filled out in 10 minutes or less. We're trying to make this process as easy as possible!

  1. Open a new ticket in the Sugar Labs tracker. (You'll have to log into the tracker to do this.)
  2. Set the component to "fundingrequest." This is important. If the component is not set correctly, we will not see your ticket when we search for it!
  3. Answer the #What we need to know questions in the description field of your ticket.
  4. Once the ticket has been filed, Send an email to iaep (for transparency) and slobs (as the decision-making body) with the subject line "New Finance Request: <short summary of the item requested>," where <short summary of the item requested> is replaced by... well, a short summary of what you're asking for money for, and a link to the ticket in the body of your email. This is important. If you do not email both lists, nobody will know you've submitted a budget request!

At this point, you should wait to hear back from SLOBs. If nobody's responded to your request within a week, feel free to ping both mailing lists again.

Important Note: Bernie Innocenti has immediate permission to approve anybody's requests of $200 of less!

What we need to know

Each request ticket must contain answers to one of the following sets of questions, depending on the type of funding you're asking for.

For funding travel

If you're asking for funds to cover a trip, use this set of questions.

  1. Where are you going (location and event)?
  2. What do you need covered? (Please estimate the costs in USD: hotel $X, travel $Y)
  3. If we cannot provide a full subsidy, will a partial subsidy be helpful? (Yes/No)
    1. If Yes can you specify the minimum amount you would need covered to facilitate your attendance
  4. If you are requesting airfare, include complete flight information such as flight numbers, desired departure and arrival airports, and times. Also let us know if you have specific time restrictions.
  5. Do you need a visa or other official processing before you can travel? If so, approximately how long does that processing take?
  6. What will you accomplish by going on this trip? Please be as specific as possible, since this is the most important factor in granting requests.

The last question really is the most important, and will likely be the longest part of your answer. Tell us what you're going to accomplish by taking this trip. Preference is given to people who are attending an event with a goal to make Sugar Labs better, and a plan for doing it.

Simply "meeting with people" or "talking about ways to do something" are not specific to Sugar Labs. Ideas can be discussed on mailing lists, after all. And although meeting face to face is a wonderful thing, that doesn't necessarily result in getting anything done.

  • Not specific: Meet with other people from JKL Group.
  • Not specific: Improve communication between Team X and Team Y.
  • Specific: Write a working module for Web App Q that creates a service queue for Team X to do Task Z more efficiently.
  • Specific: Agree on and publish a complete plan, schedule, and milestones for Project W.

For purchasing things

Use this template if you're requesting the purchase of equipment, a subscription, etc.

  1. What is being purchased? If it's a product, link to the product, etc.
  2. Why does this purchase benefit the operations of Sugar Labs? What is the blocker it resolves?
  3. Who will be responsible for the item? Who will own it? How will it be tracked/maintained?
  4. How much will it cost? Are there any maintenance costs associated with the purchase? How often will it have to be renewed (if at all)?
  5. What other options were evaluated for purchase? Why did the chosen product/service/option get selected as the best one? What were the criteria or features you needed?
  6. What deadlines are associated with this request? Do you need an answer by a certain date? Would the funding need to come by a particular point in time? Note that approving future spending is a separate action from actually spending the money - for instance, we may agree to fund something but pay for it 3 months down the line - so it's good to know both dates, if they exist.
  7. Other notes?

How decisions are made

This section explains the criteria typically used to decide whether to subsidize the travel of a specific applicant. It's provided for context only - if you're requesting funding, you don't actually have to read this stuff!


  • Does this purchase/event deliver information that is pertinent to an ongoing project of concern at the event? For example, an event that includes a critical brainstorming session on deployment outreac could be more effective with the attendance of a teacher or engineer from a deployment.
  • Does the purchase/event provide an opportunity for this particular person to attract contribution to one or more areas in Sugar Labs? An event that attracts computer-based designers, for instance, might present an opportunity for a member of the Design team to attract new, skilled contributors.
  • Is the requesting person a current contributor? Current contributors with a proven history of involvement in some sense are a known quantity. This does not mean that sponsorship shouldn't go to new or potential contributors, but it is a factor for consideration.


  • (For travel only) Does this person have demonstrated skills in an area that will promote reaching the goals of the event? For example, if Sugar's speaking schedule at an event requires someone with expertise on packaging Activities for various Linux distributions, it would make sense to sponsor the travel of someone who could give those talks.
  • Are there clear deliverables attached to this purchase/event that otherwise cannot be achieved? Deliverables come in many forms, such as working code; completed documentation; or key decisions. For purchases, will the absence of the purchase block or negatively impact work that is already being done on the project? For events, if other contributors involved in the same area are expected to attend already, will this person's absence negatively impact their work at the event?
  • How important is this subsidy to the purchase/event? Without the full subsidy, will the item not be able to be purchased, or will the applicant not be able to attend the event at all? Will a partial subsidy suffice? Would a change in plans, such as attending part of the event, or getting a less full-featured item, still allow this person's goals to be achieved? Is Sugar Labs funding the only option available for this purchase?


  • Has this person provided substantial information about the specific objectives to achieve? We look at the proposal critically, because there are usually more requests than we can fill. The best requests tend to reflect clear vision from the applicants of exactly what they will achieve through this funding, and a link between that vision and the larger objectives of Sugar Labs or a specific team.
  • Are the objectives achievable within the time frame of the event/project? Sometimes it may not be possible to meet every objective despite best intentions and hard work. Nevertheless, sponsors should also carefully consider whether the deliverables can reasonably be finished by the end of the relevant time period. Setting and meeting reasonable expectations is a good habit for any project.


  • (For event travel only) Is this person located in the same region as the event? Regionally co-located people generally require less funding. It is not cost effective, for instance, to fund the travel of multiple people from North America to a European event. In specific cases there may be call for such subsidies, but in general regional events should reflect regional attendance and participation.


  • How expensive is the request? A higher subsidy amount should carry with it higher expectations, more criticality, or other benefits that justify the expense. Keep in mind that the transparent approval process creates better accountability for sponsors in making decisions.

This system is based on the Fedora community funding request system.

Archive of transactions

April 2011

Not known.

March 2011

Not known.

February 2011

Not known.

January 2011

End-of-month balance: $19,591.09

Net change since last month: -$1,679.08


Item From/To Income Expenses Notes
Gould Grant student developer salary Gould Grant student employee -$1,680.00 Not sure if we want to put names here, so I left that information out. Mchua
Interest from Vanguard account Vanguard $0.92
Total $0.92 -$1,680.00