Live Update List of Haskell Foundation Funding

It would be great if the Haskell Foundation website had a (ideally live-updated) list of corporate and non-corporate donors/donations, maybe with a chance to leave a comment along with the donation. Individuals should be allowed to remain anonymous of course.

Also it would be encouraging/exciting to see running totals of donations as well.

It would be encouraging to see it all adding up to something. Conversely, it feels a little anti-climactic to not see any sign of an individual donation acknowledged on the web site.

Not having this could raise questions of transparency as well.

(sorry if I’m not aware of something here)

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For corporate the HF already does a monthly update (“levels” being explained here).

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Yes, this is true and also corporate sponsor logos are currently shown on the main pages of the Haskell Foundation website, which is really great! Also, the corporate donation categories are shown on the Foundation’s website.

Ideally, for me, all of that info that you linked to regarding corporate sponsors would be on the Foundation’s website (some of it is already there) rather than in the discussion forum, and with even more detail. I would go further by showing the precise amounts of the corporate donations. Ideally, for me, that data would be publicly logged along with real-time logging of the donations of private individuals (on the Foundation’s website).

I’ve also wished for some (suitably anonymized) data on the number of individual contributors and the total support the foundation receives from individual donations.

As one of the individual contributors, I felt that the forms of recognition the Haskell Foundation currently offers were not of interest to me as an individual. I feel it would be embarrassing to have my name alongside all those company logos on the Haskell Foundation website. But I do think that it would be nice to have a note of acknowledgement for the Foundation’s individual sponsors as well, rather than implying that the entirety of the Foundation’s support comes from business. (I know that not to be true.) Whether individual sponsors are named isn’t something I particularly care about; as a sponsor, I wouldn’t mind being named, but I also wouldn’t look for it.

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Hi everyone, thank you for this feedback! I absolutely agree that more transparency in our financials is a great idea, and in that spirit I’m going to summarize where we’re at right now, and how we’re thinking about next year’s budget.

2021

Emily and I started full time on Feb 22nd, 2021. At that point the wonderful people who got the Foundation up and running had raised $327,0000. That fundraising success gave the Interim Board confidence that bringing on two people full time was financially reasonable.

Sponsors

Here’s the breakdown of the contributions:

  • IOHK - $125,000
  • GitHub - $70,000 *Note: This contribution is earmarked for GHC developer support
  • Well Typed - $25,000
  • Mercury - $12,000
  • Flipstone - $20,000
  • Tweag - $25,000
  • Obsidian - $25,000
  • EMQ - $25,000

Since we started, we’ve received the following donations:

  • Digtal Asset - $70,000
  • Exfreight - $25,000
  • TripShot - $10,000
  • HERP - $10,000

We have more in the pipeline at various stages, but we do not count on checks that haven’t cleared.

Individuals

@cdsmith is absolutely right, he is not the only individual to have donated, although he is by far the most generous to date. We have 13 individual contributors, of which 11 are recurring monthly!

Most are in the $5 - $10 / month range, we have one at $20, another at $50 (!!), and cdsmith’s amazing contributions which, annualized, gets him to the Applicative sponsorship level!

Of the one time donations, one was for $20, and the other for $1,000 - absolutely wonderful.

Spending

By far our greatest cost is payroll for Emily and I, which will be (with worker’s comp, payroll taxes, benefits, and everything) just under $300,000 for this year.

We also have the GHC support that GitHub earmarked its contribution for, of which we’ve used only a little more than $12,000 of so far.

We’ve contributed $1,000 to HLS’s Summer of Code project, and spent around $1,000 on various expenses involved with being in business.

Budget

That leaves a bunch left over, and here’s our budget for the rest of the year: $6,000 for support of the Haskell Interlude podcast, $9,000 more for technical agenda work, $10,000 more for community support, $10,000 for marketing (Haskell to companies and individuals, the HF to potential sponsors, an HF merch shop, etc.), and a little over $4,000 for misc. expenses.

2022

The trick for next year’s budget is estimating how many sponsors will renew their contributions, at what levels, and how successful we will continue to be finding new ones. We definitely want to expand our programs and support dramatically now that we’re well established and in good financial position.

Our current thinking is a technical agenda budget of $50,000, community $25,000, marketing $20,000, misc. at $15,000, and we would start setting aside reserve funds of approximately $100,000 to ensure that we can weather periods of low funding in the future.

I would love to hire a small number of new staff as well, but unless we are more successful with fundraising than our current (very conservative) numbers, we don’t feel comfortable bringing anyone on full time. Potential positions include DevOps (for support of GHC, HF, and community projects), Community Manager, and even a Release Manager if things were extremely positive.

Funding Funding Funding

We are here to help Haskell become more successful. I will post our August Update later today which links to @emilypi’s technical proposal process PR, which allows the community to guide our support. The more resources we have (money, volunteer time and energy, hardware, etc.) the more we can get done, but we have to find the right projects to spend those resources on, and we need your help to figure that out!

Fin

I hope that answered the bulk of the questions and concerns, and I’m happy to answer more!

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Hi Andrew, thanks for the great update. Here is a corresponding hledger journal, just for fun. This is queryable with hledger / hledger-ui / hledger-web.

[2021-09-02: Journal and latest reports are now at https://github.com/simonmichael/haskell-finance ,
below is a reports snapshot for easier reading. Reminder: this is just my rough model and guesstimates based on the above, not the real data.]

Income Statement 2021-01-01..2021-09-30

2021Q1 2021Q2 2021Q3 Total
 
Revenues
revenues:sponsors:IOHK $125,000 0 0 $125,000
revenues:sponsors:Digital Asset 0 $70,000 0 $70,000
revenues:sponsors:GitHub $70,000 0 0 $70,000
revenues:sponsors:EMQ $25,000 0 0 $25,000
revenues:sponsors:Exfreight 0 $25,000 0 $25,000
revenues:sponsors:Obsidian $25,000 0 0 $25,000
revenues:sponsors:Tweag $25,000 0 0 $25,000
revenues:sponsors:Well Typed $25,000 0 0 $25,000
revenues:sponsors:Flipstone $20,000 0 0 $20,000
revenues:sponsors:individuals (guess) $2,300 $7,920 $6,900 $17,120
revenues:sponsors:Mercury $12,000 0 0 $12,000
revenues:sponsors:HERP 0 $10,000 0 $10,000
revenues:sponsors:TripShot 0 $10,000 0 $10,000
total $329,300 $122,920 $6,900 $459,120
 
Expenses
expenses:payroll 0 $100,000 $100,000 $200,000
expenses:projects:GHC 0 $12,000 0 $12,000
expenses:misc 0 $1,000 0 $1,000
expenses:projects:HLS 0 $1,000 0 $1,000
total 0 $114,000 $100,000 $214,000
 
Net: $329,300 $8,920 $-93,100 $245,120

Balance Sheet 2021-03-31..2021-09-30

2021-03-31 2021-06-30 2021-09-30
 
Assets
assets:general $257,000 $87,120 $87,120
assets:ghc $70,000 $58,000 $58,000
total $327,000 $145,120 $145,120
 
Liabilities
total
 
Net: $327,000 $145,120 $145,120
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Your hledger seems to have zeroed out individual contributions. :frowning:

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Thanks for this update, @myShoggoth.
As one of the recurring individual contributors, it’s quite sad to me that the number of individual contributors is so small (11-13).

Haskell is a project which so many of its users are really passionate about, and want to support. I think the Haskell Foundation could do a better job in encouraging contributions from Individual Contributors, and making it more obvious how we can contribute. One example could be to include a link to a support page as part of these monthly updates. Another way could be to create a sort of community patreon page or even better, an opencollective page.

With something like opencollective, we can celebrate the individual contributors better, and we can have a single page where we direct potential individual contributors to. For eg, this is the open collective page for vuejs : https://opencollective.com/vuejs

It would be great if the foundation doesn’t underrate how much contributions from individuals can add up. I don’t believe it should be as difficult with good marketing/publicity, to get 1000 haskellers to pledge $5 to $20 monthly. Even better if there are perks for these ICs, like being able to vote on priorities of features that could be funded.

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Perhaps even more on-brand, there’s https://snowdrift.coop/, which is a Haskell project. I don’t know how they compare to Open Collective, though.

I think you are right, Tony. I bet there are thousands more like you, who would at least contemplate making a regular contribution to the Foundation, if they were asked in the right way; that is, in a way that makes them feel confident that their support was valued, used well, and was genuinely contributing to the health of the Haskell community.

I think there is food for thought for the HF board here. I’d love to hear (from everyone)

  • What would make you feel that the Foundation is a cause that deserves your regular support?

Simon

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  1. HF clearly stating that their primary concern is the language and the community
  2. More funding for open source projects. So far it seems 13k were spent on open source projects. Of course I’m pretty ignorant about how a foundation is run and what the budget is etc. But my primary incentive would be knowing that my money helps open source maintainers. Otherwise, I’d probably rather support them directly via github sponsorships.

Thanks for bringing this up!

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Your hledger seems to have zeroed out individual contributions.

I didn’t want to guess too much, but I have added a guess for this now.

Being one of the individual contributors and a beginner that doesn’t get to use Haskell in production (yet), I think there are definitely several things people have already suggested that would be awesome. Some additional thoughts:

  1. I like the way open collective displays contributions for HLS (https://opencollective.com/haskell-language-server), and it’s really cool how you can see the current balance/budget/expenses as well. I think at least the first part would be nice, as seeing the individual contributions may help others feel like they should also be a part. Right now, it’s just a button that lets you donate through PayPal and we don’t see where the funds go, or who contributed.

  2. Coming from a startup background, I apply similar principles where relevant when thinking about HF - when you’re strapped for cash, money needs to be prioritized efficiently where it has the largest impact toward whatever the foundation’s stated goals are. I echo some of the above in knowing the state of funding, even if not in real-time (e.g. on a quarterly basis).

  3. The links to the monthly updates should be more prominently featured on the homepage, instead of only being discoverable under “News and Info”. I’m not sure exactly where to put it, but just a thought. Right now, I find out about a lot of updates in the Haskell community from the Haskell Weekly newsletter or Discourse sending me weekly digests, not the foundation (which I’m fine with, but it might be harder for others to get a pulse on what’s happening in this ecosystem).

  4. Similar to how YouTubers always tell you to “like and subscribe”, I think we should extend the monthly update template to include a small blurb about how people can contribute financially or get involved in general. You never know how people can find you and we will need to overcommunicate some of these things.

  5. I’m most looking forward to seeing how the Haskell Foundation improves the warts of using Haskell and streamlines more of the onboarding experience so that any newcomer that stumbles onto one of several websites related to Haskell can figure out where to go to actually learn Haskell. I do like that the community leans more into the fact that this is not just a language with different syntax, but actually a different way of thinking about programming. I wish I understood that (or was told how to learn it) way sooner - I kept trying to learn it like I learned other languages, and it took several false starts before I realized that I had to look at this with fresh eyes. I’ve still been unable to convince anyone to learn Haskell except one person, and I am hopeful that the friction to get started will decrease over time. Of course, once people get into Haskell, we will need more resources on how to get it in production :slight_smile: one step at a time!

  6. I’d also love to learn more about the roles of the folks on the board or the folks on payroll. I had no clue that most of the funding was going toward payroll, and that the foundation only had a relatively small amount left over for everything else this year. That also tells me the foundation sees Emily and Andrew as extremely valuable to the success of the foundation (and by extension, the community), but just being frank, I don’t really know what either of them do. I trust that they are doing a lot and are very involved since I see them around Slack or Discourse, but their roles haven’t been clear to a casual observer. The foundation website describes everyone’s background but doesn’t describe what anyone does beyond their title, and I don’t know what their titles mean in this specific context. I can understand that people wear multiple hats and this is probably in flux as needed, but having some sort of baseline to understand what everyone is doing is helpful for bringing confidence to the community, especially since so much of the funding is going to payroll.

  7. Edit: Also echoing some of the above, I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more support toward the community, and more production-ready libraries/tooling!

I love that the Haskell community is a mix of academics, people in industry, passionate hobbyists, and more. It brings some interesting challenges, but I think a lot of the recent changes are good steps forward in terms of making it easier for Haskell to be a practical language that people want to use for their projects that affect society, not only a cool playground for experimentation (although I do love that it is that too).

I know the Haskell Foundation is still very young and everyone’s figuring things out, so I’m excited to see what’s next. I like that everyone is frank and direct about the positive things and the challenges, so looking forward to seeing more of that as well. Working at a small startup that’s very heads-down, I definitely understand some of the challenges around having the discipline, infrastructure, and time available to provide these sorts of updates, but I think it will be good for the short and long-term to get the community more bought in.

I’ve been programming more seriously for a couple years now and Haskell is the first language that’s made me excited about programming in and of itself, not only as a tool to be used for other things. I hope that more people get to experience this over time!

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I agree with this. When I decided to shift my support from individual projects to the HF, I was a little worried about this concern. There are a lot of projects that are critical to the Haskell community, but lack much financial support. I think in an ideal world, the Haskell Foundation can become a force for fixing this. But if HLS investments are too targeted, then it can make things worse. (On the other hand, unless more community members invest, the HF has to stay targeted to have a demonstrable impact, since it’s hard to measure the collective impact of a hundred tiny contributions versus the surrounding noise. It’s a bit of a catch-22, and the tension there makes this a hard choice.)

One thing I’d suggest is that there should be a relatively lightweight process for someone to say, for some fixed x: “x amount of money would help me deliver on these objectives, and (for accountability) I am sponsored by such-and-such long-standing community member who is not me.” The foundation could accept these things on a rolling basis based on an estimate of the value as funds are available, and pay as the work is accepted. Kind of like Summer of Code, but ongoing and open to anyone contributing to the Haskell community. That would be pretty awesome. I wonder if it’s feasible. It’s in some sense an inversion of the technical proposal process. The proposal process looks for things that are so important that the community should work hard to invest in them. This would look for things that would be such a good value that it’s worth a small investment to get it going, even if it fails half the time.

Also:

I think it would be a mistake to look at this as “only 13K of the 314K spending on open source.” Payroll is a big expense, yes, but that payroll is part of the reason for the amount of large dollar donations from corporate sponsors that makes a lot of this spending possible. Someone has to reach out to them, convince them to make the donation, etc. Essentially, payroll pays for itself. There’s also another $58K that is earmarked for spending on GHC, that it seems didn’t make it into the budget section, but it’s still there.

I’d change some things, like I mentioned above. (For another, I don’t see the point of spending so much on a podcast, but I know lots of other people are excited about it.) But everyone will have different opinions. In the end, I guess I just trust the people involved to make good decisions and factor in community feedback.

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Thanks, Simon. You’ve already read this, but for others who haven’t, I wrote up my answer to this question at https://medium.com/geekculture/why-i-support-the-haskell-foundation-1ac3cda1f82f

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Chris I am happy to be among the (too few!) recurring donors, and I became so after reading your post.

HF could definitely do more to promote individual donarions.

With numbers that low for individual donors… It could be that people are largely not yet aware of the possibility of supporting the foundation, perhaps partly because it wasn’t immediately possible to give individual donations when the foundation was first established. It seems this calls for a bit of a media campaign!

@myShoggoth Thanks for the update! It would be a lot more fun to try and help raise the numbers if we could look forward to getting feedback on those numbers on a certain schedule. With the current structure of things…is it reasonable/possible to commit to a release schedule to get further updates? I’m thinking that people could look forward to seeing how progress is being made as the word spreads.

I’ll start a new topic here on Discourse to rally for a “media campaign” to help rectify this. Media Campaign To Let People Know They Can Donate To The Haskell Foundation

I’m also starting a Discourse topic called: Tell Us! Why Did You Donate to the Haskell Foundation? I would love to read more perspectives on this, especially after reading the one cdsmith wrote:
https://medium.com/geekculture/why-i-support-the-haskell-foundation-1ac3cda1f82f

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Thank you all for the great feedback, I am working on changing the monthly update format to have more of the data you’re looking for.

I really like how @cdsmith characterized our spending - the corporate sponsors currently pay for Emily and I to work on this full time, and while a lot of my time is focused on fundraising to ensure that we have the resources to help the community, Emily’s primary focus is on how to make things better.

Now that the Foundation is on sound financial footing and we have budget to work with, we are absolutely looking for ways to put our resources to use to help the community and move Haskell forward. Give us ideas, make proposals, let us know what you feel is important!

I think we have a few ways we can really leverage our resources:

  • Shared community infrastructure (hardware, cloud time, etc.) available for Haskell libraries
  • Contractor time to address deeper issues that are unreasonable for volunteers to work on
  • Direct the GHC support priorities to focus on work that has particularly good downstream benefits

I really like the community grants proposal, but keep in mind that we have budget right now and don’t need to wait if there’s a clear goal and ability to get it done. I think we should have a program like @cdsmith proposes, but I’m just saying we don’t have to wait for it to be approved before looking at proposals.

Finally, I am very happy to list individual HF donors, but as many of you are in this thread I’d like your thoughts: Do you want tiers, exact amounts donated, a listing in financial order, a listing by when you started supporting, or alphabetically? We appreciate you and want others to, as well.

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Some thoughts on some of your comments:

  • for point 3: if the monthly updates are more prominently featured, pointers could be included in Weekly Haskell and Discourse digests (I also find a lot of stuff that way, not visiting the Foundation website regularly)
  • for point 6: listen to Emily’s podcast. I got a lot of insight into the Foundation’s goals and operations from it.

@myShoggoth, re listing donors, there are several related but independent goals:

  1. providing visibility into HF’s finances (amounts and categories, but not necessarily payer/payee names)
  2. providing assurance/public recognition to individual and organisational sponsors
  3. maintaining anonymity/privacy for sponsors who want that

With 3 in mind you probably wouldn’t want to automatically list all names. Well, it’s probably early enough that you could do it now, and going forward there could be a chance to opt out, or at least a warning, in every donation flow (such as the paypal form).

For 1, I know 100% transparency isn’t optimal in all real-world situations but hopefully it’s possible for HF. If so, the more detail the better! I know it gives me a lot of confidence when I see that, and encourages me to be involved (I became a sponsor after seeing your post above).

For 2, names can be published with or without being tied to their (exact) contribution amounts. But publishing the full details is simplest, and not the worst default, IMHO. Best of all from my perspective is a complete journal of all transactions (as with Open Collective), from which all other reports can be generated.

Re community grant mechanisms, Cardano’s Catalyst funding system is another good source of ideas. They do a periodic funding round for some fixed amount, projects submit funding proposals which are discussed and voted on and the ones reaching a certain standard (and fitting the budget) receive the funds they have requested. (Probably over-complex for Haskell right now, but still interesting.)