Thursday, July 18, 2024

PSF Board update on improvements to the PSF Grants program

In December 2023 we received an open letter from a coalition of organizers from the pan-African Python community asking the PSF to address concerns and frustrations around our Grants Program. The letter writers agreed to meet with us in December and January to go into more detail and share more context from the pan-African community. Since then, we have been doing a lot of listening and discussing how to better serve the community with the input that was offered.

The PSF Board takes the open letter from the pan-African delegation seriously, and we began to draft a plan to address everything in the letter. We also set up improved two-way communications so that we can continue the conversation with the community. The writers of the open letter have now met several times with members of the PSF board. We are thankful for their insight and guidance on how we can work together and be thoroughly and consistently supportive of the pan-African Python community.

We care a lot about building consensus and ensuring that we are promising solutions that have support and a realistic workflow. Building an achievable plan that meets the needs of the community has involved work for the PSF’s small staff. It also included additional conversations with and input from the volunteers who serve on the Board and in our working groups, especially the Grants Working Group. We are grateful for the input as well as the opportunity to improve.

Plans and progress on the Grants Program

Here is what’s already been done:

  • Set up Grants Program Office Hours to open up a line of casual sustained communication between the community and our staff members who support the grants program. Several sessions have already taken place.
  • The PSF contracted Carol Willing to do a retrospective on the DjangoCon Africa review and approval and make suggestions for improvements or changes. We published her report in March.
  • We published a transparency report for our grants numbers from the last two years, and plan to publish a report on our grants work for every year going forward so we can continue to work in the open on continually improving the grants program.  
  • In May, the board voted that we will not override or impose any country-specific human rights regulation for Python communities when deciding whether or not to fund community-run Python or Python-related events. The Grants Program will use the same criteria for all grant requests, no matter their country of origin. This does not affect our criteria for choosing a specific US state for PyCon US and it does not change our ability to fund events in countries that are sanctioned by the US government (where the PSF is based.) Finally, the Grants Working Group will still require a robust and enforceable code of conduct and we expect local organizers to choose what is appropriate for their local community when drafting their code of conduct.


What is on our roadmap:

  • With community input, we’ll be overhauling the grant application process and requirements for applications. Our goal is to make the process inclusive and the administrative requirements as lightweight as possible, while not creating additional legal or administrative work.
  • We’re conducting a thorough examination of our grant priorities by subject matter and location. We hope to make requesting and reviewing grants for activities beyond events easier.
  • Continuing to reimagine the PSF Board’s responsibility within the community. Please read on for our thought process and work in this area.


Reevaluating PSF Board member communications and conduct norms and standards

We discussed Board member conduct and communications norms – both past and future – at our retreat in January. We realize that some things were said by past and current Board members that did not reflect the PSF’s outlook or values. We are working to ensure current and future Board members understand the power their communications have on our community. Understanding the expectations and responsibilities that come with service on the PSF Board is part of orientation for service. Going forward we plan to invest more time into this topic during our PSF Board orientations.

The Board has agreed to hold each other accountable and use the position of PSF Board member responsibly in communications with the community. We acknowledge that PSF Board members have not always recognized the impact that their comments have had on community members, either in private or in public. Going forward, community members can report board and board-delegated working group members’ conduct to individuals who do not serve on the board. Two members of the PSF’s Code of Conduct Working Group (Jeff Triplett (jeff.triplett@pyfound.org) and Tereza Iofciu (email is coming)) have volunteered to receive these reports and handle them separately. At a time that Jeff or Tereza are unable to receive these reports, other non-board members of the Code of Conduct working group will be nominated to manage such reports.

Moving forward together

Moving forward, the PSF Board and Staff will continue to prioritize transparency through the form of the Grants Office Hours and yearly reports. Our focus will move from response to charter, process, and documentation improvements based on the findings we have made. The PSF Board will continue to conduct annual orientations and ad hoc check-ins on our communication and conduct standards. We welcome you to send your questions, comments, and suggestions for the Grants Program to grants@pyfound.org.

As the great Maya Angelou has said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.” We want to thank the pan-African community for showing us that we can do better and we look forward to being a community partner that can be counted on to hear criticism and continually make changes that improve our service to the Python community.

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Announcing the 2024 PSF Board Election & Proposed Bylaw Change Results!

The 2024 election for the PSF Board and proposed Bylaws changes created an opportunity for conversations about the PSF's work to serve the global Python community. We appreciate community members' perspectives, passion, and engagement in the election process this year.

We want to send a big thanks to everyone who ran and was willing to serve on the PSF Board. Even if you were not elected, we appreciate all the time and effort you put into thinking about how to improve the PSF and represent the parts of the community you participate in. We hope that you will continue to think about these issues, share your ideas, and join a PSF Work Group if you feel called to do so.

Board Members Elect

Congratulations to our three new Board members who have been elected!

  • Tania Allard
  • KwonHan Bae
  • Cristián Maureira-Fredes

We’ll be in touch with all the elected candidates shortly to schedule onboarding. Newly elected PSF Board members are provided orientation for their service and will be joining the upcoming board meeting.

PSF Bylaw Changes

All three of the proposed PSF Bylaw changes are approved:

We appreciate the high level of engagement on the proposed Bylaw changes, and the range of perspectives and points that were raised. We hope that our efforts towards increased transparency, such as the Office Hour session, and our responses in the FAQ helped to continue to build trust with the community. Our goal with these changes continues to be:

  • Making it simpler to qualify as a Member for Python-related volunteer work
  • Making it easier to vote
  • Allowing the Board more options to keep our membership safe and enforce the Code of Conduct

This announcement serves as notice that the Bylaws changes have been approved by the membership, and will automatically go into effect 15 days from now, on Thursday, August 1st, 2024.

Thank you!

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our outgoing board member, Débora Azevedo, for her outstanding service. Débora served on the PSF Board through a particularly eventful time; bringing PyCon US into an age of hybrid events, responding to calls from our community for transparency, and hiring multiple new staff members to continue to improve our organization. Thank you for supporting the PSF and the Python community through so much change- you are appreciated!

Our heartfelt thanks go out to each of you who took the time to review the candidates and submit your votes. Your participation helps the PSF represent our community. We received 611 total votes, easily reaching quorum–1/3 of affirmed voting members (794). We’re especially grateful for your patience with continuing to navigate the changes to the voting process, which allows for a valid election and a more sustainable election system.

We also want to thank everyone who helped promote this year’s board election, especially Board Members Denny Perez and Georgi Ker, who took the initiative to cover this year’s election and produced informational videos for our candidates. This promotional effort was inspired by the work of Python Community News last year. We also want to highlight the PSF staff members and PSF Board members who put in tons of effort each year as we work to continually improve the PSF elections.

What’s next?

If you’re interested in the complete tally, make sure to check the Python Software Foundation Board of Directors Election 2024 Results page. These results will be available until 10 Sep 2024 at 10:00 AM EDT.

The PSF Election team will conduct a retrospective of this year’s election process to ensure we are improving year over year. We received valuable feedback about the process and tooling. We hope to be able to implement changes for next year to ensure a smooth and accessible election process for everyone in our community.

Finally, it might feel a little early to mention this, but we will have at least 4 seats open again next year. If you're interested in running or learning more, we encourage you to contact a current PSF Board member or two this year and ask them about their experience serving on the board.