[IAEP] [SLOBS] Action needed on two issues

Adam Holt holt at laptop.org
Mon Apr 11 09:44:13 EDT 2016

On Sun, Apr 10, 2016 at 11:57 PM, Laura Vargas <laura at somosazucar.org>

> Adam,
> Am not sure how the Conservancy can help us get better if we don't have
> our financial policies well defined.
> According to the published numbers (I'm attaching a Spreadsheet with the
> information published by you) for the last 4 years, ~80% (USD$26,400) of
> expenses are related to promotional travels/activities of a very reduced
> group of members.
> Only 4,13% (US$ 1,375) has been dedicated to development.

Thanks Laura for your thoughts and I see your perspective.  But it depends
how one defines development (program activities).  Grant documents specify
"program activities" to mean a whole lot more that software obviously, even
if programmers wish it were otherwise!  Sometimes travel (can) get us the
best bang-for-the-buck in program development, when community organics
blossom especially.  And Walter Bender has explained that he has offloaded
significant expenses to partner organizations, to the benefit of Sugar
Labs.  So please take seriously that developing a Turtle Art community was
the #2 goal of the TripAdvisor grant, and the investment needs to measured
against that goal.  As the defining documents of the TripAdvisor grant

"Sugar Labs will provide periodic reports as to its progress in its
internationalization efforts as well as document the scope and scale of the
creation of materials and levels of participation in Turtle Art Day(s), and
a measure of the impact of this program on the expansion of our user base
through metrics such as downloads, project uploads, and the level of
participation of teachers and students in our on-line fora. Sugar Labs will
also provide TripAdvisor with detailed reports on all spending."

"The Charity spends no less than 80% of its total expenses on program
activities that directly furthers the mission and goals of the
Charity...Annual Financial Statement will include, at a minimum, a
breakdown of expenses (e.g., salaries, travel, office expenses) that shows
what expenses were allocated to program, fundraising, and administrative

http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Finance fulfills the above broad reporting
request/requirement and thank you for your spreadsheet which makes this
more colorful.  None of us are perfect, and if mistakes were made that
means we are human.  But we are trying, even despite not being paid (for
example I have never received a travel benefit or compensation from Sugar
Labs, nor has Haiti where I work, unlike Peru where you work).  In
conclusion, Sugar Labs is doing a much better job in the last couple months
of respecting the original intent of the TripAdvisor grant, particularly
once we (1) start spending on localization/internationalization which is
long overdue and (2) satisfy their reporting requests/requirements,
hopefully shared with Sugar's Community (where permitted) to re-inspire all.

You are quite correct we can and should become more deliberate with our
financials clarity / purpose, hence Caryl Bigenho & Dave Crossland's hard
work on the Financial Manager document below.  Those who have experience
which relatively-drama-free organizational budgeting (intentionality) are
asked to please assist them by refining their proposal right here -- so
that transparency is no longer just a buzzword in this neighborhood, but a
community practice/culture we learn together.


*Coherence towards increasingly united visions indeed!*

Adam Holt
Sugar Labs Oversight Board Liaison to SFConservancy.org

For Sugar Labs Community/Board to be able to make coherent decisions,
> financial planning should be done ASAP with whatever funds remain in SL
> accounts. It might be necessary and convenient to split accounts with
> Capital from Trip Advisor grant to really understand the contingency.
> Only by having awareness of how unbalanced the situation is, the
> board/community may be able to propose an adequate course of action.
> As a preliminary conclusion, we need to define purpose/vision/strategy and
> plan for a fundraising soon.
> Best regards,
> Laura
> 2016-04-10 13:18 GMT+08:00 Adam Holt <holt at laptop.org>:
>> On Sun, Apr 10, 2016 at 1:01 AM, Adam Holt <holt at laptop.org> wrote:
>>> On Sat, Apr 9, 2016 at 10:33 PM, Dave Crossland <dave at lab6.com> wrote:
>>>> On 9 April 2016 at 11:26, Caryl Bigenho <cbigenho at hotmail.com> wrote:
>>>>> I also agree that $500 does seem excessive, and even inappropriate
>>>> FWIW, I thought it was small; it is under minimum wage for some places.
>>> Some teachers I work with in Haiti make less than this amount in an
>>> entire year :(  When the TripAdvisor grant's defining 2013 document said
>>> "Sugar Labs is a 100% volunteer project" that may have been the case, but
>>> it is evidently no longer the case today.  Mako's point about volunteer
>>> motivations (
>>> https://mako.cc/writing/funding_volunteers/funding_volunteers.html)
>>> becomes all the more critical if we go too far flaunting nebulous
>>> Trump-told-me salaries in the faces of our hardest working volunteers,
>>> across the poorest places on earth (many on these mailing lists) when that
>>> breaks our global solidarity rather more than Leading Us Forward.
>>> Walter and Devin Ulibarri chose to invest $3579.68 of Sugar Labs' money
>>> going to Thailand's Constructionism 2016 (Feb 1-5) for a very good reason
>>> -- to do exactly that, Lead Us Forward.
>> (Correction: that's of course $3977.42 of Sugar Labs' money prior to the
>> 10% deduction payable to SFConservancy for
>> accounting/legal/administration.  My mistake.)
>> As that purpose does not yet appear at http://planet.sugarlabs.org,
>>> Sugar Labs' community should help Walter and Devin articulate this through
>>> community channels that bring this impact to life, easing all our work of
>>> honoring TripAdvisor's request/requirement for (1) "Board-Approved Annual
>>> Budget", (2) biennial assessment if it has not already been submitted for
>>> August 2015, and (3) final 3-year report to be submitted August 2016.
>>> A preview from Feb 9:
>>> '4. I [Walter Bender] just returned from Constructionism 2016 (See [3]),
>>> a "bi-annual
>>> gathering of researchers and practitioners of the constructionist
>>> learning
>>> philosophy is intended to be a place to showcase lessons learned,
>>> innovative learning tools, new case studies, and novel approaches that
>>> has
>>> been happening throughout the world." A number of Sugar Labs community
>>> members were there, including Cynthia Solomon, Claudia Urrea, and Devin
>>> Ulibarri. Devin and I spoke about Music Blocks and along with Cynthia and
>>> Claudia, we ran several workshops for children and teachers. Lots of
>>> great
>>> feedback and many new and renewed connections. (Our host, Khun Paron, has
>>> been an advocate for Sugar for almost a decade.) The entire conference
>>> was
>>> videotaped and will be posted online soon. Be sure to watch Cynthia's
>>> keynote address in which she reviewed the history of Constructionism,
>>> which
>>> has had a great influence on the design and development of Sugar.
>>> 5. Music Blocks is a fork the Turtle Blocks program that we began last
>>> year
>>> during GSoC. Our goal is for Music Blocks to be an open-ended, yet
>>> musically relevant tool—one that invites learners to explore fundamental
>>> musical concepts that are both intrinsic to music yet transcendent of a
>>> specific discipline.
>>> The structure of our workshops included the concept of a "Power Piece". A
>>> power piece is a melody or a song that is taught because it is powerful
>>> and
>>> becomes more powerful as it is taught. Children took phrases of some
>>> familiar music as a basis of exploring and manipulating the music through
>>> programming.
>>> As a result of feedback from the workshops, I have made a number of
>>> improvements to Music Blocks [4]. It is much more robust and internally
>>> consistent. Please do try it (there is a guide at [5]) and give me
>>> additional feedback.'
>>> [4] https://walterbender.github.io/musicblocks
>>> [5]
>>> https://github.com/walterbender/musicblocks/blob/master/guide/README.md
>>> A postscript from March 25:
>>> '3. Devin Ulibarri and I had the opportunity to speak at LibrePlanet [2].
>>> Our topic was "Education needs Free/Libre Software needs education." [3]
>>> <blockquote>ABSTRACT: The bad news is that educational technology has
>>> largely failed to deliver on its promise. Its focus on efficiency rather
>>> than on learning has resulted in a further reinforcement of education as
>>> a
>>> system of instruction to curricula rather than one of student-driven
>>> construction of knowledge.
>>> The good news is that Free/Libre Software is the starting point towards a
>>> solution&emdash;not just because it tends to focus on putting powerful
>>> tools into the hands of its end-users, but also because Free/Libre
>>> Software
>>> espouses a culture of doing and sharing in a context of critique,
>>> reflection, and personal responsibility.
>>> In this session, we will review some tangible ways in which Free/Libre
>>> Software is having and can have a positive impact on education and some
>>> things we can and should be doing better. We will then discuss strategies
>>> for advocating for Free/Libre Software in education systems both in the
>>> US
>>> and globally. The next generation of computer users are in school today.
>>> We
>>> need to ensure that the next generation is empowered to take advantage of
>>> the opportunities afforded by Free/Libre Software.</blockquote>
>>> Unlike the session on Free/Libre Software at EdFoo, which was sparsely
>>> attended, there was standing-room only for our session. The recording
>>> should be on line within a few weeks.
>>> It occured to me afterwards that one simple call to action would be for
>>> every member of the Free/Libre Software community to adopt a teacher (or
>>> be
>>> open to being adopted, e.g., Devin, a music teacher, has adopted me). We
>>> need to make our voices heard.'
>>> [2] https://libreplanet.org/2016/
>>> [3]
>>> https://wiki.sugarlabs.org/images/c/c7/Education-needs-free-software.pdf
>>> Who can help Walter/Devin turn the above into more colorful (better yet
>>> musical) blog post(s) that appear at http://planet.sugarlabs.org if not
>>> beyond, to Lead Us Forward?
>>> --
>>> Unsung Heroes of OLPC, interviewed live @ http://unleashkids.org !
>>> --
>>> Unsung Heroes of OLPC, interviewed live @ http://unleashkids.org !
>> _______________________________________________
>> IAEP -- It's An Education Project (not a laptop project!)
>> IAEP at lists.sugarlabs.org
>> http://lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/iaep
> --
> Laura V.
> I&D SomosAZUCAR.Org
> IRC kaametza
> Happy Learning!
> --
> Unsung Heroes of OLPC, interviewed live @ http://unleashkids.org !
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