Evolution of the Grants Org: Discussion & Call Notes

As a result of discussions on the “What’s an Org” forum post, a call was hosted on Thursday, March 14th to discuss how to streamline access to funding for various types of grants. Below is a collection of notes from this call.

We tried our best to interpret what we were hearing on the call into the following notes. Please feel free to add or challenge anything on this list if you feel we did not capture these points correctly!

Note to those who were not able to attend: The Grants Lead (@bordumb ) and two Grantees were present on the call to provide context and their personal experience with the existing Grants program.

As a group, the call attendees established:

  • Any funding within the Radworks ecosystem should be considered a “grant.” There are currently two distinct types: “treasury-funded grants” (e.g. for funding Orgs) and “grants” distributed via the Grants Org.
  • “Speed” within the current grant application process (within the Grants Org) is not an issue - according to past Grantees
  • The Grants Org currently offers three distinct features compared to treasury-funded grants:
    • fast (turnaround)
    • flexible (submit anytime)
    • application requirements (lighter than Org)
  • The current accountability method being used in the Radworks Grants program has worked well for 2 years (milestone-based funding, receiving 20% upfront, 80% upon completion, using Drips to distribute funds). We should let any changes to this be emergent (i.e. continue current method until we see a natural need to change)
  • Creating an entity around the Radworks Grants program would be helpful for grantees
  • If we assume that Grants Org will have an entity, the likelihood of a grant recipient within the Grants Org needing an entity is low. It is the responsibility of the grant recipient to weigh their risks for all their sources of income (especially if their grant from Grants Org is 10K or lower).

Actionable Takeaways

Below are the key takeaways and next plausible steps discussed in the call.

Within the Grants Org: bordumb (with support from Abbey and Shelby) will begin exploring the best way to approach these and will seek guidance and support from the Ops Committee.

  1. Clarify and formalize the process (in Grants documentation) of the Radworks Grants Program playing the role of an incubator for Orgs within the Radicle Ecosystem
  2. Explore creating a legal entity around the Grants Org (or Grants Committee?) to allow for necessary invoicing and documentation of funds received for grantees
  3. Implement a KYC/AML requirement for grant recipients within the Grants Org
  4. Provide better support for grant recipients with onboarding to crypto/receiving funds (how-to guides, etc.)

For all grants: The Governance Committee will seek guidance from the Ops Committee on the best way to approach these asks.

  1. Provide better support for potential Orgs considering entity creation
  2. Explore the possibility of an “intermediary” service partner for grant recipients to contract through (“remote entity” Gitcoin example)

Open Questions:

  • What types of grants fall under the Grants Org and which Grants fall under “treasury funded grants”? What are the differences in the amount of funds being requested, scope of work, timeline of work, etc.?
  • What are practical and feasible ways for contributors to Radicle/Drips Org to engage in the assessment and incubation process for grant applications?
  • How can we ensure / incentivize Grants Committee members to be active members in the Radworks community (e.g. contributing to forum discussions, voting on proposals, etc.)?

Next Steps:

Over the coming weeks, we will be discussing the open questions and addressing the actionable takeaways listed above. We plan to keep the community updated on progress and will present a new framework by the next quarterly community call (currently scheduled for April 17th).

Any input or feedback from the community is welcome in the meantime!

As part of the larger effort to make requested upgrades the Grants Org and the Radworks grant application process outlined in the post above, bordumb, Abbey and I are currently exploring the following objectives to move this work forward:

  • Establishing a legal entity around the Grants Org
  • Implementing an initial KYC/AML process for grant recipients

Creating a legal entity around the Grants Org will allow for preferable means to invoice and document funds received by grantees and clarify liability for Committee members.

Entity Creation Options

The Grants Org is exploring creating an entity in Switzerland, similar to other Radworks Orgs. Currently, we are exploring two options:

Option 1: Form a new entity (Swiss Association/Non-profit)

Option 2: Create a new body within the existing Foundation entity (e.g. Committee)

As part of implementing one of these two options, a KYC (i.e. “know your customer”) process will be rolled out that is compatible with the structure chosen. With such a process, grant recipients will be identified so that the entity is comfortable with sending them funds to do the work they have proposed.

Next Step: Understanding Both Options

Option 1 would involve more startup costs and effort, although it could be beneficial to have Grants be its own independent entity to ensure it remains directly accountable to the community, rather than to another entity (e.g the Foundation). This option would also involve a lot more ongoing operational overhead and would require the Grants lead to take on more responsibilities related to running a Swiss Association.

Option 2 would allow us to leverage the existing infrastructure and resources of the Foundation, ensuring the setup and ongoing processes engage useful (and critical!) skillsets and experience. Having the Grants program exist within the Foundation could make sense, as the focus of Grants (to fund development that enhances, expands, and enriches the Radworks ecosystem - namely, Radicle and Drips) is aligned with the Foundation’s current role of “nurturer” of the Radworks ecosystem.

We are currently in conversations with the Foundation, specifically the Ops Committee, to better understand what exactly the setup and maintenance processes for both options would look like, how much time each of them would take, the operational overhead required, as well as the support available in the setup process. We will keep the community updated on the outcome of these discussions and the decision on how to move forward with the Grants Org by May 1st.