[OSGeo-Conf] FOSS4G Boston Travel Grants ~ IMPORTANT request

Kristin Bott bottk at reed.edu
Wed May 3 11:24:37 PDT 2017

Hi, all --

Good to see discussion of a travel grant / scholarship program for FOSS4G
2017 / Boston. For foss4g2014 (Portland, OR), here's our story of travel
grants, prose edition:

In bulletpoint version:
- We set aside 10k of *the conference budget* to fund the program and
- set aside HALF of those resources for people who *self-identified* as
women or a minority (one of the questions on the application)
- folks applied online (app attached), applications were ranked by four
external reviewers, and funds were awarded based on the strength of
applications and self-identified need. More than half of our resources
supported women and members of minority groups, since the LOC felt strongly
that a more diverse community is a stronger (and more effective) community.

Happy to talk about any of this in further detail and/or potentially help
with process crafting / app selection. (I've been involved in a half-dozen
of these programs since our 2014 conference; just finished working with the
SOTM2017/Japan folks on same.)

A few months ago, I asked for examples of how other conferences (SOTM,
FOSS4G, local, inter/national versions of same) have dealt with these sort
of grants. Some answers, attached.

Thank you for keeping this important work a priority.

cheers -

(one of four LOC co-chairs, FOSS4G 2014 PDX)

 international smaller conf travel and schol.pdf
 International conference (travel grant + schola...

On Wed, May 3, 2017 at 5:56 AM, Till Adams <till.adams at fossgis.de> wrote:

> Hi Michael,
> in Bonn we had the same issues. The end of the story was, that OSGeo
> granted us for 10k US $, that we could use for travel grants, as we also
> were unsure where we will come out at the end of the conference.
> We restricted the grants to people from 3rd world countries due to world
> banks country ranking. We had two kinds of grants:
> 1. "regular" attendees: We paid their ticket and accommodation, not the
> travel (travel is difficult because of different routes, we were not sure,
> whether people really attend, how to book for them or were anxious
> transfering money in advance)
> 2. our student helpers, that also applied for the tg program. We paid them
> 500 € on the conference as their conference ticket was free anyway (50/50
> deal of help/attendance) and their accommodation.
> All together the budget fitted quite well, I am kind of unsure, I guess we
> had between 8-12 people that applied. The application was by writing a
> letter of intend "why do I want to attend on F4G?" in order to assure, that
> people really wanted to come to this event.
> In total we agreed in a selection process based on "points", so we gave
> more points, the poorer the country of origin was rated (on the wb-list),
> more points for presenters and so on, but in the end we could accept
> everybody that applied in the program.
> I see your sensitives, we had the same ;-) If that helps, I can support
> you here with direct support, but would be glad if 2 or 3 other people from
> ConfComm and/or board would also jump on the train. Afterwards this group
> could share their experience and start the process of an generally
> established tg program for F4G's.
> Till
> Am 03.05.2017 um 14:07 schrieb Michael Terner:
> As you all can see we've been very busy assembling our program (225
> accepted talks <http://2017.foss4g.org/accepted-presentations/>, out of
> 423 submitted) and rounding out the sponsorship for the conference (>$200k
> of commitments <http://2017.foss4g.org/sponsor/>). And now, with 2 weeks
> to go before the Early Bird expires, registration is starting to pickup
> with ~200 registrations processed.
> And, with registration on people's minds we have started to get the
> inevitable requests for financial support (e.g., and accepted speaker who's
> company cannot pay; graduate students looking for support; etc.) and we
> expect those requests to continue. The Boston LOC (BLOC) would dearly like
> to have a "Travel Grant Program", but as was pointed out in earlier threads
> (I believe by both Steven Feldman and Jody Garnett) it is difficult for the
> host LOC to run such a program. For instance:
>    1. We do not yet know our financial condition. With registrations
>    being notoriously late, we won't know if/how much $'s are available for
>    such a program for some time.
>    2. Administering such a program takes time, and our primary focus is
>    on producing the conference and the workshops.
>    3. Decisions on criteria for choosing recipients and the amount of
>    individual grants can be delicate and the criteria/objectives may differ
>    between the BLOC and OSGeo
> As such,* the BLOC would like to make a formal request that OSGeo
> establish and administer a travel grant program for the Boston 2017 event*.
> We would gladly collaborate and help advertise the program (e.g., on our
> website and through referrals), but we would concur that this program
> should be established and funded by OSGeo. We have high hopes that the
> proceeds from Boston will reimburse OSGeo's investment in subsidizing
> attendance from certain communities. And, we too will be looking to offer
> other opportunities for financial support through our volunteer program,
> and potentially a "need-based" registration discount (if our Early Bird
> registrations give us increased confidence in our financial success).
> Thank you in advance for considering this request. Please let us know if
> you have any questions.
> Sincerely, MT & the BLOC
> --
> *Michael Terner*
> *Executive Vice President ​ & Chair FOSS4G Boston 2017​ *
> Applied Geographics, Inc.
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