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How OpenSSF Technical Initiatives Can Receive Strategic Funding

By March 19, 2024Blog
How OpenSSF Technical Initiatives Can Receive Strategic Funding

The OpenSSF is pleased to announce an exciting new process that will help connect impactful Technical Initiatives (TIs) with strategic funding. The OpenSSF Technical Advisory Council and Governing Board have defined a process by which OpenSSF TI’s can apply for funding and we’re confident that unlocking this new process will help create a sustainable secure open source software ecosystem.

What’s available?

The TAC has focused on defining OpenSSF TI Gives and Gets and within that framework we are excited to offer strategic funds alongside other resources. This is our way of supporting any eligible TI ready to bring their ideas to life. Whether it’s funding you’re after or other services, we’re here to help. It’s all about empowering you to create value that resonates with OpenSSF’s Mission, Vision, Values, and Strategy. Let’s make something amazing together!

OpenSSF TI’s will apply to have access to a range of funding. Funding requests will first be assessed by the TAC on the TI’s technical merits and then the request will be measured against the amount of funds available. Priority in each funding tranche will be given to funding the greatest number of TI’s requests within the funds available. Requests that exceed $100,000 will be set aside for individual consideration outside of the funds available in any specific tranche. Any funding request, which has approved technical merit, that isn’t fulfilled within a tranche, will be published on the TAC’s github for open consideration. In addition, we will coordinate with other funding providers like the Alpha Omega project to forward such open funding requests.

How can an OpenSSF TI apply?

This new process requires that a request comes from a TI in good standing, meaning the TI has officially applied for and been accepted at one of our lifecycle stages, and continues to execute as a group.

To request funds, go to the TAC GitHub repo and open a new issue using the new request form.

The TAC will review all proposals for technical alignment to the OpenSSF, and forward proposals to a financial review process. Please note, funds are limited, and depending on the number and requested amounts that are received, not all proposals may be funded or funded at the total amount requested. 

The TAC is now ready and waiting for TIs to craft their proposals and start the technical review process. Typically, funding requests will be evaluated in quarterly tranches, with the timelines for each tranche made publicly available within the TAC repo. On a limited, case-by-case basis, the TAC may review a funding request out of band. 

For this initial round of funding, the timeline is:

Mar 11-15      Get form online, communicate a call for Proposals

Mar 18-29      Proposal submission period 

April 1-5         TAC proposal review (may need a special session)

April 8-12       Notify accepted/non acceptance proposals in writing; begin funding conversations; 

April 15          Publish accepted proposals online and announce with SOSS Community Day NA;

… Progress updates at set milestones. 

The TAC proposal reviews and funding announcements are projected to happen going forward based on calendar year: 

Q2: review mid June, announce last week of June

Q3: review mid September, announce last week of September 

Q4: review mid December, announce last week of December

Once approved, requests will be managed by Linux Foundation staff and may take between 4-8 weeks before funds are issued for specific purposes. Status of the requests can be viewed in our new kanban tracker in the TAC repo.

TI Funding Request Feedback

We are excited to offer this funding process to help accelerate open source security progress. This is the OpenSSF’s first iteration with this format for TI funding, and we expect to learn a lot as we move forward, and will continue to adjust the program at periodic intervals. The TAC requests your ongoing feedback on the proposal process/experience for continuous improvement through Github Issues on the TAC repo.