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Announcing the First FOSS Contributor Fund Recipient

Alyssa Arvin
May 18 - 3 min read

At Salesforce, we know that a sustainable open source ecosystem is essential for our technical future, and financially supporting these projects is one of the ways we can ensure the projects we depend on are healthy and thriving. That’s why we are very excited to introduce the Salesforce FOSS Contributor Fund.

What is the Salesforce FOSS Contributor Fund?

Every quarter, our employees who have contributed to open source are able to nominate and vote on the projects they are passionate about. The project with the most votes will receive a $10,000 sponsorship.

To be considered for the sponsorship, a project must meet these criteria:

  1. Used by Salesforce
  2. Uses an OSI-approved license
  3. Not maintained by a Salesforce employee

And the winner is…

We just finished our first round of nominating and voting and the winner of the $10,000 prize is (drumroll please)…. Homebrew!

In the words of Homebrew, it “installs the stuff you need that Apple (or Linux system) didn’t.” Our engineering teams agree — Homebrew makes it easy to install necessary items, which in turn makes their lives easier. To name just a few use cases, we put Homebrew to work distributing internal developer tools, equipping new joiners with everything they need right out of the gate, and managing Helm and other tools in the Kubernetes ecosystem.

In the spirit of continuous giving back, we didn’t want to stop there, so we asked Mike McQuaid, Homebrew Project Leader, what the biggest project needs were and how individuals or other companies could help. His answer: “We always need more help with submitting and reviewing pull requests, fixing bugs and funding for being able to increase the CI and human resources dedicated to the project.”

Set up a FOSS Fund at your company!

Are you interested in starting a FOSS Fund at your company? In the true spirit of open source, we leaned heavily on Indeed’s guidance (thanks, y’all!) but put our own spin on a few things. Here are some gotchas we considered when setting up the program:

  • To encourage people to consistently contribute back to the open source community, we set the parameter that nominations can only be made by folks who have made a contribution within the past quarter.
  • Many people use a personal email address on GitHub, so you may not be able to tell who from your company is contributing just by searching for company email address. We created a form for people to fill out letting us know if they had contributed to a project with a non-Salesforce address or to a project outside of GitHub, and we shared this form widely across our internal communication channels to solicit responses.
  • We used those same communication channels to regularly remind people about the fund and to advocate for making a habit of contributing to open source.
  • We kept the nominations open for one month, and gave contributors one week to vote on the projects that were nominated.
  • We considered how to select a winner in the case of a tie. We have an Open Source Core Team who volunteer their time to support and better open source at Salesforce, so we decided we would lean on them as our tie-breaking votes if that situation were to come up.

In conclusion, we ❤ giving back.

We are so excited to join companies like Indeed and Microsoft in giving back to projects that we use and are passionate about. Giving back is baked into our culture at Salesforce, and the FOSS Fund is yet another flavor of employee-inspired giving (like our charitable donation matching) that helps us underscore the value of the work our employees do every day by joining them in supporting the causes they care about. We will be sponsoring three more projects through the FOSS Fund this year — stay tuned to find out what they will be!

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