Reopening of the Celo Community Fund

Introduction

The Celo Community Fund (CCF) isn’t currently open for applications - the original stewardships are drawing to a close and there is now a need to decide how this initiative should continue; and how it can continue to serve the Celo Community in a valuable way.

There are some items we need for this program to continue:

  • It would need to be funded with more capital, and need to transition from the original stewards to new members of the community.
  • Three of us (Aaron, Maya and Wade) have been approached by the original stewards (Deepak, Dee and Patrick) about our interest in this transition and presenting it as a governance proposal.
  • As a trio, we have had a few calls to get a feel for working together (having not met before), to check if we are committed, and how we would like to see the fund continue and prosper. But this is ultimately up to the community, all of you.

Overview

The Celo Community Fund was originally brought to life with Celo Governance Proposal 17, as a means of disbursing the protocol-level rewards which is topped up every epoch for use in the Celo ecosystem . To date the fund has:

  • Set itself up as a legal entity allowing the disbursement of grants.
  • Received 73 proposals, 50 were approved and 44 have been contracted (60% success rate).
  • c.$1.6m USD has been contracted.
  • 13% has been spent on management; this is because of legal costs for the set up.

This wouldn’t be possible without the brilliant work done by Patrick Baron, Deepak Nuli, and Dee on creating and administering the first iteration of the CCF. Thank you!

At present, the CCF is no longer open for applications and as such we have come together and are hoping to get approval to continue this stewardship to get the fund open again quickly.

1. CCF2 Goals

  • An essential avenue for ecosystem grants that is independent and not tied to the Celo Foundation.
  • Allows prospective projects the avenue to build upon Celo without having to acquire VC funding
  • Gives smaller projects and entrepreneurs the ability to empower themselves and start their passion project.
  • Fosters a healthy ecosystem
  • Supports decentralization and provides greater transparency
  • Provide a quick turnaround on applications

2. CCF2: What we propose:

  • Get the fund up and running again as soon as we can.
  • Request a new amount of 659k CELO (the same as the original CCF amount).
  • Listening to feedback from the community. We’d like to try and make sure that the continued service of CCF is meeting the needs of the community.
  • No current plans to reinvent anything from scratch (unless feedback strongly indicates otherwise).
  • Keeping to the same/similar focus areas (currently they are: on/off ramps/community tools/research & education/other). We would love to see what the community thinks should be the focus areas.
  • We commit to providing transparency and timely updates on the funding.
  • Bringing in, on the ground, locally sensitive support from each continent to help outreach, garner, market and advise on Celo and the CCF.
  • A technical focus on iteratively automating and implementing as much as possible natively on the Celo protocol. With respect to sensitive and in-flight business decisions, blockchains in general provide a solid foundation to increase transparency of design-making and payment data.

3. CCF2 Stewards

We are proposing to keep a similar, but updated structure to CCF1. As noted above, what we’d like to add is some regional perspective. Our initial thoughts are:

  1. Keep to 3 core stewards at the same hourly rate/hours as CCF1 (10hr/week @ $134/hr).
  2. Hire a number of regional experts (potentially 3hr/week paid) to provide real time, locally sensitive advice and support

The role of the stewards is to:

  • Conduct community outreach to get projects built on Celo.
  • Assess applicants and their projects based on their mission, technical ability, merit, and integrity.
  • Build a document to help the current and future operations of the Celo Community fund. We will use the document - CCF v1 - to guide us as we transition.
  • Commit to increased transparency and dialogue with the community.

The role of regional experts is:

  • Conduct community outreach to get projects built on Celo.
  • Steer potential grantees towards the community fund.
  • Provide assistance regarding projects that fall under their geographic or special knowledge area.

The following community members are proposing to become the new CCF2 core stewards: Wade, Aaron and Maya.

Short bios:

Aaron:

  • A career software engineer for nearly 20 years, worked the better part of 15 years in the financial services industry in Australia (banking, insurance, superannuation). Active in the blockchain space since 2013 and advocates for economic self-determination.

  • Involved in the Celo ecosystem since the incentivized testnet and have been supported by the Celo Foundation as an elected validator since genesis. Now founder and operator of VladiatorLabs, a protocol-aligned infrastructure company currently in the process of incorporating in Switzerland and expanding to other proof-of-stake networks, especially in the Cosmos ecosystem. Additionally has worked briefly as a contractor within cLabs on some minor projects.

  • Vladiator Labs is a current CCF1 grant recipient for our block map and attestation tool, a Foundation vote recipient, and a Foundation grant recipient for operating an ODIS signer as part of the phone number privacy module.

  • Freelance Solidity, blockchain, database and cloud engineer.

Maya:

I am passionate about making a positive impact in the world we live in. As a project manager, I spent 5 years running a low carbon technology grant programme, disbursing over £50m GBP. For 7 years I loved working for Save the Children supporting end-to-end grant management in East Africa, identifying, securing, applying and managing funds from a huge variety of donors. Because of these roles I have the unique experience and knowledge of being both the donor and recipient. For the last year I have been Chief Operating Officer for TrustWorks Ltd, a UK based fintech building on Celo, helping them deliver cash transfer programs in Latin America to help refugees/vulnerable users use Celo to meet their basic household needs. My motivation for becoming a steward is to try and enable a slick, simple and transparent granting system and process, whilst helping to expand CCFs impact and further Celo’s reach.

Wade:

I run The Passive Trust, a validator group that has been running on Celo since Genesis. The Passive Trust has used a lot of the funds received from operating the Group and Validator to fund and support projects built on Celo. This includes Moola, Ubeswap, ImpactMarket, Poof Cash and Resource Network. I was initially part of the Mentor/mentee program in The Great Celo Bake Off, my motivation for becoming a steward is to help potential entrepreneurs and engineers to be able to get funding through grants and be given an opportunity like I was. I also run validators for other networks, help with DAO design and connect workers with projects

Socials

  • Aaron: Twitter: BlueThylacine, Linkedin: aaronmboyd, Discord: Thylacine | VladiatorLabs.io#6470

  • Maya: Twitter: maya_brown, Linkedin: maya-richardson-brown-b004b713, Discord: MayaRB#2593

  • Wade: Twitter: ThePassiveTrust, Discord: Wade | TPT#4475

Where To From Here?

We want to open up the discussion and get feedback from the community in this thread. Your feedback is ultimately what will continue to drive the fund and provide a direction to where we take this. Please help us refine our ideas and keep this important avenue for potential entrepreneurs open. We look forward to engaging with you all and appreciate the hard work the original stewards have done to get the CCF to where it is.

Next steps:

  • Please drop us a post, or if interested join a call.
  • We aim to gather all feedback by 31st May 2022.
  • Then share a Governance proposal to be voted on.
18 Likes

I fully support this proposal because I believe that Aaron, Maya, and Wade will be able to continue the important work of getting Celo community resources into the hands of Celo community contributors.

12 Likes

Great to see initiative on this and looking forward to community feedback so this keeps moving.

Big thanks to @Patrick , @deepak and Dee for kicking off CCF in the first place.

6 Likes

Great proposal - very much looking forward to the resurrection of the community fund!

4 Likes

I fully support this as well. I think what the team has done in the past was phenomenal and Aaron, Maya, and Wade have the right experience for the role!

2 Likes

So glad a team of three great people has step into this

I support continuing with the infrastructure (legal entity, etc) CCF1 started. :white_check_mark:

The only thing that I could see might be worth considering a change on are the focus areas.
Is there any analytics or finding from CCF1 on how each focus area faired?
For the new Stewards why would you say these areas are still the best?

I have some doubt about the cash in / out area not because its not important but because it seems like an area where only very large amounts of funding would help and CCF to me is better at small projects for which there is postive externalities, and little capturable value. ie public goods.

The bullet points about the roles, and proposal sound good however we would all benefit from more detail and precision on them before the big vote.

5 Likes

:star_struck: :star_struck: :star_struck:
O nice, I want to build all kinds public service utility stuff just so that user’s lives on the chain is more convenient. Some kind of community petty cash pool for small project is just what im excited about.

5 Likes

Thank you for your support @aaronmgdr

We wanted to start the conversation off with these areas because they were previously a priority and were focused on in the initial CCF. The intention was that awesome people like you would step in and provide feedback on what they think will benefit the community better. You have very good points and potentially larger amounts are needed for the on/off ramps. We will keep it in mind as we receive more feedback and adjust accordingly. Are there any other specific items you would like to see as a focus area apart from public goods? which looks like others share the same opinion and it should be a focus area.

From the data we have. Here is a breakdown of the focus areas and projects funded:

  • on/off ramp: 25
  • Community tool: 21
  • Education: 8
  • Research: 1
1 Like

Great proposal! Happy to see an initiative for reopening the Celo Community Fund. This is a great tool for founders in emerging economies. I’m open to collaborating and making this a success story.

All the best!

3 Likes

I am in support of this proposal :raised_hands:

Go Aaron, Maya, and Wade!

5 Likes

Great proposal! I’m fully supportive. As you asked :slight_smile: i’d love an additional focus by the CCF on developer tooling improvements and things that make life easier for builders and everyday users – often small but they tend to get missed in the noise. If your grant process is lightweight enough, hopefully we can get movement there!

5 Likes

I join in saying: a big thanks to @Patrick, @deepak and Dee!

3 Likes

Very excited to see this re-energized Aaron, Maya and Wade!!! :raised_hands:t3: Thank you Deepak, Patrick and Dee for laying the foundation for the community fund.

6 Likes

Hi @tim, great feedback - I’ve added it to our list we are compiling.

1 Like

Big thanks to Patrick, Deepak and Dee!

Like others, I’m very much in support and looking forward to seeing what the next evolution of the community fund will look like.

:earth_africa: :earth_americas: :earth_asia:

4 Likes

I do think having a more in depth discussion regarding areas of focus could be a good idea. After all, there is already a fund by Celo Foundation for on/off ramps. Wouldn’t it be better to have a focus on other areas lacking funds?

Maybe there could even be a conversation with other grant giving organisms in Celo, so the CCF knows which gap it fills, rather than just picking where the CFF1 left.

1 Like

yes - this is a great point and something we plan to hopefully do.Thank you!

2 Likes

Oh yeah, let the projects grow!

2 Likes

Id like to offer up a proposal for Focus Areas.

  • Translations of existing resources into other (human) Languages
  • New or expanded Educational Resources such as tutorials
  • Celo Monitoring Tools (eg, reserve historic balance, celo gas price dashboard etc)
  • Maintenance on existing resources
  • Developer Tools

One general goal Id like us for the projects funded to be beneficial to the community as they are and not need additional funding except maybe in the case of monitoring for spend on infrastructure.

3 Likes

Thank you all for the amazing support!

@luisotravez Thanks for your comments. Totally agree that there is a lot of support for on-off ramps at present, It is also good to note that a lot of the CCF1’s grants were supporting this focus area. There does seem to be demand and it is essential to Celo’s mission. The focus areas should also not be where the grants stop, We will support any applications that come in and have merit.

@aaronmgdr thanks for answering with some great ideas. I’ve added them to the list of suggestions that we are compiling. We would like to engage the community and ultimately the grantees in this because it should act as a collective. We have created a discord poll for others to interact with and show support for the ideas presented. This isn’t a vote but a way for the community to show their support for each of the ideas and help guide us.

3 Likes