The Rust Foundation Community Grants Program 2022 Opens for Applications

The Rust Foundation is delighted to announce that its Community Grants Program 2022 is now open.

As many of you know by now, the Community Grants Program is a mechanism to provide funds to the Rust development community to support their work. We have consulted widely in building the Program, and want to thank everyone who took the time to give us their ideas and advice.

We know that Rust is growing incredibly fast. Its popularity is increasing, the user base is growing, and innovation is happening globally. This is testament to what a great language Rust is, and we want to maintain that momentum to ensure that Rust is sustainable and fit for purpose in the long term. Our consultation identified some key challenges - the well known ‘steep learning curve’ in learning Rust, the fact that maintainers and Teams are generally overstretched, and the gaps in resources available to address existing issues. We have designed the Community Grants Program to tackle some of these challenges.

It is surprisingly complex figuring out how to distribute financial awards to a large, diverse and highly technical community. We had to understand the priorities, motivations and challenges that community members have. We had to ensure the Program, as a global initiative, was meaningfully supporting diversity and inclusion. We had to consider how funding certain activities might impact upon the work of others. And we had to balance the need to make the process ‘light-touch’ with the need to be accountable for our spending and to enable us to demonstrate impact to our funders.

The Rust Foundation Community Grants Program 2022 has a budget of $625,000 thanks to our generous donors AWS, Huawei and Google. It is comprised of four funding streams to support diverse needs across the Rust community:

  • Rust Foundation Fellowships: A one-year award available for up to 20 individuals providing a stipend of $1,000 USD per month, plus a travel and training budget.
  • Project Grants: Single awards made to individuals, groups, or organizations for discrete pieces of work in the range of $1,000 to $20,000.
  • Event Support Grants: Single awards ranging from $100 to $500 to support events
  • Hardship Award Grants: Single awards ranging from $500 to $1,500 made to community members facing financial hardship.

We know from the consultation that community members are particularly interested in individual forms of sponsorship over a sustained period. We therefore designed the Rust Foundation Fellowship to provide a package of support to individual maintainers in the Rust Project that goes beyond a financial stipend. This will provide Fellows with a range of opportunities to learn complementary skills, attend events, and network with different stakeholders in the Rust ecosystem, while working on the Rust activities that most interest them. The Fellowship will also bring new faces and diversity to the maintainer community. These new community members will benefit from mentorship from the Project Teams, and be poised to become the Rust leaders of the future.

We heard many times during our consultation that bug fixes, documentation, learning materials and new features were priorities for a wide range of people invested in Rust. Our Project Grants are designed to enable a wide range of activities to address these kinds of issues, as well as to invest in innovative new projects that will benefit the wider community. We have set a cap on Project Grants at $20,000 to ensure that we can fund a wide range of activities all over the world.

This is the first time an initiative such as this has been developed for the Rust community. We believe that this mechanism will deliver positive outcomes, targeting funding where it will be impactful for the wider Rust community and ensuring we can evidence the benefits to make the case for future funding. We have structured the application and award process to be fair, inclusive and accountable, and we will be publishing full details of our decisions (except in the case of hardship awards). We are committed to learning from our experience of running this Program and will iterate to ensure we are providing the best possible package of support.

All the information on eligibility, how to apply, and FAQs can be found here.

All of us at the Foundation are genuinely excited about the great people and projects that will be supported through the Community Grants Program. We look forward to receiving your applications!