A good start to the year!

Q1 update from Rebecca Rumbul

Now that we are firmly in Q2 of 2022, I wanted to update everyone on what the Foundation did internally during Q1, and how we are building a solid, sustainable organisation.

The Rust Foundation exists to steward the Rust language and support the Rust ecosystem. Externally, this should manifest in visible programs that provide various resources to individuals and/or to the entire Rust ecosystem. Internally, in practice, that involves a lot of legal, financial and administrative work to create, administer and organise those programs. International financial transactions for everything from membership dues to on-call contracts, salary payments to grant awards, need to be managed in a timely fashion. Even in-kind contributions require a fair bit of admin to manage. Legally, we need to ensure that we are complying with local and international laws that regulate our activities, that the Rust marks are secure and not open to abuse, that we have the right copyright and licensing policies in place, and that we are able to conduct the work we are constituted to do across multiple jurisdictions with vastly different legal structures. Generally, we have to have internal policies and procedures in place like any other organisation, to govern and manage things like human resources, security, records management and governance. We also need to manage our communications across channels, such as the website, social media and press, and administer our membership and our Board. These are just the things that we need to keep on top of to maintain a viable and legally compliant organisation.

The first three months of 2022 represented a new beginning for the Foundation with regard to setting up processes for all of these things, identifying what we are legally responsible for, and starting to map our exposure to risk.

I won’t provide an exhaustive list of every action we have taken, as we have done rather a lot, but below is an outline of the kinds of things we have been working on to ensure that the Rust Foundation is fit for purpose.

Staffing & Administration

We welcomed three new employees to the Foundation in Q1, so immediately had to ensure that we had the ability to run payroll in the UK and US, provide benefits, and write up policies and processes for things like leave, travel, security, grievance, health and safety, and personal development. We also set up internal structures for email/alias use, records management, developed an intranet, registered and migrated our email to rustfoundation.org (with a planned migration of the website to follow), analysed legacy documentation, and investigated and acquired subscriptions to perform necessary tasks (buffer, quickbooks, docusign etc).

Finance & Legal

Ensuring our financial and legal obligations are met is a top priority. If we are in contravention of laws in any of the jurisdictions that we operate in, or if we are in debt or insolvent, then the whole organisation is in serious and immediate jeopardy. In Q1, we focused on ensuring we had the correct registrations, insurance and indemnity in the UK and US, suitable bank accounts, and legal agreements between our official entities to govern financial transactions. We also instigated the process of bringing our finance functions in-house, to reduce our expenditure and reliance on external consultants. Legally, we have mapped the legislation that we are subject to, consulted with legal counsel in the UK and US, and have pushed forward with trademarking Rust around the world.

There remains a huge amount of work we need to do on legal, security and compliance issues. We will likely be reaching out to Project members to help us understand what our exposure to risk or legal obligation might be, and it is likely that we may need to implement some new policies or procedures to ensure infrastructure is secure.

In addition to internal matters, we have been preparing the financial and legal basis for the Community Grants Program. Distributing funds around the world can get complicated, and we need formal agreements to ensure that we have an audit trail in place to meet our obligations as a non-profit.

Membership

Our membership is growing steadily, and we now have 26 Silver and 6 Platinum members. Our bylaws state that once we had over 10 Silver members, a representative of the membership class could be elected onto the Board of Directors. We supported an election campaign and voting period between January-March, using ElectionBuddy to run the election itself, and we welcomed winner Andrew Wafaa of Arm to the Board.

We have been working with members on a Member Spotlight series for the Foundation blog, and we are in the process of working on some guest blogs from them. We are also reviewing our membership offer, and considering how we might be able to improve that.

Community Grants Program

One of the top priorities for the Foundation has been getting the Community Grants Program up and running. We needed to build a mechanism for funding the community that was appropriate, effective, inclusive and impactful. We consulted with a lot of individuals in the funding and OSS space, and devised and ran a community survey to shape our funding structures. We drafted and redrafted proposals to ensure the Program was approved by the Board, and held several discussions with Project Directors to ensure the details were right. We had to investigate and choose a platform to manage the application process, write up all of the guidance, application questions and application materials, and devise a scoring matrix.

Communications

The Foundation wants to be open and transparent with the community, and to communicate effectively. We have made some minor changes and additions to the website, which now has more useful information accessible to all. We have continued with our AMAs, and we have reduced our reliance on external consultants for the management of our social media. We are reaching out to the wider traditional media on a regular basis to ensure that Rust is promoted and that it remains relevant and admired in the wider tech world. We are proactively talking to journalists, and want to showcase positive stories in Rust, so do reach out if you have any stories that we could share!

Finally...

I realise this blog is completely focused on our internal activities this year, and that this may not be of interest to a lot of people, but I want to ensure that we are communicating how much we are actually doing. We are working very hard across a lot of different areas to build and sustain the Rust Foundation, so that it can effectively work for the benefit of the community. The team has achieved a lot in a very short space of time this year, and we look forward to growing and diversifying our programs of support.