Member Funded Initiatives Program (the “MFI Program”)
Last Updated: December 19, 2017
As a benefit of membership, the Eclipse Foundation accepts funding from its members, either directly or through its industry working groups, and uses these funds to organize, coordinate, and oversee a funded initiative on the member’s behalf. The Member Funded Initiatives Program, described herein, defines the process for accepting and managing these funding contributions.
Background and Motivation
The predominance of development on all Eclipse projects is done by, and/or for the benefit of, one or more of our member companies. Communities are built around these projects, and the development work on projects happens without any action or engagement taken by the Eclipse Foundation.
Individual member companies often collaborate directly with each other on common initiatives, with each of those members funding the various aspects of the projects. Again, the Foundation is not directly engaged in this work.
The same is true for Eclipse Working Groups, which are governance structures created to enable collaborative development and promotion of Eclipse projects in a particular vertical or area of interest to the benefit of the working group member companies. While the rules for governance are defined by the working group’s charter, the specific work done on the Eclipse projects that are related to a working group does not directly involve the Foundation.
However, there are times when member companies would prefer to have Eclipse Foundation, or one of its working groups, lead an initiative, rather than to do so themselves.
As an example, there are often technologies or capabilities that sit outside the main thrust of the mainstream projects that are important to the overall growth of the broader community. This can be general capabilities, shared libraries, etc. Funding to support development of these capabilities is typically not seen as the responsibility of any particular member, and often it is difficult to find creative ways for these technologies and capabilities to get developed. In many of these cases, it may be desirable to have the working group direct funding from its annual budget to ensure the development gets done.
As a second example, multiple member companies may wish to “pool” their financial resources to see a shared technology get developed for their direct benefit. That is, rather than entering into a separate collaboration agreement with each other to jointly fund a project, the member companies would prefer to contribute their share of the cost of a development initiative managed by the Foundation or a working group.
Funding initiatives are not limited to just development tasks. There are also occasions where member companies wish to contribute funds to drive, for example, marketing and communications initiatives, or to drive community development activities over an extended period of time.
Funding Mechanism Details - MFI Agreements
Funding to support the Eclipse Foundation carrying out a particular initiative can come from any of:
- an individual member company wishing to fund an initiative by itself,
- a group of member companies wishing to contribute jointly to a funded initiative, or
- a working group’s overall annual budget.
In the case of funding coming from an individual member company or a group of companies, each participating member company will enter into an Eclipse Foundation Member Funded Initiative Agreement (“MFI Agreement”) with the Foundation. The MFI Agreement will specify, at a minimum, the amount of the contribution, the initiative being supported, and the desired outcome. In the case of “pooled initiatives”, each member company will enter into an individual MFI Agreement with the Foundation, with a note indicating these funds are being combined with other funds to enable the common initiative to proceed.
In the case of funding coming from a working group’s annual budget, a representative of the working group steering committee will make a formal request to the Foundation to initiate the MFI. This request must be in accordance with the working group charter, and within its approved budget. In this case, the request must state the amount of the commitment and the initiative being supported. Unlike funding contributions made by member companies, no MFI Agreement will be required when funding comes from the working group budget, as the working group is managed directly by the Eclipse Foundation. Rather, a Working Group MFI Statement of Work will be agreed to by the steering committee representative. As part of the formal working group process, it is expected that all MFI Statements of Work be read into the minutes of the working group to ensure maximum transparency among all members.
In all cases, the Eclipse Foundation will begin an associated Funded Initiative Effort, as described below, once the terms are finalized and the contributions are received.
For its efforts and to help sustain and enhance the MFI Program, beginning January 1, 2018, the Eclipse Foundation will charge the fees as shown in Table 1. These fees are charged annually, and for each funded initiative. In the case of working groups, each working group’s funded initiatives will be treated as one.
|Table 1: Annual Fee (per initiative or working group)|
|15% of the 1st $500,000 in contributions (min $4000)|
|10% of the next $1,500,000 in contributions|
|6% of any contributions thereafter|
MFI Agreements will not guarantee the delivery of any particular service or capability, but instead will state the intention to do so on a best efforts basis. Note that should Eclipse Foundation be unable to carry out the initiative (for example, a suitable subcontractor to carry out the development effort cannot be found) within 6 months of receiving a contribution, then the funds shall be returned to the funding organization, the MFI Agreement terminated, and Eclipse Foundation will charge no fee for their service.
Funded Initiative Efforts
Eclipse Foundation will, in most cases, engage with members of the Eclipse community and other experts, to fulfill the tasks associated with the initiative. For example, the Foundation will subcontract with the qualified developers from the community to fulfill initiatives that call for development of code.
All development work subcontracted by the Foundation will be done in accordance with the Eclipse Development Process, and the work will be contributed to the appropriate working group project(s). While not strictly limited, it is the intention to, whenever possible, subcontract with members of the working group community to carry out the work. The reason for this is to benefit those with membership, and to strengthen the ecosystem.
It is expected that Eclipse Foundation will turn to either the contributing member companies or the working group itself to assist with the technical specification of the development effort’s work schedules, and with the oversight of the development efforts as they proceed.
For More Information
For more information, or to engage with Eclipse Foundation in a member funded initiative, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.