We’re up for a Yelp Grant and need your votes!

YF_Instagram_1080x1080We’re excited to share that Stumptown Syndicate has been nominated for a Yelp Foundation community grant!

The nonprofit with the most votes will receive $5k towards their cause. In our case, that could help with:

  • doubling the speaker travel support budget for OSBridge
  • partnering with Outreachy to hire an intern for Calagator
  • getting us an office and small meeting space

We’re currently in third place right now and could really use your help. You can vote once a day through December 15http://www.yfgiveslocal.org/portland-or/

Please spread the word and vote. Thank you!

Seeking Board Members (Applications due 31 October)

Stumptown Syndicate, the organization behind Open Source Bridge and other local tech events such as BarCamp Portland, Ignite Portland and WhereCampPDX, is seeking applicants to fill at least two open positions on our Board of Directors.

Read on for details and then apply here. Applications close 11:59pm PDT on 31 October, 2015.

About Stumptown Syndicate

Stumptown Syndicate’s mission is to create positive social change by supporting resilient, inclusive tech and maker communities.

We envision a Pacific Northwest that is home to many vibrant, diverse, accessible and inclusive tech communities of caring, actively engaged people. We aspire to serve these communities by facilitating the sharing of resources, knowledge, and experience. We work to build trust and a reputation for excellence among the communities we serve as well as the patrons who support us.

We have guiding principles that inform our decision-making.

Our current program activities include events (Open Source Bridge, BarCamp Portland, Ignite Portland and WhereCampPDX) and stewardship of open source projects Calagator and OpenConferenceWare as well as the Citizen Code of Conduct.

Future planned program activities include local user group support; fiscal sponsorship of related community projects; safety, diversity & inclusion training and support; and more.

We would like to hire a paid Executive Director in early 2016. As a director, you will be a part of the recruitment and selection process.

Board qualifications & requirements

There are no specific requirements for being a Syndicate Director. Prior non-profit experience is helpful, but not required. You must be able to attend monthly board meetings, either in person or via teleconference. You do not have to live near Portland, Oregon.

We will provide training to help get you up to speed on non-profit issues and related matters. Please apply if you’re interested in furthering our mission even if you don’t think you know enough about running a non-profit.

Serving on a non-profit board in Oregon comes with certain legal obligations, a good overview of which can be found at Oregon’s Attorney General website page about non-profit board service.

Board Responsibilities

  • Makes final decisions on policies relation to mission, programs, finances, personnel, and public relations.
  • Provides leadership and expertise with technical needs as identified by executive director and staff: for example, legal, accounting, marketing, and fundraising.
  • Expected to know the mission, history, policies, and programs of the organization.
  • Expected to know the duties the board delegates to staff and/or volunteers.
  • Available to be consulted by staff and/or volunteer consultation on matters of related to the organization.
  • Acts as both an informal and, when requested, formal ambassador and spokesperson for the organization.
  • Hires and evaluates the executive director.
  • Ensures financial support by participating in fundraising planning and activities.
  • With the help of the staff and volunteers, evaluates and updates the work of the organization to ensure that it is meeting its mission.

What we expect from you as a board member

  1. I will give my best effort to “hit the ground running” when beginning my service with the board.
  2. I will learn about the organization’s mission and programs, and be able to describe them accurately.
  3. I understand that the board meets 12 times per year, plus one annual full-day retreat. I will do my best to attend each meeting, with the understanding that three consecutive unexcused absences will be considered resignation from the board. Board meetings may be attended remotely via phone or teleconference. The annual retreat should be attended in person.
  4. I accept fiduciary responsibility for the organization and will oversee its financial health and integrity.
  5. I will provide oversight to ensure that our programs run effectively.
  6. I accept ethical responsibility and will help to hold fellow board members, the executive director (and, by extension, the full staff) to professional standards.
  7. I will serve as an ambassador to the community to educate others and promote our work.
  8. I commit to increasing my skills as a board member.
  9. I will participate in fundraising to ensure that our organization has the resources it needs to meet its mission. Our organization will be one of the top three charities I support each year that I am on the board.
  10. I will evaluate the performance of the executive director.

What board members can expect in return

  1. The organization will provide me a full orientation, including background information on work accomplished to date.
  2. The organization will provide me with relevant materials and education.
  3. I expect board meetings to be well run and productive, with a focus on decision-making, rather than reporting. I understand that agendas will be distributed at least one week in advance. If I wish to add items to the agenda, I will contact the chair at least two weeks in advance.
  4. I expect timely, accurate, and complete financial statements to be distributed at least quarterly, one week in advance of the relevant board meeting. I also expect to be trained to interpret these financial statements.
  5. I expect monthly reports from the executive director, program updates, press clippings, etc.
  6. The organization will provide me with relevant training.
  7. I will need materials and may need training (public speaking, etc.) to do this job effectively.
  8. The organization will provide me with appropriate training and support.
  9. I will be able to choose from a range of fundraising activities, and I expect relevant training and support to help me fulfill my obligations.
  10. Evaluation of the E.D. will be based on goals developed jointly by the board and the E.D.

What is the time commitment?

Directors can expect to spend an average of 2-5 hours a week on Syndicate business.

The term length for directors is 3 years and starts December 1st.

What is the compensation?

Board members are volunteers and are not compensated. Reasonable expenses will be reimbursed (e.g., childcare, transportation, meals, approved training).

Do you carry Directors & Officers insurance?

Yes, we do.

Additionally, as a volunteer board member of an Oregon non-profit, you have “qualified immunity,” as explained by the Attorney General:

To encourage citizens to serve as board members for charities, the law cloaks volunteer board members with qualified immunity. They cannot be sued for negligent acts. They may, however, be subject to lawsuits alleging that a loss was due to their gross negligence, willful or fraudulent acts.

Read more about serving on an Oregon non-profit board here.

Are they any perks to being a Syndicate Director?

Fame and vast opportunities for wealth! Just kidding. There is a certain visibility to being a Director, but the biggest reason for serving is that you get to help make the Portland tech community (and beyond) better and more vibrant.

What are some reasons for serving on the Syndicate board?

Some specific reasons to apply to be on our board:

  • You’ve attended one of our events and it’s been meaningful to you, and you want to see those events continue to happen.
  • You’ve had an idea for a new event or an idea about how to improve an event we’re already doing.
  • You’d like to make our community even more welcoming and supportive by improving safety, diversity and inclusion.
  • You’d like to see Calagator or OpenConferenceWare continue to improve and thrive. You’d like to support Outreachy or other interns contributing to these projects.
  • You’d like to see another Portland Tech Workshop happen. Maybe more than one?
  • You’d like to help us figure out how to fundraise enough so that more people can get paid to work on our events and so that we can have a scholarship fund to bring anyone who wants to attend one of our events can do so.

How to Apply & Application Deadline

We encourage all those who are interested to apply no later than 11:59pm PDT on 31 October, 2015 here:


Questions? Email the board: board@stumptownsyndicate.org.

We look forward to hearing from you!


Chuck Lauer Vose joins the Syndicate Board

Chuck Lauer Vose - Red HairWe are excited to have Chuck Lauer Vose join our Board of Directors, starting this month. Chuck has been active in many meetups and events locally, including PDX Ruby, founding Hack & Help, and generally being super encouraging to beginner programmers in town.

Chuck was born on the fringes of society and adopted by a well-meaning pack of weasels who taught him how to dance; he’s been leaning on that skill ever since. He also works with Kirsten on PDX.rb and serves on the curriculum advisory board for Epicodus. At work, he writes Ruby code that makes the world a better place to live. If you need to find him, look for “the tall guy with the hair” (seriously).

Welcome, Chuck!

Clarification regarding Ignite Portland and other local Ignites

In light of recent events, we feel compelled to issue the following clarification.

Stumptown Syndicate’s Ignite Portland is a separate event from and not related to the recently canceled Ignite Bridgetown or the upcoming Ignite TAO.

Ignite Portland is a continuation of the first Ignite-branded event held in Portland. It was originally hosted by Legion of Tech, and Stumptown Syndicate kept the Ignite Portland flame burning when Legion of Tech ceased its programs in 2011. The Stumptown Syndicate Code of Conduct applies to Ignite Portland, is it does to all of our events.

The current planning committee for Ignite Portland includes: Sherri Koehler, Reid Beels, J-P Voilleque, Lucas Charles, Alicia Nagel, and Steve Lewis. To our knowledge, there is no overlap between the current organizers of Ignite Portland and that of Ignite Bridgetown, or the Ignite event that TAO is hosting.

Ignite Portland 13 is scheduled for April 8th (RSVP) and we’re currently accepting proposals through February 22nd.

You met our fundraising challenge — thank you!

Open Source Bridge 2014

Thank you to all our donors for meeting our fundraising goal for 2014; nearly a hundred of you donated, and Dreamwidth gave $7,000 to finish matching Sumana Harihareswara’s challenge.

We can’t say enough how much we appreciate your support, and your vote of confidence in what Stumptown Syndicate is doing. OpenHatch called the Portland tech community “a global leader in showing how open source can be welcoming, diverse … hospitable.” We have experienced that ourselves, and we look forward to using this $30,000 to make it truer than ever.

You’ll see more details in the coming months, but for now: thank you!

Please match this $15,000 donation by December 31st at 1:30pm!

Update 12/31 1:30pm PT: WE DID IT!! Nearly 100 of you donated over $8,500.00 and another donor has offered the difference needed to match Sumana’s $15k. Thank you so much everyone! We’re looking forward to an amazing 2015.

This is a guest post by Sumana Harihareswara, Open Source Bridge speaker 2010-2014

Sumana at Open Source Bridge. Photo by @reidab.

Sumana at Open Source Bridge. Photo by @reidab.

I’m donating up to $15,000 to the Stumptown Syndicate — depending on how much you are willing to match by December 29th 31st at 1:30pm. Please join me by donating today and doubling your impact!

[olimometer id=1]

Stumptown Syndicate works to create resilient, radically inclusive tech and maker communities that empower positive change. Open Source Bridge, one of its core programs, is the tech conference that has imprinted itself on my heart — informative technical talks, inspiring ideas that help me improve how I do my work, and belly laughs and great food. I love that I can tell friends “Come to OSB!” without having to add “but watch out for…” the way I do with so many other conferences. Hospitality lives in the DNA of Open Source Bridge, so it’s a place where people from different projects and backgrounds can share their experiences as equals. I especially appreciate that it’s an inclusive all-genders tech conference where I’m never the only woman in the room; in fact, in 2014, half the speakers were women.

Liene Verzemnieks at BarCamp Portland. Image by @reidab.

Liene Verzemnieks at BarCamp Portland. Image by @reidab.

Stumptown demonstrates its values before, during, and after OSBridge, and documents them to make a playbook other event planners can reuse. The Syndicate encourages volunteers to help make Open Source Bridge happen (showing appreciation by giving them free access to the conference), encourages them with a reassuring form and clear expectations, and mentors them with structured orientations. The Code of Conduct, accessible venues, clearly labelled food, cheap or free admissions, and open source conferenceware all model effective and ethical collaboration.

But, until now, Stumptown Syndicate hasn’t had the money to host childcare at its events, to offer travel scholarships to OSBridge speakers from other countries, or improve the audiovisual experience (with faster video processing or transcripts/captioning). And it’s had to host its events at borrowed or rented venues, which reduces the Syndicate’s ability to nurture new events and communities; more money in the bank opens the possibility of a more permanent event space.

Amber Case at Open Source Bridge. Photo by @reidab.

Amber Case at Open Source Bridge. Photo by @reidab.

Still, the Syndicate’s done a lot since its founding in December 2010. Every year, Stumptown Syndicate supports or directly hosts 2-4 events in Portland. Hundreds of participants have grown, personally and professionally, via OSBridge, WhereCampPDX, Ignite Portland, BarCamp Portland, and the user groups it supports. Its work on Calagator keeps the community connected, and its focus on inclusion and diversity has helped everyone in Portland’s tech scene benefit. Including, probably, you, if you’re reading this. And it’s done that with about $110,000 each year, a mix of donations and sponsorships.

With your help, the Syndicate can plan further in advance and make the events you already love even better. And if Stumptown Syndicate volunteers don’t have to worry as much about fundraising, they can concentrate more on revamping Calagator, mentoring newer developers, and enriching Portland’s tech scene — and documenting their successes so people like me can copy them.


That’s why I’m willing to give up to $15,000 to Stumptown Syndicate. I’ll match donations starting today and ending on December 29th, whether corporate or individual, one-time or recurring memberships. Please donate now to help raise $30,000 for the infrastructure of inclusivity!

[olimometer id=1]

Stumptown Syndicate is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Contributions to Stumptown Syndicate are tax-deductible in the U.S.

Syndicate update: Events, software, finance, and our board

Hi all! Here’s an update on Stumptown Syndicate’s program work, finances, board membership, and upcoming activities.

  • Programs
  • Finances
    • Assets: Stumptown Syndicate currently holds $23,246 in assets. This puts us in a confident position regarding our upcoming event planning, including planning for Open Source Bridge 2015. However, we are interested in growing our revenue stream so as to provide a better buffer and open up possibilities for a wider variety of program work (such as supporting more community-led events). For comparison, our position on Oct 31, 2013 was $26,054.
    • OSBridge: To better understand a facet of our income and spending, check out these OSBridge charts:
      Open Source Bridge 2014 Income (as of Oct 16, 2014)

      OS Bridge 2014 Income (as of Oct 16, 2014)

      Open Source Bridge 2014 Expenses (as of Oct 16, 2014)

      OS Bridge 2014 Expenses (as of Oct 16, 2014)

      As the charts illustrate, the bulk of Open Source Bridge’s expenses are for the venue and for food and drink, and the bulk of revenue comes from its sponsors.

  • Our board
    • Departure: We’d like to thank Melissa Chavez for her longtime service to the Stumptown Syndicate board of directors. She decided to step down in September, but is still helping make Open Source Bridge 2015 happen and contributing to other Stumptown Syndicate events. Thank you Melissa!
    • Currently: With Melissa’s departure, the Stumptown Syndicate board of directors is now Christie Koehler, Kirsten Comandich, and Reid Beels.
  • Upcoming
    • Early days: We’re in the initial planning stages for the next BarCamp Portland and Ignite Portland.
    • OSBridge: Stumptown Syndicate is supporting the planning of next year’s Open Source Bridge, which will be June 23–26, 2015, and is discussing the possibility of adding another OSBridge 2015 in another North American city. You can volunteer now to help with next year’s event.

That’s it for now! To keep up on our events and plans, you can always follow us on Twitter and join our announcement mailing list.

And to support us, please consider becoming a supporting member or sponsoring a program year or an individual event, or volunteering (whether you’re in Portland or not!).

Stumptown Syndicate logo

Ignite videos are up!

In case you missed Ignite Portland in November, you can now watch all the videos of the presenters on our YouTube channel.

If you want to further the conversation about anything you see, tweet at us or use the #ip12 hashtag.

We’d also like to thank all the sponsors of Ignite Portland 12 once again: 32 digital, brytCAST, Hollywood Theatre, Maids by Trade, PDX Pop Now, and Social Venture Society.

  brytCAST  Hollywood Theatre

Maids by Trade  PDX POP NOW  Social Venture Society

If you or your company would like to sponsor any of our events in the future, please contact us at sponsor@stumptownsyndicate.org.

Regarding Michael Schwern

Michael Schwern has reached out to us regarding an incident that occurred in September of this year where his actions harmed another community member.

The Stumptown Syndicate Board has concluded that the safety and well-being of our community is best served by not allowing Schwern to attend our events or other activities until such time as we indicate it is appropriate for him to resume involvement. We have communicated this to Schwern.

The board continues to discuss the matter, and we seek ways to collectively restore the health and peace of our community through communication, education, and accountability.

Please contact us with questions/concerns: board@stumptownsyndicate.org.

Welcome Melissa Chavez, our newest Board member!

Effective September 1, Melissa Chavez joins our Board of Directors. Melissa is a long-time contributor to Syndicate activities, most recently serving as Chair of our Communications Committee.

Melissa Chavez gets a surprising amount done without caffeine. She is a web developer and data journalist who utilizes open source technology in her designs, research, mapping, and reporting. In her free time, Melissa documents street art, records locations of unisex and gendered restrooms in the metro area, reads sci-fi, and contemplates world domination.

Welcome, Melissa!