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!

Volunteer Appreciation Party – August 24, 2013

Have you volunteered at one of our events? Want to help out in the future? Come party!

To celebrate all of the amazing volunteers come together to make Stumptown Syndicate events successful, we’re throwing a little shindig. Join us on Saturday, August 24 for a picnic in the park with roller skating!

We’ll be providing some party trays from Nicholas Restaurant, picking up some beverages, and securing an alcohol permit for the park. Feel free to bring food or drinks to share (vegan/vegetarian preferred) or games to play.

The Details

When:
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Picnic starts at 1:30pm
Skating starts at 3:30pm
View on Calagator

Where:
Mt. Scott Park & Roller Rink
View Map

Thanks again for all your help making our tech community better. We hope to see you at the party!

Announcing Monthly Happy Hour Socials

Photo by reidab

Photo by reidab

Beginning in August, the Stumptown Syndicate will be hosting a monthly happy hour on the fourth Friday of every month. This is a great opportunity to hang out and mingle with other amazing members of the tech community as well as to meet members of the Stumptown Syndicate.

This month, we’ll be at the Green Dragon (928 SE 9th Ave) from 4-6pm on Friday, August 23rd. Come join us!

Calagator link.

OSCON is next week and we’ll be there! (volunteers needed)

We’ll be at O’Reilly’s OSCON next week. Not only are we running a booth in the non-profit pavilion of the expo hall, but we’re also giving a tutorial called Community-Driven Event Planning. So, please stop by and say hi!

The Expo hall is open during the following times:

  • Tuesday, 7/17: 5:00pm – 6:00pm (Opening Reception)
  • Wednesday, 7/18: 10:00am 4:30pm, 5:40pm – 7:00pm (Booth Crawl)
  • Thursday, 7/19: 10:00am – 5:00pm

If you don’t already have a ticket for OSCON, use the code OS13FOS for a 20% discount, or register for an Expo hall pass (free with code PDXEXPO).

Also, we’re looking for a few volunteers to help staff our booth. If you’re interested in helping for an hour or two, let us know.

Reflecting on Five Years of Open Source Bridge

While Stumptown Syndicate is younger than Open Source Bridge, our annual open source technology conference, many of the same people have been involved in both efforts from their beginnings. As we celebrate our fifth Open Source Bridge, we reflect upon what we have learned so far.

Creating inclusive spaces enables attendees to focus on what matters.

When we feel welcome and safe, we create space to have all sorts of conversations that we wouldn’t be able to have otherwise. We’re able to talk about technology as well as culture and how the two are interrelated. We have the energy to focus on the things that brought us to Open Source Bridge, like wanting to learn a new programming language, or finding out about tools and techniques that will help us do our jobs.

Inclusion is in the details: food, t-shirts, social activities, and more.

The details matter. Over the last 5 years, in response to attendee feedback, we’ve learned that the following ensures everyone feels welcome and is able to participate:

  • enacting a comprehensive Code of Conduct
  • providing food everyone can eat
  • hosting social events where the focus is not on alcohol
  • creating areas of respite away from high-energy social interaction
  • providing event t-shirts in a full range of fits and sizes

And we’re constantly learning and applying more by listening to our community.

Positive change in our community is carried forward.

What we do enables others to go out and use these tools in their own communities, events, and workspaces. Open Source Bridge attendees take what they’ve learned from our event, and they apply this knowledge elsewhere. Our efforts help minorities and allies make the case for the things they need in order to participate everywhere.

The end result is that a more diverse set of people are able to join and contribute, and even people who contributed before have a better experience. We’re still learning and improving, but this is the practice that matters to us, and we’re excited to continue in the future.

We end every conference with a wrap-up and feedback session, where we solicit feedback that shapes future conferences. If you have thoughts on our five years of Open Source Bridge, please share them in the comments!

It’s Official: We’re a 501(c)(3)!

We’re happy to announce that we’ve received confirmation from the IRS of our 501(c)(3) public charity status!

Being granted 501(c)(3) status confers several new benefits:

  • Your individual contributions are tax-deductible. This is retroactive to our founding in December 2010.
  • We are eligible for matching programs offered by many of your employers.
  • Matching programs can match cash donations as well as volunteer hours.
    We are eligible for many free or discounted services, like Google apps, and products, like beer.
  • We can apply for many grants and other donations from foundations. Many companies are associated with foundations but can only give to another 501(c)(3).

Now that we’ve been recognized as a 501(c)(3), we’re ready to move forward with a number of initiatives.

Revising our membership structure

Our current membership structure doesn’t accurately reflect the kind of support we need or the kind of offerings we provide to the community. We’re currently working on a revised membership program. Look for this to debut in July of this year (after Open Source Bridge).

Establishing an office and community space

One of our main goals has always been to have a physical space to support our activities, our members, and our community. We’ve begun the search for a location to lease. With the support of our members, we would like to find and move into a space sometime this fall. Our vision for this space includes being able to host board and planning meetings, as well as small- to medium-sized user groups, hackathons, and workshops.

Providing fiscal sponsorship

An important part of our mission is to support those of you who want to run events and user groups. One way we can do this is by providing fiscal sponsorship, meaning that we provide the business and financial infrastructure you need to run your programs. We’re currently working out the details of this program and we’ll announce details over the summer.

How can I help?

There are many ways to pitch in. The simplest is to donate.

If you’d like to volunteer your time, let us know by completing our volunteer interest form. We have many opportunities, from helping to design and implement our new membership program, to helping plan one of our events.

Many Thanks

Thank you to the entire Syndicate board for helping put together our application. Thank you especially to Kirsten who dove in and helped us get our financials together so we could submit our application to the IRS on time.

And, of course, thank you to the many contributors and volunteers who make all of our activities possible in the first place!

Celebrate with us this Friday, 5/10, 4-6pm

We’d like to celebrate this milestone with all of you. Please join us this Friday, May 10th from 4-6pm at the Green Dragon (calagator).

Celebration of Life for Igal Koshevoy: Sunday, 4/21, 4pm-7pm at First Unitarian

We are planning a Celebration of Life for our friend and colleague, Igal Koshevoy. We welcome all who wish to participate, volunteer, and contribute to these efforts.

Igal’s memorial will be Sunday, April 21st from 4-7pm at First Unitarian Church, 1211 SW Main St, Portland, OR (map). Please RSVP at Eventbrite so we can plan accordingly. You can sign up as a volunteer when you RSVP, or by contacting carolynn@tenx.org.

We have set up koshevoy.net to help our community celebrate Igal’s life. Please share memories, photos or words of remembrance, and read what others have shared. We have also created a Facebook page, and on Twitter we request that you use the hashtag #igalko or his twitter handle @igalko.

Stumptown Syndicate is accepting contributions on behalf of Friends of Igal Koshevoy, if interested please read the Contribute page.

Goodbye, Igal

IgalSometime early Tuesday, April 9, Igal Koshevoy left us, following a long struggle with depression. He was a beloved member of our open source technology community, and will be missed.

Igal was a volunteer and core contributor for a large number of projects and groups in the Portland tech scene. He helped create Calagator, our community calendar, and became one of its core maintainers. He coordinated a number of user groups for several years, including pdxruby, pdxfunc, and pdxdevops. He was one of the founding committee members for Open Source Bridge, spending long nights to develop our OpenConferenceWare software in time to launch the conference. He hosted some of the most enlightening and entertaining BarCamp Portland and WhereCampPDX sessions on topics like Trains!, Strange Maps, Things that Hover, and more. He was also a skilled photographer and friend to all cats.

Igal, our community won’t be the same without you. We miss you very much.

We will be planning a memorial service. Please contact board@stumptownsyndicate.org if you would like to participate, or leave a comment here.

Join us at next week’s Town Hall!

Stumptown Syndicate will be having a town hall meeting next week on Wednesday, August 29th from 7-10pm at the offices of Geoloqi.

We’ve been busy planning our upcoming year of programs, and we want to tell you about what we’re working on and how you can get involved. We’re looking for people to join several new committees to work on projects for Stumptown Syndicate in general, as well as each of our program activities. We hope you can join us on Wednesday.