Dec. 30th, 2014

denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
Stumptown Syndicate, the 501(c)(3) organization that puts on a bunch of wonderful events including Open Source Bridge (which is probably my favorite conference) is running a fundraiser right now, and the wonderful Sumana Harihareswara (aka [personal profile] brainwane) is offering a matching donation: she and her partner will match up to $15,000 donated before 1:30pm PST tomorrow (Dec 31).

Sumana's post goes into a lot of detail about why OSB and Stumptown Syndicate are worth giving money to. Like her, OSB is the tech conference I've found most welcoming. Now that I've been (last year was my second year) I'm going to make it a point of never missing it again, short of utter disaster. Unlike many conferences, it's about the whole open source ecosystem -- design, documentation, project management, and culture, in addition to programming. It's the most welcoming conference I've ever attended; I've never once felt out of place, marginalized, or uncomfortable there. Their speaker lineup is the most diverse of any conference I've ever seen. They're fabulous at all the small touches that make the event feel like they want everyone there, from taped-off accessibility travel lanes, to catering that takes all manner of diet, food sensitivities, and allergies into account, to a quiet room to hang out in, to inclusive language everywhere -- and so many more little touches that make it clear inclusiveness is a top priority. And, of course, they give back to the open source world in many other ways: all the tools they've developed to run the event are available under an open license, including Open Conference Ware, the engine that runs everything.

There are a lot of conferences in the tech world that I'll go to, but I'll go with my armor up, waiting to stumble over the thing that reminds me I am not what they think of when they think of their target audience. Going to OSB is something you can do without that armor, and once you show up, you get to spend four days hanging out with some of the most amazing people in the tech world and geeking out about the things you love. As Sumana says, this fundraiser will help to take OSB's already-awesome inclusiveness and help it level up: they're hoping to fund childcare, improve the accomodations for Deaf or hard of hearing folks, and enable scholarships and travel assistance for people who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford to attend. I think these are awesome goals!

So, if you have a few bucks you're not using, you can double their reach by donating now and unlocking more of Sumana's matching funds. And if you're looking for a great conference, OSB is running June 23-26 this year; I hope to see you there!
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