ARDC is Hiring a Grants Manager!

Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) is a California-based foundation with roots in amateur radio and the technology of internet communication. Our mission is to support, promote, and enhance digital communication and broader communication science and technology, to promote Amateur Radio, scientific research, experimentation, education, development, open access, and innovation in information and communication technology.

ARDC seeks an experienced Grants Manager to join our team and grow our grantmaking efforts. Under the direction of the Executive Director, the Grants Manager will serve as a lead team member in organizing the grantmaking wing of our operations.

Duties

  • Tracking all grants in our portfolio, including collecting and compiling reports from grantees.
  • Screening inbound grant applications for eligibility.
  • Engaging in Q&A and negotiations with potential grantees, including preparation of grant agreements.
  • Working with the Treasurer and Executive Director to compile required year-end reporting for 990-PF.
  • Working with the Grants Advisory Committee (GAC) to draft requests for proposals (RFPs) and other materials related to grantmaking.
  • Coordinating with Treasurer to ensure that all grant-related liabilities and expenditures are properly tracked.

Required Knowledge & Skills

  • Minimum of three (3) years of professional grant management experience.
  • Able to manage compliance for our portfolio of issued grants, including reporting.
  • Strong interpersonal, writing, and communication skills.
  • Proficiency in using a range of technology, including LibreOffice, and willingness to learn new technologies.
  • Organized with high attention to detail.
  • Ability to adapt to a continually evolving environment and thrive in a collaborative workplace.

Preferred Knowledge & Skills

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent, particularly in an area related to technology.
  • Familiarity with processes related to expenditure responsibility, equivalency determination, and other requirements related to grantmaking to international organizations, non-501(c)(3)s, and individuals.
  • Familiarity with and involvement in amateur radio, including the possession of an amateur radio license.
  • Familiarity with (and love for) open source software and culture, as well as technological innovation in general.
  • Familiarity with Git and Git workflows (it will be required to use these to do your job).
  • Experience working in startups or other new, growing organizations.

Location

Remote, US.

At this time, we are only able to extend employment to US citizens operating within US states and territories.

Language

English proficiency required.

Salary & Benefits

$60,000 – $80,000 / year, depending on experience

Benefits:

  • Paid Time Off (PTO)
  • Medical insurance premium stipend reimbursement
  • Matched contribution retirement plan
  • Option for 32/hour workweek; some flexibility in work hours

To apply, please submit a cover letter and resume to contact@ampr.org. In your application, please:

  • Send your cover letter and resume as attachments, and
  • Format your attachments so they do not have spaces (e.g. yolanda-jones-cover-letter.pdf).

We look forward to seeing your application!

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Feb. 06 Community Meeting Recap: 2020 Annual Report, New GAC & TAC Members, and more

A couple weeks ago, ARDC got together for first quarterly meeting of the year. We did a similar meeting back in October specifically for 44net. For this one, we invited a much wider audience.
One of the first items was to introduce our new 2021 Advisory Committees. The Grants Advisory Committee (GAC) is now in its second year, and a couple of members from the first year are remaining:

  • Chair: John Hays – K7VE
  • Hank Magnuski – KA6M

We’re also excited to welcome:

  • Douglas Kingston – KD7DK
  • Steve Stroh – N8GNJ
  • Renzo Rossi – IW0SAB
  • Bob Witte – K0NR

After some time in hibernation, we’ve also revived the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), specifically to address and guide the work being done for 44net infrastructure. Two members of the inaugural GAC have moved on to this committee:

  • Chair: Jann Traschewski – DG8NGN
  • Tim Požár – KC6GNJ

And, like the GAC, it also has some new members:

  • Antonios Chariton – SV2OIY
  • Adam Lewis – KC7GDY
  • Caleb Pal – KD7KAB
  • Pierre Martel – VE2PF

Following introductions, we also took a look back at 2020 with our first ever annual report. By the end of the year, we managed to issue nearly $2.7 million in grants, which included funding for over 120 scholarships.

To learn more about our activities in 2020, read the full report here.

We also got to take a look at what 2021 has in store for us. Of course, that includes more grantmaking – ideally doubling our giving from 2020, which means we have a lot of work to do.
In service of making it easier to figure out what kinds of projects ARDC is looking to fund (and following some feedback that our 2020 goals were a bit confusing), we’ve revised our grantmaking categories and goals for 2021. At a high level, our grants now fall into three categories:

  • Support and Growth of Amateur Radio,
  • Education, and
  • Technical Innovation.

Education is, of course, specific to amateur radio and digital communications. Technical Innovation has four subcategories:

  • Amateur Radio Technology & Experimentation,
  • Internet Technologies,
  • Digital Communications, and
  • Communication Science and Technology.

For more information about these categories as well as some of our broader goals, please visit:
ampr.org/grantmaking-categories-requirements-goals/

ARDC is also planning some significant investments in 2021. Specifically, we’re looking to invest in 44net infrastructure and improvements – something that the new TAC has already begun brainstorming. Additionally, we’ll be investing in open source grant management software, which can ideally be used far beyond ARDC. We’ll share more about both of those items as they become available.

All of this work means that we’ll be hiring some folks in the coming weeks and months to support these efforts:

  • Grants Manager (Q1)
  • Web Designer and Developer (contract) (Q2)
  • Additional development support for 44net (TBD as determined by TAC)

Look for more information about these coming soon.

For those of you who are interested in watching the full video, you can see it here. Note that the meeting actually gets started at about 13:52.

If you’d like a copy of the slides from the meeting, they’re available here.

If you know of an eligible organization who would be interested in receiving a grant, please send them our way by pointing them to ampr.org/giving to get started.

Last but not least, so many thanks to everyone who showed up. And double thanks to our Board and 2020 GAC – none of this would be possible without them!

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Feb. 6 Community Meeting + New Survey

It’s 2021, and things are already getting off to a running start at ARDC. We’ve got a big year of grantmaking and 44net portal work in store for the year, with additional members being added to our Grants Advisory Committee (GAC) and a new Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) being created to support both efforts. We’ll have more to share about it soon, and we’d love to tell you about it at our next community meeting:

  • Saturday, 06 Feb 2021
  • 18:00 GMT (10am PT / 1pm ET / 7pm CET)

Join us by signing up here.

In this meeting, we’ll cover:

  • Highlights from 2020,
  • Grantmaking goals in 2021,
  • Introductions of new Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and Grants Advisory Committee (GAC) Members,
  • Survey results from our latest survey, discussed below, and
  • Questions from our attendees.

We held a similar meeting on 10 Oct. 2020, which was primarily for people using 44net addresses. This one is intended for a much broader audience. So – please tell your friends! We also plan to record this meeting for those who can’t make it.

New Survey

Leading up to the meeting, we’re also asking amateur radio enthusiasts to give us their thoughts in this survey.

Please share it with other hams you know. As with the last survey, the aim is to get to know the people we aim to support through our grantmaking. And like our upcoming meeting, it too is meant for a broader audience.

That’s all for now! Looking forward to sharing more with everyone soon.

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ARDC now accepting applications for Technical and Grants Advisory Committees – due Jan. 7, 2021

In addition to welcoming new board members – Keith Packard (KD7SQG) and Bob McGwier (N4HY) – ARDC is now welcoming applications for 2021 Technical and Grants Advisory Committee members.

Grants Advisory Committee (GAC)
The job of the GAC is to review and provide advice to the Board regarding inbound grant proposals and other grantmaking opportunities. In 2021, ARDC is looking to process likely hundreds of grant applications for quality projects. The job of the GAC is to review and provide feedback on eligible proposals.

Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)
The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) plans and executes improvements
in the 44net technology, architecture, and policy. In 2021, some of the
TAC’s primary goals will be:

  • oversee a complete rewrite of the Portal
  • improve address allocation policies and responsiveness
  • investigate and instigate next steps toward making IPv6 usable in the Amateur Radio service
  • investigate options for RPKI or other automated subnet verifications

How to Apply
If you are interested in joining either of these committees, please send a resume and brief cover letter to contact@ampr.org by Thursday, Jan. 7, with the name of the committee you’d like to join in the subject line. We’ll review all applications and seek to make a determination by Friday, Jan. 29.

  • These committees meet twice a month for at least an hour. There is also email correspondence and reviews that happen between meetings. Estimated level of effort (LOE) is about 2-3 hours/week.
  • The term for each of these is a year.

For more information about the roles and duties of these committees, you can read the Advisory Committee Policy in full here.

Please direct any questions to contact@ampr.org.

We’re looking forward to seeing your application!

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ARDC welcomes Bob McGwier (N4HY) and Keith Packard (KD7SQG) to our Board of Directors

ARDC is delighted to announce two new members of our Board of Directors:

  • Robert McGwier, N4HY, of Opelika, AL, and
  • Keith Packard, KD7SQG, of Portland, OR.

Both bring long and valuable experience in ham radio, digital communications and open source development to ARDC’s mission of managing the amateur TCP/IP network and its new grantmaking foundation.

Keith Packard, KD7SQG, was first licensed as a Novice (WB7OQI) in 1977. Keith has developed free software since 1986, working on the X Window System, Linux, amateur rocketry and educational robotics. Mr. Packard and fellow board member Bdale Garbee design rocketry electronics with GPS receivers and amateur radio digital telemetry systems in the 70cm band. Keith volunteers in local schools teaching computer programming and robotics to students from ages 10-17. He received the Usenix Lifetime Achievement award in 1999, an O’Reilly Open Source award in 2011 and sits on the X.org foundation board.

Dr. Robert McGwier, N4HY, has been licensed since 1964. He holds a PhD in Applied Mathematics from Brown University. He was an early pioneer of software defined radio (SDR) for both government and amateur applications through his position at the Institute for Defense Analyses Center for Communication Research, as a long time technical contributor to AMSAT and GNU Radio, and as an architect and software author for Flex Radio. Bob founded Federated Wireless Inc in 2012 and Hawkeye 360 Inc in 2017.  He holds major awards from the Dayton Hamvention and the Central States VHF Society.  Bob recently moved back to his home state of Alabama after retiring from Virginia Tech as a professor, Director of Research and Chief Scientist of the Hume Center.  He has most recently served as a member of the ARDC Grant Advisory Committee.

The rest of the ARDC board welcomes Bob and Keith, and we look forward
to working with them.

The ARDC Board now has the following members:

Phil Karn, KA9Q (President and Chair), San Diego, CA
Bdale Garbee, KB0G, Black Forest, CO
John Gilmore W0GNU, San Francisco, CA
kc claffy, KC6KCC, San Diego, CA
Bob McGwier, N4HY, Opelika, AL
Keith Packard, KD7SQG, Portland, OR

ARDC’s Executive Director is Rosy Wolfe, KJ7RYV, Portland, OR.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out: contact@ampr.org.

Welcome, Bob and Keith!

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Office Hours 2020-11-12

View the Office Hours meeting video, chat text or audio only here:

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Recap: ARDC + 44net 0ct. 10 Community Call (including survey results!)

On Saturday Oct. 10, 2020, 44net + ARDC did something we’d never done before: got on a video call together to talk about, well, ARDC and 44net.

Specifically, we:

  • Introduced the ARDC Board, Grants Advisory Committee, and staff;
  • Reviewed ARDC granting goals and grants made to-date;
  • Reviewed the results of ARDC’s survey (which you can see here); and
  • Enjoyed some Q+A about all of the above.

Though the call started with some technical hiccups (namely moving from Jitsi to Zoom to accommodate bandwidth), folks seemed to enjoy it enough to want to do this kind of thing more often. Stay tuned for more info about future public meetings and office hours!

Also – we heard from some folks who were sad they didn’t know about the call. If you were one of those people, please know we hear you and will be setting up future Town Halls open to everyone in the amateur radio + digital communications world! This first meeting was intended to create a space specific to 44net. In the future, we may hold meetings specifically for people with other particular interests – like satellites or education, for example – as well as those that are intended for a general ARDC audience.

Whether you were there or not, feel free to take a look at the materials from the meeting:

Throughout the call, people posted questions in the chat. Those questions and their answers are posted below. Note that grammatical adjustments have been made to some questions; otherwise, they should match the questions in the chat.

Many thanks to everyone who participated on the call! Many more thanks to the ARDC Board and the Grants Advisory Committee, who are all volunteering their time to this effort. And here’s to more great calls like this one!

Q+A

How do you accept applicants for grant making?

As of right now, grant proposals are accepted on a rolling basis. Applicants are asked to submit a proposal for review by the Grants Advisory Committee (GAC) and final approval by the Board. All proposed projects must be in alignment with ARDC’s mission and at least one of our granting goals.

During the review and approval process, the team checks for:

  • Eligibility?
  • Team capability?
  • Do we have a budget for this?
  • Does this meet one of ARDC’s Granting Goals?
  • How similar / different is this proposal from other ARDC grants?

You can learn more about eligibility and requirements at:
ampr.org/giving/

If you’d like to submit a proposal, you may do so at:
mailman.ampr.org/hotcrp/

Note that the details of this process may change in the future, such as creating granting windows for specific types of projects. Whenever that happens, we’ll announce it here on ampr.org.

You mention the entities you can give legally grants to. Does this mean that all of these entities are considered to receive grants today, or is this just an ability?

This question is in reference to our slide about eligible organizations:

As a US-based private foundation, we have to follow specific laws and regulations with regards to our grantmaking. As of right now, we have the administrative and legal capability to give to:

  • 501(c)(3) public charities (US)
  • Projects / organizations that are fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) public charity (US)
  • Government entities (US)
  • Schools and universities (US)

We are currently working on creating the legal and administrative framework to be able to make grants to businesses, individuals, and organizations outside of the US, beginning with grants to non-US 501(c)(3) equivalents. We’ll announce updates to this capability when we have more information.

So far, if I remember the amount correctly, $2.5M has been given. All eligible entities marked as “International” are in the “Future” category. Does this mean that 100% of this amount has been given to US entities?

No. Part of that amount represents an approved grant to a nonprofit in Germany. We are currently working through the required legal process – called equivalency determination – in order to give to this organization. Once we have gone through this process, we’ll have a clearer understanding of what it entails and can post more details.

Maybe I have missed this, but are there any diversity metrics for the Grant Committee?

There are no diversity metrics at this time for either the grants committee or the grants being made. That said, for 2021, we would like to:

  • Have greater representation from the international community on the GAC and Board,
  • Have greater representation from women, non-white, and other underrepresented groups on the GAC and Board, and
  • Make as many international grants as possible once we are legally and administratively capable of doing so.

Ideally, the people who comprise ARDC staff, board, and committees, and the people who receive ARDC grants, represent the amateur radio and digital communications spaces in their entirety. We would also like to see the demographics of both reflect the overall global population. We have a long way to go to get there and realize that it will be ongoing and important work at ARDC.

If you want to help make a change in this area, and particularly if you are an individual from an underrepresented group, send me a note at rosy@ampr.org.

How does ARDC enforce the fund spending after it has been granted?

The organizations that are currently eligible to receive funds are all bound by similar laws and regulations to the ones that we must follow. Importantly, they must spend the funds as dictated by the grants. For these organizations, we ask for quarterly reports so that we can see and report on progress.

All other organization types and individuals, as well as entities outside of the US, require additional oversight to ensure proper use of funds. We are actively working to create this legal and administrative setup and will post more specifics when we have them.

What is the long term plan for the fund? Is the plan to liquidate it over time or keep it self-funding through investment? Are there any future plans or protections on the remaining 44.x.x.x address space to be sold off?

The long-term plan for the fund is to use it as an endowment. We’ll grant, at minimum, the required percentage of our assets to keep our status as a private foundation, and a maximum determined based on market conditions. This estimate, at this time, comes to more than $5 million / year.

There are no future plans to sell any additional address space. The one-time nature of the sale allows us to use the funds for the endowment without having to pay taxes on them. Selling more address space may change that. Additionally, though we still think it was the right move, the necessarily secretive nature of such transactions are a hard thing to balance at an organization that supports transparency and open source. So, while there are no guarantees in the long term, we have no plans to at this time and, frankly, have (many) more reasons not to than to do so.

Who are those “501(c)(3) sponsor” orgs that individual projects can apply for ARDC funding via?

Some 501(c)(3)s are happy to help with fiscal sponsorship, but it really depends on the nature of the organization, how well the sponsored organization or project fits their mission, and whether the 501(c)(3) organization has the administrative capacity for fiscal sponsorship.

It’s worth noting that, fiscal sponsors not only process your donation and (usually) take a small portion of it. By sponsoring your organization or project, they take on the legal responsibility of ensuring that you use funds correctly. So, it’s not just a “paperwork thing” – there’s more to it. Here are a couple of resources with more information:

With all of this in mind, there is no “list” that we can volunteer. As promised in the call, however, we will reach out to some organizations in the amateur radio world to see if they might be willing and able to fiscally sponsor projects.

What is the FY2020 budget (ignoring staff costs) for ARDC’s priority core mission of maintaining/developing extant 44net/AmprGW core infrastructure?

FY2020 purposefully does not have a budget. The reason why is because, in this experimental first year, we did not wish to make any promises with regards to either grant making or 44net infrastructure.

Part of the aim of the survey sent to 44net and the Oct. 10 call was to start putting together some clearer ideas around both strategy and budget for FY2021. We’ll post that information to this blog and 44net as soon as it’s available, likely in late November / early December.

How can we in Europe/Switzerland can make sure to be 501(c)(3) equivalent? eg. a hamclub here has not to pay taxes? is that ok? […] Will these rules be distributed to 44net?

When it comes to equivalency determination, the answer is specific to each organization. This post by NGOSource – an organization that specializes in equivalency determination – has some good information and general guidance that may be helpful.

Are there plans to add the 44net “group” to the ARDC?

ARDC manages the 44net space. The 44net mailing list is, primarily, for technical matters related to 44net. So, anyone using that list is affiliated with ARDC already.

Would adding a chat group increase younger crowd participation, such as Discord?

Probably the best way to answer that question is to ask some younger hams how they communicate (Slack? Discord? Maybe IRC is making a comeback?) and to set up a communication channel to match. If there is already an active youth ham channel, we may be able to participate there without necessarily having to create a whole new system.

If you are a young ham and you know of such a channel, please let me know at rosy@ampr.org.

Side note, as I write this, I’m feeling very:

via GIPHY

Other than 44net, what other Amateur Radio organizations are providing input to ARDC?

Given our origins, 44net is the first group we’ve asked for input, which we’re using to craft our budgeting, grantmaking, and organizational strategies for 2021.

We will also be reaching out to organizations like ARRL, AMSAT, TAPR, and FAR, as well as gleaning input from ham clubs in the US and abroad. In addition to the amateur radio community, we’ll also be reaching out to organizations in the digital communications space.

In many cases projects for e.g. young people are small things, you could need a few hundred EUR/USD, how can that be done efficiently, now and in the future ?

This is a great question, and one that we are working on finding answers to now. As soon as we have more information, we’ll post it to the blog and 44net.

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GNU Radio Project

Over the nearly 20 years since its creation, the GNU Radio project has become the open-source software system for software defined radio development, experimentation, teaching and study. It is widely used in commercial, government, academic and amateur radio applications with many people contributing to its development and maintenance. Its annual conference attracts hundreds of people, many of whom are licensed radio amateurs.

Since ARDC is interested in furthering a) open source software; b) amateur radio digital communications (hence our name!) and c) the educational potential of amateur radio, GNU Radio is the quintessential example of a project that we would like to support.
Our grant to GNU Radio is a general one, i.e., they may use it for any purpose within the scope of their organization.

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2020 Foundation for Amateur Radio Scholarships

The Foundation for Amateur Radio has long administered a growing set of college scholarships funded by radio clubs and individuals. For the 2019 year, it awarded a total of 54 scholarships worth $99,075.

Our grant will sponsor a set of ARDC WB6CYT memorial scholarships for the 2020 year. The only qualification for an ARDC award is that the applicant is a licensed radio amateur pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree at an accredited university; there are no residence or field of study requirements. FAR may divide our grant as it chooses into any number of awards with any amount per award with a total of $200,000; the awards need not be of equal size. At FAR’s discretion, individual applicants may receive more than one award (i.e., a ARDC grant in addition to a non-ARDC grant). FAR will give priority to financial need in awarding ARDC scholarships.

Applications for the 2020 year are due at FAR by April 30, 2020. (Please apply through their website, not ARDC). –Phil Karn, KA9Q

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