Scaling Stacks Grants and Stacks Foundation Programming
by Mitchell Cuevas on June 30, 2022
Hey everyone, there have been a number of changes and adjustments to the grants and grants-related positions over the past month or two, and I wanted to write this post to share what we’ve been learning. This post is also intended to reassure everyone that the changes are entirely based on feedback, learnings, and where we want to take the program in the future; they are not a direct result of the bear market. In a market like this, that type of speculation seems common, so I’m opting to proactively overcommunicate and be very direct. As you’ll see in the post, Stacks Grant disbursements continued to grow last quarter and Stacks Foundation-led programming is expanding.

Let’s go through a few key points to illuminate the adjustments we’ve made:
Stacks Grant Dashboard
We launched a new version of the dashboard in late May and gathered initial feedback. We’ve been quickly iterating on that feedback to not only make the grants process simpler, but to build something scalable. We intend to open source our grants software and program to support Stacks projects with their own grants programs in the future. We’ve been regularly connecting with projects like ALEX and CityCoins to learn how we can best empower their potential grants programs and make sure everyone can benefit from grants learnings!

Our recently launched grants dashboard moved us forward in many ways, but backwards in one critical way: grant visibility. Before, you could see the entire conversation on Github; the new portal doesn’t currently allow for that visibility, so we’re moving key information back to Github. This approach allows us to curate an application and onboarding experience for all types of projects - grants, residents, chapters, events, community projects, wishlists, and more - and leverage Github for notifications, process management, and proximity to the developer community. This refined dashboard will be rolling out later this summer. We look forward to more community engagement on grants with this key change.
Stacks Grant Ambassadors
The Grant Ambassadors program was launched earlier this year in the interest of increasing the decentralization of the grants review process, something the program has always strived for and included community in. Given their experience reviewing applications and working with grantees, Ambassadors were well positioned to serve as advocates of the community by identifying grant ideas, new grant talent, and of course, helping community members craft high-quality grant applications.

Similar to the Dashboard, however, the Ambassador role will also be going through some refinements. In this next iteration, we'll work with Ambassadors to take on more specific outcomes related to their skillsets and support their application for roles more akin to a Stacks Resident. This will allow each of them to highlight their areas of strength and become a more community-facing resource, while priming them to lead the charge to decentralize the grant review process.
Grant disbursements grew last quarter, disbursing $1.4m in STX in just 3 months.
We have confidence in our financial position
The Stacks Foundation not only employs a Finance lead for treasury management (shout out Nick!), but we also regularly consult with experts in our space and beyond as far as how to manage our funds and runway. Our Board of Directors includes serial entrepreneurs and folks like Meltem Demirors who runs Coinshares, a company dedicated to advising and supporting institutions with smart, sustainable digital asset strategies. After a number of crypto cycles, we’ve taken a conservative approach to treasury management, which has benefitted our operations during the current market. We are in a strong financial position continuing to support Stacks ecosystem growth. We have recently opened new positions, and continue to grow the team, so send along your referrals here:
Programs and efforts that are expanding:
As originally planned, we are adding more experiments and doubling down on programs from the last 12 months. Here are some examples of the community programs we’re ramping up to serve our mission:
  • Hackathons: Following the success of the Miami For Everyone hackathon, we are eager to do more. We’ll be hosting and participating in at least five more additional hackathons before the end of the year. If you want to host or participate in a hackathon in your community, get in touch.
  • Stacks Chapters: Through this initiative, community leaders are empowered to grow their local presence in the Stacks ecosystem by hosting in-person events, educational workshops, clarity camps, hackathons, and more. We’ll provide additional resources in the next few weeks to help leaders grow their communities within a 3-month time period. This new approach will build on what we’ve learned and feedback we’ve taken from current chapters.
  • Events: We had tens of thousands of people interact with Stacks via various virtual an in-person events in the last month alone. Our team has stayed as active as ever on this front and will continue to be opportunistic about creating space for the community to connect and grow.
  • Clarity Camp Cohort #3: Our Clarity Residents are hitting their stride with Clarity Camp opening up to 200 more developers starting July 11th, this comes right on the heels of the program we offered in partnership with MiamiCoin, MiamiDade College, and Venture Miami. New cohorts will now be kicking off every month until we work through the waitlist. There are also special workshops (like the one recently held in NYC during and new programs on the docket with partners throughout the rest of the year. We’re also ramping up content around Clarity and its beautiful new brand!
  • Mintery Cohort #2: The past week has seen exciting early success for Mintery projects as some began launching their collections. We had a ton of interest for the first program and more and more as the projects from the program gain visibility. Not only are we running another cohort, we’re actively testing a self-guided option and discussing bringing flavored versions of the Mintery program to other communities like CityCoins.
  • EmpireDAO: At the Stacks Foundation, we are always looking for ways to increase in-person collaboration after seeing the power of in-person events first-hand in the Stacks community. We recently opened up space for the community in EmpireDAO in NYC as many of the attendees of the various Stacks events during NFT.NYC can attest.
  • Core Development: Our team continues to play a role in pushing the next major blockchain updates forward and overseeing an exciting influx of SIPs and technical discussions on the forum. We’ll be supporting the ecosystem in coordinating a launch for Stacks 2.1 and supporting the release of Hyperchains in the coming months.
  • Online Education: The Web3 world is currently seeing rapid growth in the rise of online educational platforms dedicated specifically to teaching devs how to build on web3 protocols. With a tutorial on Pointer almost complete and currently being in talks with multiple other educational platforms, we are actively working on expanding our presence on popular educational platforms to both expand awareness of Stacks as a chain to build on and teach devs how to build real projects.
  • Bridges, API, and other integrations: We continue to prospect, fund, and support integrations and partnerships for the ecosystem. Most recently you will have seen the following (and there’s more on the way ;)):
  • We’re hiring: Yep, hiring in the bear market, so take a look and maybe join the team. Even more exciting? The entire ecosystem is hiring:
I could go on, but stay tuned for the next Stacks Ecosystem update and for an update on the exciting future for the Stacks Accelerator and Ventures group. The takeaway here is that there is a ton of growth happening on several levels and our team is embracing the current market to do what we do best: help builders build.

To that end, I’ve been extremely proud to see that throughout the Stacks Ecosystem, Stackers are building with the same enthusiasm and ambition as ever — this seems to be a shared Stacks community trait. Stacks has weathered bear markets before and it will do so again — these are the times when our careful, steady approach pays dividends.

The Stacks Foundation continues to operate with a long-term mindset and empower builders through educational programs, grants, governance support, and community development.

Thanks for reading and see you out there!

Mitchell Cuevas leads partnership efforts and works to create scalable programming for builders, artists, and entrepreneurs in the Stacks Ecosystem. He's spent the last decade working in community-driven high-growth startups.

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