Shaping the new Gitcoin Grants Program With Community Engagement

As the Gitcoin Grants Program evolves to be more community owned and operated, we’d like to share our thinking on next steps and request your feedback.

We will be testing a new approach for community engagement for the Gitcoin Program launch to help us determine what rounds Gitcoin manages internally and what externally operated rounds are featured during the next quarterly Grants Program which will be taking place in the upcoming Season mid April. :eyes:

:loudspeaker: TLDR:

  • We will be requesting feedback to select 4-6 Core grants rounds to be part of the Grant Program that Gitcoin operates for our upcoming Beta round in April on our new Grants Stack.

  • In the next two weeks our PGF Operations team will work with past round operators and ecosystem partners to create a short list of potential rounds for consideration to be “featured” in the Gitcoin Program. Rounds must meet a minimum standard of viability and be value aligned with the Gitcoin Community to be featured.

Update: this is the form being used to gather information from potential core rounds.

  • There will be 4-6 slots open for Core Rounds run directly by the Gitcoin team (all the way from fundraising to operating and marketing). We will suggest a list of rounds to include but it will be up to your vote.

This is a starting list of rounds that we think could be successful as Core Rounds given their existing matching funds, teams, and demonstrated levels of community support:

  • Open Source Software Round**
  • ETH Core Infrastructure**
  • Climate Solutions**
  • Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI)**
  • Web3 Community
  • Decentralized Science
  • Psychedelics Research
  • Crypto Advocacy
  • Open Gaming
  • ZKTech

**Rounds that already have funding in place

We will present options to the community to choose from for these 4-6 funding rounds on the week of Feb 21st. This vote will take place on Snapshot.

UPDATE: This is the link to the snapshot vote that is open until March 1st at 17:30 UTC - Snapshot

We are exploring a form of Quadratic Voting or a GTC holder vote that is open to anyone that meets the minimum trust score with Gitcoin Passport. We may still use a traditional GTC token holder vote.


Featured Rounds

The Featured Rounds will consist of a mix of returning ecosystems and cause round partners that meet a minimum viable round criteria.

The primary difference between these rounds and the Core Rounds is that the Featured Rounds will not be run by Gitcoin directly but instead will be run by their respective community members and supporters who will function as Round Operators. Gitcoin may however offer services to the Featured Rounds that qualify based on the minimum viable round criteria as assessed by the PGF team and ultimately ratified by the Gitcoin Stewards. The Stewards will have the discretion to decide which rounds are featured. All rounds will be marketed and share a home page together

  • For the upcoming Gitcoin Beta round (likely mid April) Featured Rounds will only be those that have previously been part of past grants rounds and/or new ecosystem eligible partners that have hosted a simulated round on the Grants Stack tools.


A (kinda) quick glossary of terms:

A Grants “Round” - This term is used to describe our quarterly grants program overall and also can be used to describe any of the individual matching fund pools like for example the Open Source Software Round. To reduce confusion these sub rounds can also be called a theme or a pool.

A “theme” or “pool” - Each pool of funding in a sub round is framed around a theme. For example the climate solutions matching fund pool is part of the upcoming season 17 Beta round.

Season - every quarter is considered a season for the sake of our budgeting and coordination. Within one season there may be a number of grants rounds run on Gitcoin’s grants stack by other organizations and one Grants Program Festival which is run by the Gitcoin DAO.

The Gitcoin Grants Program - Our quarterly Grants Program is a mixture of Core and Featured Rounds that the DAO facilitates. This is what we used to call our “GR(XX)’s” (ie. Grants Round 15/GR15)

The Grants Stack - This is the bundle of software tools used to host a grants round that include Explorer (where people can see all grantees in the round and donate), Builder (where grantees can create their grant proposals), Round Manager (where operators set up and manager the round behind the scenes) and Passport (the tool used to verify donors identities).

Cause Rounds - These are the rounds we run ourselves or work with partners to support cause oriented grants rounds. These rounds may be part of either our Core or Featured Rounds.

New Cause Rounds of all types can be proposed and then voted on for inclusion in our Core Rounds. If they are chosen they can become new Core Rounds which are helped to get off their feet by the Gitcoin team and then as the teams involved in running these rounds grow they may become Featured Rounds not requiring as much support from the Gitcoin team or even run their own fully independent grants rounds on their own schedule using the Grants Stack

Ecosystem Rounds - This was the name given to rounds run in support of ecosystem partners (for example the Polygon Round or the ENS Round), these could become Featured Rounds in or quarterly Grants Program and many may also run independent funding rounds on their own schedule.

Core Rounds - The Core Rounds are those deemed by the community to be in line with the core mission and values of Gitcoin and will receive the most direct support from the Gitcoin team and the Gitcoin community has the ability to play a role in determining eligibility and other key decisions about the running of the rounds.

Featured Rounds - Featured Rounds are those that are run by partners with less direct input from the Gitcoin community in regards to eligibility or other decisions about the round management but will get to participate in the network effects of the round. These rounds will be included in the promotion of the Program for the season and benefit from additional visibility during the round and as a result will encompass a fee to participate (we will keep this fee low this round at 3-5% given the Grants Stack is still in Beta).

The fee may be variable in the future, there will be more conversation about this in the community as the program evolves.

For the Beta Round ideally we’ll have 5-10 Featured Rounds this season.


The process of PGF team shortlisting potential grants rounds and the initial list of eligible Featured Rounds will conclude Feb 17th.

Voting for Core Rounds for the Beta Round will take place the following week starting Feb 21 and running until midnight UTC on Feb 25th.

Core Rounds and Featured Rounds will be announced on the forum immediately after the voting and shared in a post the week of Feb 27th.

We will also alert all rounds not selected that we make them aware of opportunities to get involved and when they will be able to run their own stand alone rounds or potentially apply for the next season.

Any proposed grants round that was selected in the vote but does not achieve the minimum fundraising goals or misses key deadlines for executing the round (eligibility criteria finalized, minimum number of grantees onboarded etc.) may be removed from the round before the Grants Program begins.

All proposed rounds involved as Core or Featured Rounds will get a tool kit including the run book, design assets and technical and operational advisory support from the Gitcoin PGF and Support team. We will provide fundraising and operational support for Core Rounds.

Thank you for your interest in Gitcoin Grants rounds! Your participation and feedback means the world to us. We are excited to hear your ideas about how our processes could improve to make even more public goods a reality. Have a lovely day.

:heart_eyes: Massive thank you to Janine, Connor, Kieran, Maxwell, Scott, Coleen and Jon for all the work on pulling together this post. Coordination in action!

Public goods are good.


Thank you for everyone who worked on this post - @coleenchase @M0nkeyFl0wer @connor @ceresstation @koday @Maxwell and more! The progress we’ve made the last 4 months from c-grants to this upcoming round revision is really exciting. I’m hopeful we can engage the community in helping select the Core Rounds we run this April and continue to empower them to help making these decisions round after round.

Thanks for mapping this out so clearly.


Amazing summary of what’s to come! Great job to the entire team who worked on this. It’s been so wonderful to see the evolution of our grants program–even in the short span of time I’ve been here!

I hope we will be paying our Round Operators for their time and efforts. It sounds like something that should be factored into the cost of running a round.

Can’t wait to participate in this and see what the community ends up deciding on.


That’s splendid!
I am happy to be here and learn with the shaping tool box .
Thank you !!


Thank you for putting all this together Ben, I know there’s been a lot of iteration behind the scenes and I’m very happy with where this turned out (plus the meme additions are all time).

I think we’re on the right track for this approach and in each subsequent round we can expand this process and further decentralize it - the initial program launch / Beta rounds will be an experiment and we’ll move things forward from there.

So a few items I’d love to double-click on for community discussion and input:

The right # of core rounds. We could:

  • aim to run more rounds with more themes with the understanding there could be less matching for each and less bandwidth from the Gitcoin team to manage, fundraise for, market, moderate, etc
  • aim to run fewer rounds to narrow the focus of core mission themes and have more attention and time spent on these

I think we’ll experiment and find a good balance - and the amount and types of featured rounds managed externally will also play a role in our decisions

The right fee to charge for featured rounds (both at this time and in future) - we want to be inclusive of all rounds, while also making sure we can successfully market and support featured rounds. We also want to ensure featured round funders/operators are committed to making their program a success and are committed to onboarding grantees and donors.

I think 3-5% is good for the initial beta program launch, and perhaps that increases closer to 10% in the future. We could also explore variable fee models that are not a fixed % of matching pool size, as to not discourage larger pools.

The final item I want to hear the community weigh in on is the list of potential core rounds listed in this post, and whether they have other ideas or opinions on the current shortlist.

In any case, excited to move this forward and hear from the broader Gitcoin community!


Hey Connor, curious here - does this mean we are 100% moving forward with a fee structure for this upcoming round? Would love to learn more about what you see are the pros and cons of taking this route.


Thanks for this great overview Ben, super helpful!

On the core rounds, I would echo what Connor mentions here, we could:

I think his sentiment is clear here, and I definitely share it. Next to the dilution of matching and internal resources I also deeply agree with the point that doing only the first few ones will help us communicate more on what Gitcoin really stands for, which imho is funding Public Goods. The program, and then specifically the core rounds, could evolve (again) to become just this: a representation of the soul of Gitcoin. We show how core rounds can be run and have an ethical and thematic core we stick with. But until we make some clear decisions here internally, I love the idea of opening this up to the community and experimenting with this for the upcoming round or festival!

One little note on the latter, I like that you are attempting to bring clarity in the whirlwind of changes we go through while we are launching the beta version of our protocol. In that vein, do we need this extra term:

People are very much used to the Gitcoin Grants Round as an overall term, maybe we could potentially stick with this, as this has always created a lot of momentum? I do get the confusion between “the Grants Round” and the multiple “rounds” we are running, but you could just call the overall ‘festival’ the new Grants Round, so in this case this would be GR17. Just a thought :slight_smile:


No, I don’t think we are 100% moving forward with a fee for featured rounds - this is still open to discussion and we’d love to hear input from the community, stewards, external partners, potential round operators, etc.

That said, my personal opinion is long term we should definitely charge some fee to rounds that want to be featured in the Gitcoin Program, and that we should move forward to test this fee for the April launch, even if it’s small/negligible for now.

My reasons being (the pros):
Longer term:

  • There is extra work required for the Gitcoin team/DAO to vet, onboard, help manage, provide support (to round operators, grantees, & donors), and promote/market additional featured rounds. A fee helps offset the costs of extra resources and bandwidth spent, and could still be well worth it to the round manager due to the bonus marketing exposure and donor/grantee network effects
  • The GitcoinDAO needs to keep exploring revenue opportunities to help long-term sustainability, the fee can go towards keeping the program running and growing

Shorter term (ingoring revenue/bandwidth, the benefits of even a small/negligible fee):

  • Making sure partners are committed - we’ve had ecosystem rounds in the past where teams are eager to get involved and then when the time comes, they spend no effort on marketing and getting grantees/donors into their round and it flops. And/or spend little time reviewing grants and approving them, ending up doing it very late or not at all. A small upfront fee at least ensures the round owner is committed to making it a success (to an extent)
  • A rare situation where some DAO commits to a round but when it comes time to pay out, it turns out the contributor that agreed never got approval from their finance team/multisig signers/DAO voters, and they don’t actually have the funds. It’s silly but I could see this happening in a DAO where workstreams don’t communicate well. Having an upfront fee at least ensures some funding is approved/ready to go (in the future round operators will likely have to pre-fund their matching pool into an escrow contract, but this is not the case now)
  • It’s always harder to add fees later on. All cGrants ecosystem rounds were managed for free and the more we provide a service at no cost the more friction there is to change that down the line. Now that we’re launching the new protocol we want to set the expectation there will fees for our support on featured rounds, so even if its a very small fee at first, it’s easier to gradually increase as the value prop becomes more clear, than it is to go from no fee to a high fee
  • Finally, the truth of the matter is we are resource-limited right now and will be spending more time in the early days onboarding partners, triaging issues, etc. So if the fee makes it so we only have 7 featured rounds instead of 12, that’s fine with me until we’re confident in our ability to scale, and I’d rather focus on teams that see value in supporting the broader program and Gitcoin’s sustainability

With all the regulatory FUD happening RN I’d like to cast my vote for " Crypto Advocacy" being included :raised_hands:


Thank you Ben, Coleen, Jon and the team for putting this together.
These are exciting developments.

  1. Can we have more time / advance warning for voting in these rounds. Also the voting mechanism needs to be inclusive ( GTC, passport, previous donor )
  2. I concur with fee for the feature rounds.
  3. Also support calling this GR17 ( rather than festival )
  4. Suggest a formal dispute resolution mechanism explained clearly beforehand for various community decisions.
  5. Suggest a dashboard approach to depict various metrics for clear comms.

That is 5 suggestions too many but tbh - lots of gratitude to the team for the good work - :clap:


Great feedback thanks! Appreciate the specificity and clarity.


Good initiatives! But I had an error when trying to vote. I have disconnected and connect again but then was another mistake - voting power wasnt shown. So will wait when somebody fix it

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Could we share the snapshot link for voting here?

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Great point! The vote is live now until March 1st. Here’s the link :slight_smile:

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hmmm so it’s not showing your wallet as having any voting power? or you had voting power and tried to vote but hit an error and somehow disconnecting made it go away?

Do you have a Gitcoin Passport with the “past donor” stamp? And have you donated to old rounds on the cGrants platform (GR15 and prior)?

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Funny I edited the doc and added the link in the TLDR but there is a lot going on up there. Perhaps it could have been more prevalent with a big blinking button… stay tuned. :slight_smile:


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rule to born. thanks for your knowledge. i am luvky to be here

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I am new to this forum, I have read and seen the amazing work of the community. I look forward t adding my insights and support in a way to truly builds a more inclusive and diverse pool of community. I am web3 founder from Ghana, Africa, I have contributed to the growth of web3 ecosystem since 2016, and I love building communities and educating folks.
Reading @M0nkeyFl0wer thoughts on shaping the new Gitcoin Grants program with Community Engagement. I am curious to know, in terms of Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and Web3 Community, to what extent has that gone in regard to meeting that goal with Africa and what most folks are doing to shape the adoption of web3 products?
I would be happy to know and see how we can collectively shape that and put effort to achieving this goal.

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