Give back to open source on Giving Tuesday

Here are 18 ways to support and donate to free and open source organizations for Giving Tuesday.
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favorite open source gift guide 2013

Giving Tuesday is always a reminder to me to consider how to give back to open source projects, communities, and organizations. In 2012, GivingTuesday was created to encourage people to simply do good. "Since then, it has grown into a year-round global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity."

When I think about all the ways I have benefited from "standing on the shoulder of giants," both professionally and personally. I start to think about all the individuals and organizations that have made being part of the open source community such a rewarding experience. Many have used an open source project or joined an open source community and immediately benefited from the contributions of past and current members.

When you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that many of the organizations listed below have volunteer opportunities, ways to get involved with their community, and simple things like sharing information about why you support the organization or joining a newsletter to stay updated. They offer a variety of ways to support them beyond just financial donations.

The list below is not an endorsement from myself or my employer, it is a collection of organizations for you to consider as you look at groups to support and ways to donate time, money, expertise, and other skills you might offer. I would encourage you to do your own research before making a donation, particularly if you are looking for any tax deductions.

18 free and open source organizations to consider for Giving Tuesday

Black Girls Code

"We build pathways for young women of color to embrace the current tech marketplace as builders and creators by introducing them to skills in computer programming and technology."


"ChickTech is a national nonprofit organization empowering people of marginalized genders through tech programs and events." (See several options under the "Support us" tab.)

Creative Commons

"Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that helps overcome legal obstacles to the sharing of knowledge and creativity to address the world’s most pressing challenges." 

Drupal Association

"The Drupal Association is a nonprofit 501©3 organization serving the international Drupal community." 

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

"The Electronic Frontier Foundation mission is to support and defend civil liberties and human rights online, they are a 501©3 organization."

Free Software Foundation (FSF)

"The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a nonprofit with a worldwide mission to promote computer user freedom."

Fosstodon and other Mastodon servers

"Fosstodon is part of the decentralized ActivityPub social network. “It’s open to anyone interested in free and open source technology."

Note: There are many instances of Mastodon servers creating a decentralized social network. This is just one example supporting open source and technology enthusiasts.

Linux Foundation

"The Linux Foundation provides critical services to promote sustainable open source. Individual Supporter donations go directly into programs and resources that support growing communities."

Note: Donations to The Linux Foundation are not generally deductible by US taxpayers.

Let’s Encrypt

"Let’s Encrypt is a free, automated, and open certificate authority brought to you by the nonprofit Internet Security Research Group (ISRG) supporting a secure and privacy-respecting Web."

LibreOffice (The Document Foundation)

"The Document Foundation is a charitable foundation whose objective is the promotion and development of office software available for use by anyone free of charge. The foundation promotes a sustainable, independent, and meritocratic community for the international development of free and open source software based on open standards."

Open source hardware association

"The Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) aims to foster technological knowledge and encourage research that is accessible, collaborative, and respects user freedom."

Open Source Initiative (OSI)

"The Open Source Initiative (OSI) is a non-profit corporation with global scope formed to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source and to build bridges among different constituencies in the open source community."

Note: Their membership drive begins on November 29.

Raspberry Pi Foundation

"The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a United Kingdom-based charity with the mission to enable young people to realize their full potential through the power of computing and digital technologies."

Software Freedom Conservancy

"Software Freedom Conservancy is a nonprofit organization centered around ethical technology whose mission is to ensure the right to repair, improve and reinstall software."


"TransTech is an incubator for LGBTQ Talent with a focus on economically empowering the T, transgender people, in our community. TransTech is fiscally sponsored by Allied Media Projects making all donations tax-deductible."

PHP Foundation (Open Collective)

"We support, promote, and advance the PHP language."

Python Software Foundation

"The mission of the Python Software Foundation is to promote, protect, and advance the Python programming language, and to support and facilitate the growth of a diverse and international community of Python programmers."

The Wikimedia Foundation

"The Wikimedia Foundation is the nonprofit organization that supports Wikipedia, the other Wikimedia free knowledge projects, and our mission of free knowledge for every single person."

I’m almost certain that I did not list a group that you are passionate about. If you feel so inclined, please share an open source community that you think should be on this list in the comments below.

I hope this article inspires you to give something back, no matter how big or small, to an open source community or organization to help keep open source more sustainable.

Jason Hibbets is a Community Director at Red Hat with the Digital Communities team. He works with the Enable Architect, Enable Sysadmin, Enterprisers Project, and community publications.

1 Comment

These are my favorite free and open source communities to extend the list:
- Apache Software Foundation
- Debian Project
- Elm Software Foundation

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