A new fundraising drive

Today we launch a new fundraising drive, talk about the scope of the Foundation's work, and begin to unpack our emerging roadmap for the future. There is a lot going on and we need your help to keep it going!

At the end of 2022 Matthew and Amandine sounded the alarm: the Foundation needed more support. To deliver that, they launched the Foundation's membership program. They also introduced open governance, and committed to hiring a Managing Director to act as a robust, neutral steward.

You can help: If you are already sold on Matrix, become a member today. To find out how the last year has gone, and how your support helps us to serve the Matrix ecosystem, read on.

Over the last year, there are lots of positive, healthy signs for Matrix. New members like Beeper and gematik — and hundreds of individuals ​— boosted our annual revenues from £82K to £364K. The open network has grown from 80.3M to 115M addressable users. We've invested in long-term interoperability efforts at the IETF. And we've shifted focus from experiments to polish, usability, and advocacy.

We've supported development of core libraries, and subsidize hosting for FOSS communities like GNOME and KDE. The Foundation runs the Matrix.org homeserver, with over 250K daily active users, and operates several public bots and bridges. And indeed, the Foundation hired a Managing Director 👋.

You'll find a full accounting of our 2023 activity and finances in our first Annual Report, slated to come out around April 2024.

An inflection point for Matrix

We are incredibly proud of what we've accomplished in the last year. As Matrix approaches its 10th anniversary, we are arriving at an inflection point. To continue on this trajectory, we need your help.

Element used to subsidize our activity, and still donates upwards of £3M in core development annually, but we are paying our own bills now. While we managed a 400+% increase in revenue to £364K last year, at £440K our expenses exceeded our revenue. As we enter our first full year of paying our own bills, the full cost of operating the Foundation at its current scope is projected to stabilize somewhere north of £900K in 2024. And the more we can raise beyond £900K, the less dependent the ecosystem is on Element.

As I get more settled in, we'll deliver more granular financial projections and reporting. For now, the rough breakdown of those projected expenses:

  • £550K in staffing 4 full-time people covering management, advocacy, standards development, and trust and safety, as well as external part-time staff for core project and bridge maintenance and infra ops
  • £250K in servers and other third-party providers
  • £100K in administrative costs covering legal, accounting, and compliance

To put that £900K figure in perspective, the Python Software Foundation's expenses are nearer £2.9M, and Signal's annual costs are in the ballpark of £39M!

This year is exciting and full of promise, and there are many reasons to be hopeful. If the work we are doing to support Matrix is valuable to you, we need your help to continue it well past 2024. We need more organizations to step up as members to invest in the Matrix ecosystem. Otherwise, we need to start scaling back programs and staff starting January 2025.

We're going to publish a series of blog posts over the next three months to unpack our work and our roadmap for the future. You'll see posts covering: governance, ecosystem diversity and community engagement, infrastructure, trust and safety, fighting for your digital rights, and more.

With your support, the Foundation can charge full steam ahead to deliver on the promise of making open, unencumbered, safe, secure, and private communications technology.

A hint of the year ahead

The forthcoming posts in this series will dive into several of our core program areas, and explore where we aim to go. But when I think about the year ahead, three overriding themes stand out to me:

  • Ramp up open governance of Matrix and the Foundation
  • Prioritize Trust & Safety
  • Cement the Foundation as an independent and sustainable organization

2024 will see the Foundation sustain and deepen work in our ongoing responsibilities:

  • Empowering the Spec Core Team (SCT) to deliver an effective, modern spec change process
  • Running the Matrix.org homeserver and public bridges
  • Trust & Safety
  • Communications and community engagement
  • Compliance
  • Governance
  • Fundraising

We will also continue investing in long-term initiatives, such as driving work toward Matrix 2.0 and beyond and building a fully independent Foundation. With this in mind, we see several exciting milestones including:

We couldn't be more excited about what we have to share in the coming months, and we hope that our vision – which is deeply informed by community input – is something you are ready to stand behind.

Thank you for donating, becoming Individual Members, and rallying your organization to become a funding member!

Ad astra per aspera 🚀

Josh Simmons, Managing Director of The Matrix.org Foundation

The Foundation needs you

The Matrix.org Foundation is a non-profit and only relies on donations to operate. Its core mission is to maintain the Matrix Specification, but it does much more than that.

It maintains the matrix.org homeserver and hosts several bridges for free. It fights for our collective rights to digital privacy and dignity.

Support us