Hewlett confirms ongoing support for OERu

I’m very pleased to share the news that the board of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has confirmed continued support for the OERu collaboration through a general operating support grant for the next 3 years - of course subject to our ongoing growth, outputs and contribution to the OER ecosystem by the OERu family :smile:

In addition, the OERF has been awarded an organisational effectiveness grant for the OERu which will be invested in marketing, communications, and fund development aimed at partner recruitment and strategies for generating funds for investment in product development for the OERu network.


The Hewlett Foundation’s Education Program supports some amazing work. It is great to be in such good company.

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Hewlett has been an amazing but dedicated catalyst for nurturing the growth of a global OER ecosystem. Their support for the OERu concept has been instrumental in establishing solid foundations for the OERF to open source education.

Great news Wayne! Are there any restrictions on the use of the funds in the case of the general operating support grant?

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Thanks Jim,

In the case of a general operating support grant the OER Foundation will have greater autonomy and agility to decide how best to invest these philanthropic dollars. So for example, an increase in revenue from partners joining the network will enable the OERF to reallocate the fiscal support from Hewlett in other strategic areas, for example shared dollar projects with OERu partners which build the network.

There are of course restrictions imposed by our own constitution, specially that our work is restricted to charitable education activities. The OER Foundation, as a New Zealand registered charity, has been deemed equivalent to a US public charity through an independent evaluation. As I understand this, the equivalency determination is a prerequisite requirement for a general operating support grant from a US-based donor. Needless to say - we have no objections to restricting our activities to philanthropic endeavours - its our DNA.

This is wonderful news, Wayne! It is terrific that Hewlett recognizes the great potential of the OERu. This is a great credit to your own excellent work and admirable leadership.

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Hi Rajiv

Thanks for popping by and your kind words. To be honest, none of this would be possible without the foresight and support of the Vice-Chancellors, Presidents, senior leaders and staff of the OERu partners who are taking positive action in support of their respective community service missions as public education institutions. OER is a catalyst for returning to the core values of the academy - namely to share knowledge freely.

Congratulations Wayne. I am still hanging in there. Joyce McKnight

Congratulations Wayne and OERu; this kind of visionary support for the goals of open education is inspiring.

Congratulations. This is great news. Well done on securing this.


That’s great news, thanks Wayne. I can imagine the work that has gone on behind the scenes to ensure the funding continues. Many thanks.

I am wondering if you could also give us an update on the matching funds projects that were discussed/envisaged at the November planning meetings? Will we see an EOI in the next few months for example?

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Thanks Sarah,

Yes this is wonderful news. It’s the collective hard work of folk like yourself who are cooperating and working behind the scenes in their organisations, OERu working groups and community lists to progress the implementation of the OERu.

Yes, we will pursue matching fund projects in the coming months.

Our first success with a shared / matched funding position

Our first priority was to expand technical capacity for the OERu. The open source survey which we distributed earlier in March 2015 this year included an EOI question on whether any partner institutions would be willing to contribute financially to a shared open source technologist position. We were very fortunate to receive positive responses from four of our OERu partners who agreed to contribute to the shared open source technologist position. The following partners now have platinum tier status in the OERu by virtue of their contributions to this shared position:

  • Otago Polytechnic
  • University of Southern Queensland
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University
  • University of the Highlands and Islands

The OER Foundation “contribution” to this position was made possible through the generous funding support from the Hewlett Foundation. We have now exceeded our 2015 KPI for progressing the community source model. Moreover, this shows that the shared / matched funding idea works and has significant potential for progressing the implementation of the OERu.

Next shared / matched funding position.

The general operating support Grant from Hewlett means that the OERF will be able to cover our existing operational costs for the next three years. Our forecast for the remainder of the 2015 fiscal year is on the break-even point taking into account the funding support from Hewlett. This means that as we recruit new partners to the network, we would be able to allocate the additional revenue from membership fees, for example to a new matched funding position.

We are in dire need of programme development and related administrative support to progress OERu product development. So I suspect that the next shared position will be in this area. There are a few options:
A number of partners could agree to contributing resources to fund a shared programme development position
As new OERu partner institutions join the network, the OERF could propose a shared / matched funding position. So for example, if we were to recruit 10 new partners we could post an EOI for a dollar matched position.

The OERu could consider a rotation model where partners allocate staff time for specified roles for a predetermined time which is rotated among the network.

Keeping fingers crossed that a few more OERu partner institutions would like to achieve platinum tier status by following the example of those partners who are contributing resources to the shared open source technologist position.

All advice, comments and ideas to progress this concept are well received.

It is a very good news, indeed

Good Going OERu. Thank you HP as your funds will not be wasted.
OERu needs everyone to contribute in their own way.

Hollis Sankar
Trinidad and Tobago
West Indies.