2024 Board Candidate: Sammy Fung

Name: Sammy Fung
Full Name: FUNG Chun Wah Sammy
E-mail: sammyfung@gnome org
Corporate Affiliation: N/A

Dear Foundation members,

I’m announcing my candidacy for the GNOME Foundation Board of Directors election. I am an incumbent director to run for the board again. If I am elected again, I will continue to oversee the expansion of the board of directors to increase transparency and sustainability and the current fundraising status which is the key solution to improve the Foundation’s Finances.

I am a Hongkonger and an open source advocate who has participated and contributed to regional and global open source communities for more than 20 years, established some open source conferences, and connected to some other contributors and volunteers in Asia and the world. I have been a GNOME user since 2000, I became a GNOME Foundation member after I organised GNOME Asia Summit 2012 in HK, then I served at GNOME.Asia committee and now lead the committee. I was elected as a board member in 2022.

I was an entrepreneur of technology companies and a director of a non-profit charity organisation in HK. I studied technology, business, and accounting in college which trained me to oversee both business management and technology development in companies and non-profit organisation.

Expanding the board of directors to increase transparency and sustainability

I served on the board for 2 years, and it was a critical and long transition period for the foundation’s leadership and strategy. At the governance committee, I strongly support expanding the board to 9 seats and adding non-voting officer seats which can build a healthier non-profit foundation with a better board roster rotation, and committee members can also join the board meeting to work closely together. I would like more foundation members (and some non-members with fundraising experiences) to join the board as elected directors and non-voting officers.

In this transition period, the foundation spent a long period (more than 1 year) recruiting a new Executive Director, thanks to the hard work of the ED hiring committee and she is now on board for 6 months. Recently I feel that we are in an important moment of the foundation, I should continue to help this transition, so I desire to extend my service on the board for another 2 years, which provides some consistency and stability in the leadership.

Fundraising is the key solution to improve the Foundation’s Finance

For the finance part of the foundation, the board followed the previous role definition/scope of all committees and officers (board & staff team), and the finance committee oversees the annual budget, each annual budgets are submitted to the board meeting and gets approved at the board meeting. During my term (2022-2024), I believe that the expenses of each Cost Centre should remain unchanged (if possible) until a new ED is hired. Then we should discuss with the Executive Director and the board to get an agreement on the new budget, and ED also an important role in executing the fundraising. In the last 2 years, I believe that the financial situation is not that bad but the income is significantly decreased for several years. I think the key problem of the foundation’s financial situation is the lack of new fundraising because we didn’t have an ED for more than a year. If I am re-elected for the next term, I will continue to oversee this.

In the current status of the foundation, I hope we should trust our leaders on GNOME projects, staff team, committees, and current & new board members - all of their contributions are important to the GNOME community and the foundation. We should prioritize the issues and handle them one by one. And I am happy working with them again and supporting them.

Please don’t hesitate to ask me questions, and I will be happy to answer them.


Hello Sammy,

You are remarking your interested in transparency, but I am wondering whether you have any further thoughts than just increasing the number of seats and the involvement of the community. Given that the financial committee (and to a least extent, the board that supervises it) has been working in a remarkably opaque way, would you like to contribute to change that? If so, how?

In a previous question to my candidacy you asked how would I reconcile things like NDAs and personal private information with transparency. I would be interested to also understand which are your thoughts.


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Hi Pablo,

Thank you for your questions. Asking questions are good practice & healthy for us to see in the election.

For the transparency and communication improvement, my thoughts are (but not limited to):

  • During my term in 2022-2024, I proposed to the board that the leadership of GNOME Foundation should organise some Town Hall meetings at GUADEC and online. I hope Town Hall will happen in GUADEC 2024. So the leadership can tell what did & will the leadership do and listen to the opinions of foundation members.

  • Starting from the end of April, I found that a YouTuber raised a concern regarding GNOME’s financial situation (I hope his intention is nice to us), we should do something to increase transparency to lower the risk caused to the foundation by misleading information/opinion (if any). I think the board should try to write regular newsletters to the foundation members and summaries of what the board discussed/worked etc. Because following the roles and reporting line defined by previous boards, the finance committee gives reports and makes proposals to the board and gets approval, eg. annual budget, all board members look into them and approve them by votes, so I think that it is the responsibility of the whole board instead of the finance committee.

  • The board should find out what is (the definition/guideline of) transparency that the foundation members are requesting. I think most of us love to have transparency as much as possible, but it seems the “transparency” talked about by foundation members is slightly or many different. If the board has some concerns about some requests or restrictions, the board should try to explain them to the foundation members. I believe that we will spend some time processing the review of the transparency because the board is non-stop doing & discussing many (regular or new) issues (Follow the rules, if board members raise issues, usually posted on board issues on GitLab which is always the best practice), and even board members will propose what they want to do. So, this is why I strongly supported expanding the board (elected directors and non-voting officers) for a healthy non-profit foundation.

(I will answer the other part of your questions in another reply here once I finish my draft.)

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This candidacy is lacking a +1 from an existing Foundation member, @sammyfung, would you mind making sure someone will acknowledge it within 24 please?

Hi @sammyfung and thank you for volunteering to stand for another term.

Since joining the Board last year, I have been both impressed and grateful for your work alongside our new executive director in building up the Foundation’s collaboration with its financial consultants over the past several months to get us to the place we are now with the Board receiving regular reports on progress against our budgets, understanding variances, and revising forecasts.

As the Foundation will now have new annual audit requirements due to US policies for nonprofits, your continued assistance with this work is critical on strengthening the organizations transparency and accountability to its stakeholders.

With all that has been done behind the scenes under your leadership in the past year, I’m really looking forward to what the coming year will offer us to further these goals. +1.

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I’d be happy to second this candidacy as well.

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In short, I suggest that a clear “access to information / information disclosure method” should be published on the website. It allows the foundation members and the public to request to access the information they are looking for. The easiest method is creating issues to the board. The board (or appointed persons/committee) should consider and discuss whether the incoming request is valid or not, and explain the difficulties if they can’t. The board should know which information / details / discussion of the foundation are non-disclosable, so I believe that the board has the right to make this judgment/decision on releasing information.

We should have a better website content for the foundation (and board), so the foundation members and the public can understand more about the foundation, clearly list out various committees, and how can people communicate with them publicly/privately. It can also help people to access information about the foundation.

Thank you Michael and Philip +1 for my candidacy, it is my honour and pleasure to work with you on the board in the last 2 years.