The Maker Foundation Development Grants Program Sunsets

March 23, 2021

Today marks the end of the Maker Foundation Development Grants program. With the Foundation soon to dissolve and the DAO’s realization of full decentralized management on the horizon, it’s time for the Maker community to determine the direction of development grants.

The program successfully supported individuals’ and teams’ independent creation of infrastructures and applications for the Maker ecosystem. The Community Development (“Comm-Dev”) team, in line with the core principles of the Maker Foundation, encouraged the dynamic Maker community to organically build a robust ecosystem.

Below, we look back on the grant recipients’ success and what we’ve learned.

Venturing Far and Wide

In the fall of 2018, Maker Foundation’s Community Development team, led then by Richard Brown, set out to encourage and support a wide range of autonomous Dai- and Maker Protocol-focused projects created by community members.

The Grants Program awarded grants of up to 50,000 Dai to independent community projects, as well as additional support, such as access to user research sessions and code audits.

The Grants Program awarded numerous grants of Dai  to independent community projects

Additionally, the Comm-Dev team focused on fostering project growth at the earliest stage, encouraging highly motivated, nascent, lesser-known projects.

“The overall grant from the Grants Program provided both funding and validation at a crucial time for PoolTogether—it covered our audit to get to main-net and the V2 of the protocol. Without Maker Foundation's commitment to open source development, I don't think PoolTogether would exist today.” 

— Leighton Cusack, Founder of Pool Together

Each grant was contingent upon the grantee reaching a series of self-proposed milestones. With hard work and determination, teams flourished to complete a total of 135 out of 161 milestones.

Milestone highlights from grantees include: 

  • Burner Wallet, a simple web wallet used to quickly send small amounts of crypto, facilitated 38,432.56 DAI in food truck sales at ETHDenver 2019.
  • Sablier, a decentralized app for “streaming” continuous payments on Ethereum, was acquired by Mainframe.
  • Sourcecred, a tool for communities to measure and reward value creation, has received continued funding through a MakerDAO governance community vote.
  • CuraDAI, a seamless digital currency for Curaçao, onboarded one of the largest supermarkets on the island.
  • Africa Blockchain Institute, Africa’s foremost blockchain think tank, launched a “Made in Rwanda” blockchain Incubator to support native Rwandan entrepreneurs.

All grantees are showcased on the community-created Maker Grants dashboard.

Lessons Learned

Comm-Dev’s experience provides a number of lessons. Should the community choose to pick up where Community Development left off and create its own grants program within the DAO, here are a few things to consider:

  • Hire a full-time, dedicated grants program coordinator to lead sourcing and communications, in addition to managing the grantee experience.
  • Never underestimate the team and their determination.
  • Make use of existing resources, such as the grants site developed by the team.
  • Stand back and encourage grantees to develop and realize their vision.

Saying Goodbye

As one last act and in order to support community requests to create a formal DAO grants program, Community Development will submit a Call for Proposals for Grants. Anyone interested in exploring how MakerDAO may cultivate a grants program can propose their ideas for review by the community in the Call for Proposals. 

Community Development sends heartfelt thanks to its grantees, partners, applicants, and community members who have been involved in this journey.

March 23, 2021