The CommunityBridge Mentorship service offers a structured remote learning opportunity to aspiring open source software developers. Experienced open source project developers and maintainers will mentor aspiring individuals and help them become contributors to the open source community.
Mentorship programs on CommunityBridge serve as a vehicle to reach out to students and developers to inject new talent into open source communities. CommunityBridge aims to increase diversity in open source communities and work towards making open source projects more secure, stable and inclusive. Women and individuals from under-represented groups and geographical locations are invited to participate in mentorships.
The CommunityBridge Mentorship service offers benefits for projects, mentees, and mentors that participate in mentorship programs.
Projects that participate in CommunityBridge Mentorship have the opportunity to connect with developers who are interested and eager to join their open source community. Projects may offer stipends to support and encourage mentees to participate by securing funds for paid mentorships through the use of the related CommunityBridge Funding service.
Mentees will have the opportunity to engage in an open source project under the guidance of someone experienced in the project and community. Upon completing a mentorship program, mentees will have an opportunity to connect with prospective employers from the project community. Some mentorships may offer stipends to the mentee during the mentorship period. Some mentorships will not offer stipends but still offer the benefits of a mentor’s guidance and assistance getting involved in a particular developer community.
Mentors are volunteers looking for enrichment through teaching and learning opportunities. They offer their time and expertise to guide new participants to the open source projects in which they participate. Mentors volunteer their time to help others grow in their ability to contribute and take a more meaningful role in the community. Mentors will be able to share visibility into the contributions of their time and teaching to grow the community.
Employers are companies and other organizations that are interested in offering employment opportunities to graduates of mentorships. Employers can register with projects to describe the types of employment opportunities that are available and the skill sets they are looking for. Their demonstration of interest in a project can help attract interested developers to volunteer for mentorships. After a mentee completes their mentorship, a mentor may refer their mentee to the employer if the mentee’s skills align with what the employer is seeking. The employer can then reach out to the mentee to discuss an interview for prospective job opportunities.
Benefits for Project Communities
- Expand involvement of interested new contributors and grow communities.
- Focus participants on critical areas of needed attention, such as fixing bugs and writing technical documentation.
Benefits for Mentees
- Take your first steps in contributing to open source projects and help meet their critical needs while building out your resume of experience and accomplishments.
- Develop your skills: coding, writing, testing, artwork, project management, and more.
- Be guided by the expertise and experience of seasoned mentors.
- For paid internships, receive a stipend for completing your mentorship tasks.
- Upon successful completion, get connected to potential employers who are focused on your project and are looking for employment candidates.
Benefits for Mentors
- Give back by introducing new participants to project communities.
- Pass along to mentees the skills, expertise and experience you’ve developed.
- Leverage mentees to help augment the existing developer community’s resources and efforts.
- Grow your project’s community by helping new developers get involved.
Benefits for Employers
- Connect with interested and excited participants in open source projects.
- Be visible in your support of mentees who are contributing to projects of interest to you.
PLEASE NOTE: Mentees are not employed by The Linux Foundation. The Linux Foundation’s own employment opportunities are available on its primary website at https://www.linuxfoundation.org/about/careers/ and are not available through CommunityBridge.
- Must be at least 18 years of age.
- Must be eligible to work in the country and jurisdiction where the mentee will perform the mentorship.
- Must not reside in a country or jurisdiction where participation in the mentorship would be prohibited under applicable U.S. federal, state or local laws or the laws of other countries.
- Must be seeking to participate on your own behalf as an individual.
- Must not be subject to any existing obligations to third parties (such as contractual obligations to an employer) that would restrict or prohibit your participation in the mentorship.
- Must meet any additional criteria set by the particular project for which you wish to volunteer. Some projects may have custom requirements for mentees. For example, some projects may limit mentorships to students who are currently enrolled in school.
- Should not be a prior participant (maintainer, contributor, etc.) involved with the project for which they want to be an mentee.
- In addition, to be eligible for a mentorship with a stipend:
- Must accurately and timely complete and return any and all required documentation, such as tax forms, for payment of stipends to be permitted
- Must be the intended final recipient of the stipend; you may not receive the stipend on behalf of someone else.
- Must not be restricted from participating and receiving payment by United States export controls or sanctions programs.
There are two models of mentorships available through the program:
- Mentorship without stipend: These mentorships are unpaid and do not offer a stipend. Unless otherwise specified, a mentorship does not include a stipend. If you are participating in an unpaid mentorship, you will not be receiving a stipend or other payment for your participation. You should ensure that you have the means to be able to devote time to the mentorship without receiving payment before you volunteer for an unpaid mentorship. Because you understand and acknowledge that this mentorship arrangement does not include a stipend, you should not ask your mentor or the project for compensation during or after the mentorship.
- Mentorship with Stipend: Some mentorships offer a paid stipend. If you are participating in a mentorship with a stipend, you will be eligible to receive a stipend if you meet the requisite qualifications. Once again, the stipend should not in any sense be considered compensation for services rendered. To the contrary, the stipend is offered as a means of (i) encouraging participation in the program, (ii) offsetting expenses, and (iii) providing financial support for the mentee. The stipend may consist of a single amount upon graduation from the mentorship, or may be provided in increments upon completion of various milestones, as determined by the project that is offering the mentorship. Stipend amounts may differ depending on the jurisdiction in which you are located.
Diversity Matching Stipends
Additionally, to support its diversity initiatives and to encourage participation from a diverse group of mentees, The Linux Foundation is offering matching stipends for the first 100 mentees selected for diversity mentorships through CommunityBridge Mentorship. These stipends will consist of $3,000 USD funded by the project and a matching grant of $3,000 USD funded by The Linux Foundation. In the case of The Linux Foundation’s hosted projects, the stipend will be fully funded by the project.
The Linux Foundation strongly encourages applicants who are from traditionally underrepresented or marginalized groups in the technology and open source communities, including, but not limited to: persons identifying as LGBTQ, women, persons of color, and/or persons with disabilities. Interested candidates should email firstname.lastname@example.org to apply or to ask any questions.
Eligibility for these stipends shall be determined by The Linux Foundation, following confirmation of the mentee’s acceptance into the mentorship by the project as described below. As with all other mentorships with stipends, receiving the stipend is subject to meeting the applicable milestones set by the project. The Linux Foundation will also consider requests for travel funding on a case-by-case basis.
How to Volunteer for a Mentorship
If you are interested in volunteering to be a mentee, you should first create an account on the CommunityBridge platform. You will be asked to provide registration information about yourself, a description of your current skills, and the skills that you hope to acquire or refine. Some of this information requested in connection with the registration process is required, and other information requested is entirely voluntary.
After you have created an account and completed the registration process, you will be able to view a dashboard with potential projects of interest based on the skills you have described. You are also able to search across the projects participating in the CommunityBridge Mentorship program, whether or not they appear in your initial dashboard. You will be able to view more information about the project, including its focus area skills, information about its mentorships including their duration and timing, and the mentors who are connected with that project.
When you have found a project with mentorship opportunities that you’re interested in, you should also take some time to learn more about that project if you are not already familiar with it. You may wish to explore its home page, source code, mailing lists, wikis, and other similar sites to find out more about the project, its goals, and its community. We do not recommend volunteering to be a mentee on a project you do not know anything about.
When you’re ready to volunteer for a mentorship with a project, you can begin by clicking the “Volunteer” button on its detail page. Depending on the project, you may have to complete various tasks before you will be eligible for consideration to be matched with a mentor. You can view the status of the applicable tasks via the “My Tasks” section of your Account page; your requested mentor will update the status of these tasks as you complete them. After you have completed all tasks, the applicable mentor will decide whether to accept you for a mentorship. Note that mentors have limited amounts of time to contribute, and not all who are interested may be matched with mentors and mentorships.
Participating in the Mentorship
During the mentorship period, while you are free to engage in other activities or studies, you will be expected to devote a sufficient amount of time to completing the tasks defined for your particular mentorship. You should meet with your mentor as often as is necessary to allow you to discuss current tasks, goals, roadblocks, and solutions. Leverage your mentor to better understand the details of the project, how the community operates and best practices for your contributions to be accepted.
Your mentorship is intended to provide you with an entryway to begin contributing to an open source project. Therefore, all of your work product (such as patches, documentation, tests, etc.) should be contributed to the project in accordance with its open source licensing and contribution policies of the project.
You will be responsible for any expenses that you incur while participating in the mentorship. In addition, if your mentorship offers a stipend, you will be responsible for all taxes on any stipend amounts you receive.
Graduating from the Mentorship
In order to “graduate” from the mentorship, you must satisfactorily complete all of the tasks defined for your particular mentorship. Your mentor will determine whether you have satisfactorily completed each task. If you and your mentor disagree about whether you have satisfactorily completed the tasks, you should reach out to the project maintainer to discuss.
Upon graduating from the mentorship, you will be listed as a “graduate” for that project on CommunityBridge. If your mentorship offered a stipend, and you meet the other eligibility requirements, you will receive your stipend.
For any type of mentorship, you will also become eligible to be contacted by potential employers through CommunityBridge. Employers who are registered with the project that your mentorship is with will be able to see that you are a graduate of the mentorship program. Your mentor can refer you to a potential employer, who may contact you to discuss possible employment opportunities. Any interactions you may have with a potential employer regarding possible employment opportunities are strictly between you and the employer, and are not part of or connected to your particular mentorship or the CommunityBridge Mentorship service, nor do such interactions involve The Linux Foundation.
- Must be at least 18 years of age.
- Must be a prior participant (maintainer, contributor, etc.) involved with the project for which they want to be a mentor.
- Should have significant experience in the subject matter of the mentorship and in the skills that the mentee will be developing.
- Must not be subject to any existing obligations to third parties (such as contractual obligations to an employer) that would restrict or prohibit performing as a mentor.
- Must be able to devote sufficient time to assisting one or more mentees on a regular basis throughout their mentorships.
How to Volunteer as a Mentor
If you are interested in volunteering to be a mentor, you should first create an account on the CommunityBridge platform. You will be asked to fill in registration information about yourself, as well as details such as your skills and the project(s) for which you wish to be a mentor.
In order to be a mentor for a particular project, you must be approved as a mentor by the project maintainer, such as by being invited by the project maintainer to participate as a mentor.
Participating as a Mentor
After you have been approved as a mentor for a particular project, interested people will be able to submit requests to participate as a mentee with you. Depending on the project’s process and requirements, their request may require them to complete certain tasks or submit certain materials prior to consideration. You will be able to review the completed requests and to decide which requesters to accept as your mentees.
When you have accepted a new mentee, you should schedule an introductory meeting with the mentee to discuss the goals of their mentorship, potential obstacles related to the tasks, and strategies for overcoming them. You should also discuss with the mentee the specifics of their expected work product and time frames for completing the mentorship.
During the mentorship, you should meet regularly with your mentee to discuss the mentee’s current progress and any issues or problems the mentee has encountered. If the mentee is at risk of not completing the mentorship within its time frame, you should address this as early as possible.
As your mentee completes the mentorship program’s tasks, you should regularly communicate with your mentee and keep them informed regarding the status and sufficiency of their completion of tasks. You should evaluate your mentee’s overall performance, and whether the requirements of the mentorship have been achieved, using objective criteria. Assuming successful and timely completion of the tasks, you should indicate that the mentee has successfully completed and “graduated” from the mentorship.
Projects and Project Maintainers
Inclusion of an open source project as a project on CommunityBridge Mentorship will be subject to the review and approval of The Linux Foundation. Among others, relevant considerations may include confirmation that the project is entirely an open source project; that it has sufficient indicia of broad community usage; and that it is aligned to The Linux Foundation’s purposes for the support of open source projects.
How to Offer Mentorships
If you are interested in your project offering mentorships, you should first create an account on the CommunityBridge platform. You will be asked to fill in registration information about yourself and your project. Please note that you may only do so if you are authorized to accept the CommunityBridge Platform Use Agreement on behalf of your project.
After you have filled in the project details, your request will be reviewed by The Linux Foundation and considered for inclusion. You will be notified when a decision has been made.
If your project offers mentorships, you (as the project maintainer) will be responsible for (1) identifying and inviting appropriate individuals to participate as mentors; (2) determining the number and type of mentorships that will be offered; and (3) mediating any disputes between mentees and mentors, including any disputes about whether the mentorship’s tasks were satisfactorily completed.
Inclusion as an employer on CommunityBridge Mentorship will be subject to the review and approval of The Linux Foundation. An employer must commit to providing a minimum of three job interview opportunities for each project that they participate in via the CommunityBridge Mentorship service.
How to Connect with Graduated Mentees
If your company or other organization is interested in being listed as an employer to connect with graduated mentees, you should first create an account on the CommunityBridge platform. You will be asked to fill in registration information about yourself and your company or other organization. Please note that you may only do so if you are authorized to accept the CommunityBridge Platform Use Agreement on behalf of your company or other organization.
After you have filled in the employer details, your request will be reviewed by The Linux Foundation and considered for inclusion. You will be notified when a decision has been made.
By requesting to be listed as an employer with one or more projects, your company or other organization is committing that if it is chosen, it will take reasonable efforts to interview graduates of mentorships for bona fide employment opportunities, including a minimum of three job interview opportunities for each project that your company or other organization is listed within CommunityBridge Mentorship. You should only request to be listed as an employer if your company or other organization is willing to make this commitment.
As an employer, you may also elect to sponsor mentorships with stipends by providing funding for the stipends. If so, you would contribute any such funding via the CommunityBridge Funding service.