Marieke van de Rakt
Marieke van de Rakt is the CEO of Yoast. Her main focus is on growing the company. She is really passionate about maintaining an open and friendly corporate culture. Marieke is also heavily involved in the marketing of Yoast and the Yoast SEO Academy: the online course platform.
WordPress wouldn’t be WordPress if it weren’t for the people. A strong community that is open to anyone who wants to do something with this open source platform. But also a community made up of many volunteers, people who invest a lot of time and other resources to make WordPress even better. To make this community accessible to even more people, our diversity fund aims to remove financial barriers for underrepresented groups. How? And can you apply? Let’s find out!
Watch the video: Diversity Fund
At Yoast, we attach great importance to diversity. That is why we set up the Diversity Fund a few years ago. A fund that enables more people to participate in community events. Since these events often take place online these days, we had to consider a different focus for our diversity fund.
We believe that promoting diversity in any ward or gathering is essential. The same applies to our WordPress community and the associated events. These events are places where we learn, get inspired, meet new friends, and make important career or life decisions. The people we see and meet at these events shape this experience and have the ability to change or expand our worldview.
The Yoast Diversity Fund
Our diversity fund has been around for some time and was originally designed to increase the diversity of speakers at technical conferences. Because conferences still had a long way to go when it came to representing underrepresented or disadvantaged groups. We wanted to help change that. By removing one of the barriers that can prevent someone from sharing their experiences: the finances associated with attending a conference. From hiring a babysitter to transportation costs like a plane ticket or special wheelchair transport.
In 2018, 2019 and 2020:
- We were able to sponsor 70 people
- To take part in a total of 56 events,
- That was all over Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Europe and Australia.
However, the pandemic that has changed so much for many of us has also changed the way we attend conferences. Which now mainly take place online and are often free of charge for the participants. Which one is awesome! Because it makes these events accessible to so many people from all over the world. In a way, even canceling the need for our diversity fund. So we wanted to find another way to spend this money wisely.
We want to keep our diversity fund alive and continue to help the people in the WordPress community. Because of this, our diversity fund is now being used to sponsor people who are working on a project that will benefit WordPress. This can range from teaching a group of people around the world how to use WordPress to writing patches for Core. As long as your project is helping to make WordPress a better or more diverse environment!
So what kind of projects are we looking for? It can be a short term project, like fixing a simple bug, or a longer term project like creating a new WordPress theme. That being said, we’re looking for projects that shouldn’t take longer than a WordPress release cycle of three months. But don’t worry, we’re going to rush you in some way. This fund should simply help you to work on your project without any problems. We will ask you to post a status update for our development blog every two weeks to keep others informed about developments in the WordPress community.
How to apply for the Diversity Fund
Are you already working on a project that suits you well, or do you have a great project idea in the works? Then we’d love to hear about it! Anyone can submit a proposal, just make sure you get the diversity fund before applying May 31, 2021.
If you know someone who can benefit from our diversity fund, let them know right away. We love WordPress, we love the community and we want to work to make it even better and more diverse than it already is!