Board Meeting Minutes, October 2021

A meeting of the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF) Board was held via video call on Wednesday 27th October 2021  from 18:30 - 20:00

Board members who dialled in: Helen Turvey (HT) (Vice Chair), Ira Bolychevsky (IB), Tim Hubbard (TH) 

Observers: Renata Avila (RA) (CEO), Cassandra Woolford (CW) (DOF), Meg Foulkes (MF) (BDM)

Apologies: Vanessa Barnett (VEB) (Chair), Jarmo Eskelinen (JE), Johnny West (JW)


Welcome & review of minutes & actions [Chair]

TH welcomed everyone, especially RA as the new CEO.  TH asked for guidance and feedback from RA as to how the Board can support her, what’s useful and what isn’t. 

The minutes from the July 2021 board meeting were approved.

CEO Update [RA]

RA shared she has received a very warm welcome from the community. 

RA confirmed she is planning the new strategy with an international focus and a network focus, following the evolved open space with a mind to be aware of open washing.

She is already in contact with many of the network chapters and the OKF team are supportive of this international direction and are sharing ideas for global community enhancement.

The first team Face to Face will be at the end of March 2022.

HT and RA engaged in a discussion around the prototype funds that are offered in Germany and Switzerland. RA is keen to find out more and understand how a global prototype fund could work so organisations outside of Germany and Switzerland can apply. 

RA wants to find the common denominator for the open space, to renew the communities and build on the enthusiasm that is becoming global for the open movement.

She shared that she believes that an important role for OKF is to reconnect intergenerationally and also with the environmental movement.

RA asked for recommendations of people to meet and speak with, and any communities that we can reconnect with. 

Leadership Team Update [CW + MF]

CW shared that team morale has improved significantly, upon RA’s arrival and the team have reacted well to RA’s initial ideas and thoughts especially around igniting the network. 

Frictionless Data Cohort III has commenced following approval from the board in the July meeting.  Negotiations are underway with our clients for two repeat projects, with expected contract signature before the end of the Financial year. 

The team delivered a successful Hackathon with constructive and positive feedback, with high level ideas for future events.  CW also informed the board about a new tool created within the frictionless data team, called Livemark. The team used the tool to create a Global Covid tracking website. They have created a youtube video on how to use the tool and it is already being deployed across projects within the organisation. 

MF gave an overview of the Justice program activities that have occurred in the last quarter, including two interactive webinar sessions. 

MF confirmed all projects are on track with no issues.

Finance Update [CW]

CW delivered Q3 Financial updates, which show a positive increase to forecasted surplus. 

The forecasted position for the Year End is considerably healthier than budgeted, which means OKF has a strong runway of at least one year - worst case scenario. 

CW touched on the subject of what does ‘sustainability’ mean to OKF and the board and this should be considered and agreed for reporting purposes. Also to consider the reserve balance and confirm its validity. CW proposed these items are addressed in the next financial year. A board suggestion to balance these items with value creation and also to consider the new strategy and mission when reviewing and addressing these questions.

RA confirmed that the new strategy will include metrics and indicators for performance and impact. Confirmation from the Board that evidence from metrics and impact encourages funders to support our cause.  

Risk Register [CW]

CW gave a high level overview of the risk register, a number of risks were identified as being reduced and two risks were archived with board approval.

Datopian [RP]

No board meeting with Datopian has occurred since the new CEO joined in the summer. 

The board confirmed it’s important to inform RA of the Datopian / OKF relationship so it can be managed moving forward. The CKAN stewards have not provided documentation for the board to review the progress of the agreement. Action: JE, IB and RA to meet to discuss history and decide the structure for the future working relationship.


RA shared that OKF plans to recruit a new developer and there will be a future focus on making the frictionless data and CKAN communities more diverse and inclusive.

The board invited RA to think about new board members, with the intention to recruit new members in the next year.   Action: CW to share previous recommendations with RA. 

The board acknowledged CW and MF for guiding and leading the organisation without a CEO for over a year. Managing the team, keeping the finances steady, and successful project delivery by the team as well as informative and transparent communication to board was appreciated.