Revisions to The Carpentries governance structure

In a significant move towards autonomy, The Carpentries streamlines its governance structure to benefit our global community.


In August 2023, we announced our plan to operate as an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organisation. Becoming a standalone nonprofit organisation offers our community several advantages, and here we will offer background information, share our current status, and provide you with an update on the future of our governance structure. To learn more about the history of our governance, read our blog posts tagged “governance”.

Benefits of The Carpentries as a Standalone Non-profit Organisation

Independence and greater flexibility

Our current legal structure is called “fiscal sponsorship.” This status has allowed The Carpentries to accept tax-deductible donations and qualify for grant funding by working with our current fiscal sponsor, Community Initiatives, a 501(c)(3) organisation. As our fiscal sponsor, Community Initiatives provides comprehensive administrative services and support, allowing The Carpentries to focus on programming and supporting our community. We have certainly benefited from fiscal sponsorship and are very grateful for Community Initiatives; they share our excitement about becoming a standalone non-profit organisation.

As a standalone 501(c)(3) organisation, we will gain complete control over our finances, governance structure, and operations. Under this structure, we will no longer rely on our fiscal sponsor for administrative support, giving us greater flexibility in creating policies and workflows that promote equity for our global community.

501(c)(3) refers to the tax code within the USA (where The Carpentries is registered) that is assigned to independent, non-profit organisations. Many grant-making organisations require applicants to have 501(c)(3) status. Transitioning will expand our access to funding opportunities and enhance our competitiveness for grants. Additionally, 501(c)(3) status provides tax-exempt benefits to donors, potentially increasing our fundraising capacity. Establishing a standalone legal entity will also help better protect the organisation’s assets, including our logos and trademarks.

Long-term stability and brand recognition

Non-profit status provides a stable foundation for long-term planning and sustainability. As an independent organisation, we will have more flexibility in decision-making, program development, and organisational structure, allowing us to adapt more easily to the changing needs of our community. We have built incredible brand recognition globally as The Carpentries through our lesson programs (Data, Library, and Software); independence will improve public perception and collaboration opportunities.

The Carpentries Governance

You will have noticed several calls for participation in our governance, including a call for candidates for The Carpentries Board of Directors, a community election, and our election results. As a fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives, we have governed the organisation through a nine-member Executive Council since 2018 (see The Structure of The Carpentries Executive Council). Since The Carpentries is transitioning out of fiscal sponsorship to an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organisation, the Executive Council proposed and approved the following changes to our governance, which took effect on 1 February 2024:

  • An eleven-member Board of Directors will govern the Carpentries, responsible for strategic and organisational planning, financial oversight, approving and monitoring The Carpentries programs and services, and enhancing The Carpentries public image.
  • We are dissolving the previous nine-member Executive Council structure to optimise our governance in favour of a simpler three-person Advisory Committee. This new group will coordinate any remaining activities with Community Initiatives. Rationale: Fiscally sponsored projects of Community Initiatives require only a three-person Advisory Committee responsible for managing our project director (currently Dr. Kari L. Jordan), approving our budget, and negotiating the terms of the fiscal sponsorship agreement.

Once our fiscal sponsorship transition is complete, the three-person Advisory Committee will cease functioning, and our sole governing body will be the Board of Directors.

The Carpentries Advisory Committee

The three members of The Carpentries Advisory Committee are:

  • Yanina Bellini Saibene, rOpenSci
  • Konrad Förstner, ZB MED and TH Köln
  • Nisha Ghatak, New Zealand eScience Infrastructure

Contact the Advisory Committee by email or by filling out this form.

The Carpentries Board of Directors

The eleven members of The Carpentries Board of Directors are:

  • John Chodacki (President), California Digital Library (term ends January 2025)
  • Yanina Bellini Saibene (Vice President), rOpenSci (term ends January 2025)
  • Sarah Stevens (Secretary), University of Wisconsin-Madison (term ends January 2025)
  • Michael Smith (Treasurer), The PEER Group (term ends January 2025)
  • Tara Robertson, Tara Robertson Consulting (term ends July 2025)
  • Eboni Dotson, Atlanta University Center Data Science Initiative (term ends July 2025)
  • Konrad Förstner, ZB MED and TH Köln (term ends July 2025)
  • Nisha Ghatak, New Zealand eScience Infrastructure (term ends February 2027)
  • Jannetta Steyn, Newcastle University (term ends February 2027)
  • Mark Crowe, QCIF (term ends February 2027)
  • Paola Corrales, University of Bueno Aires (term ends February 2027)

Contact the Board by email or by filling out this form.

Thank You

We are grateful to all of our governance structures’ current and past members. With their help, we have developed and sustained a community-led governance structure to support our transition to standalone non-profit status. We invite you to learn more about The Carpentries governance by visiting the governance page of our website.

Dialogue & Discussion

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