Suspension and Termination policy memo

Published: Mar 26, 2024

Maturing Catalyst

Project Catalyst has grown tremendously over the past three years. It has produced a fantastic amount of unique and diverse projects. As with time, the maturity and process readiness of the program has evolved as well to upkeep with the ever growing needs of funded cohorts. There's a delicate balance to be maintained between appropriate levels of oversight but equally freedom to deliver based on the premise of funded projects.

With now nearly 800 projects complete and about 1.3K funded in total - another opportunity presents to level up our collective efforts. During many retrospectives and associated feedback loops it has been identified the ever present need to improve overall transparency and accountability of the past, present and future outcomes. This has been a consistent theme throughout every feedback loop available.

It is also the Catalyst team's commitment to continue gathering actionable feedback through the lenses of Catalyst Working Groups that will be taking place in 16 in person locations around the world and at least 10 online events to help further optimize via recommendations for community led parameter and guardrail optimizations. We hope to see you in some of them.

Feedback loops

As with innovative projects, some may succeed fully, others partially or not at all. And that’s okay as long as lessons learned can be accounted for by projects coming next. This has been the primary reason for the availability of the official project close out process, including community assets such as video and report. Learning from the past is an efficient way to prepare for what’s ahead while allowing the wider community to better understand outcomes and impact of projects they voted for initially.

However, Catalyst has historically lacked policy and approach on how to account for projects that may require adjustment of their scope, pausing/temporarily suspending their operations, or eventually sunsetting them all together. Biggest gap was the perceived uncertainty of some outstanding grants. While the change request process has now been implemented and gradually iterated alongside the statement of milestones, in some instances such an approach is not a viable option. There - a formal policy is being introduced that offers avenues to both - Grantees (funded projects) but equally also Fund Operator to help account for projects that may require sunsetting or bringing to a premature closure.

Recently, the monthly reporting process has been sunset following implementation of funded cohort feedback loops on its low efficiency and high admin requirement. In absence of monthly check-ins - delivery of timely milestones is going to be critical. And by proxy, adequate communication about project updates whenever possible.

In the majority of cases, this new policy will account for projects that have not reported in recent time periods or otherwise have not adequately updated on their progress to date. As with any program of this scale, there are going to be a number of projects with uncertain status - this will help bring up to date clarity for the community on how those are going to be classified. It is worth noting that in some instances - terminations and suspension of projects could result in temporary or permanent cooldown periods during which any future submission for additional grants may not be acceptable.

What’s ahead?

The plan is to gradually introduce this policy and socialize first. Current timeline suggests official implementation as of May 1st, 2024. Goal is to give enough advance notice to all participants and allow grantees and the community at large to review in detail.

Once policy is live, key timing markers on grace periods will be stipulated as the last announced stated/intended date of completions, scheduled milestones’ submission, or the latest official communication available on the record. Projects which should have been completed by now or progressed meaningfully, will have an opportunity to update their proof of achievements or complete their status by meeting the relevant closure guidelines before May 1st by submitting Project Closeout Report and Video.

This buffer period gives also opportunity for the Catalyst team to reach all projects that are at risk individually via email one more time. From May 1st, 2024, all projects will be followed up according to the new policy. Here you may find a high overview of the process flow. It is the Catalyst team’s commitment to work with each of the Grantees to help bring every project wherever possible to closure.

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