This is a long one, grab a cup of coffee.
Heck, it's New Years Eve, grab a cocktail instead.
I've had a number of conversations with folks in the broader Nightscout community the last few weeks, as well as friends I know in the nonprofit world. It's almost amusing how many great people that have served on or managed nonprofit groups have asked me "How's it going?" with a sly smile on their face. I've come to learn that the one-year point is a pretty typical point to have an identity crisis if you're a non-profit. The initial adrenaline of something new is gone, and while many things have worked out, some haven't. Some days, it's simply a very frustrating place to be, and I know every member of the Foundation board has felt it. With that said, every single one of these people has been encouraging, and expects great things are still in the works. We've also had some incredible highlights in 2015:
- PCORI contract awarded in partnership with Dr. Lee's team.
- Selection as one of BT1's first group of grantees, with an award of $20,000 for piloting a research project
- Approval of our Microsoft Azure for Research grant request, giving the Foundation expanded resources in the Azure framework.
- Deeper relationship with Pebble on the business side for our user base, enabling over 1,000 community members to upgrade or purchase new Pebbles
- Incredible success with Children with Diabetes conferences in 2015.
It's important to note that these are the bigger pieces of the puzzle that we initially set out to accomplish, leveraging the power of a community to do more, together.
So, what's next?
In 2016, we're going to focus on that very question, "What's next?" You're going to see us push projects and efforts that offer support to as broad a cross section of the "We Are Not Waiting," family as possible. I believe that by focusing on the needs of this group, we can offer something long lasting and impact the T1 community in places other groups aren't. To that end, you'll see the Nightscout Foundation focus on these areas:
- Community and Outreach Efforts. This includes the continued support of the CGM in the Cloud group, but also other social media and communication channels. This also includes our support and/or presence at CWD, D-Data, #makehealth and other conferences that impact our community of citizen scientists. Wes' efforst in this area are beyond measure, and I know he's already planning on how to make this year even better. What's next? Honorariums for CWD Presenters to help defray the costs for our most ardent supporters.
- Software QA and Usability. The edges are an incredibly exciting place, but they're also where the edges are sharpest. We've seen the community grow dependent on Nightscout in all its permutations, and I believe we can support the people doing the dirty work of optimization and QA/QC. We're still having a lot of talks, but it's important that we focus on making the software dependable for the customer base, and simplify the options and process of getting people's data where they want it, when they want it. What's next? Simple apps for each platform that work and alert as needed to match the current user expectations and development efforts based on user survey and support team input.
- Creating a Nightscout STEM Scholarship Fund. This was part of the original five year goal, but provides an easy and obvious way for the Foundation to support the next wave of hackers, do-gooders, and tinkerers. The initial recipients would be college-bound kids that show aptitude for making, serving, and are T1. Depending on funding, this could expand to sending people to camps. Gail Devore will be heading up this effort, look for more information in the next couple of weeks. What's next? We don't know, but we're going to support the next generation of makers that will show us.
- Relationship Building. Working with Microsoft and Pebble has been incredibly beneficial for our community already. We can continue to make strides with groups like Beyond Type 1, University of Michigan, and others to deliver resources to the community. With a more clear focus on the projects above, we can reach back out to groups like JDRF, ADA and Banting to present them focused projects and goals that they can evaluate for support. What's next? Partnerships that deliver resources and opportunities to our community in a way that reduces the burden of T1 on their lives.
We have an incredibly vibrant community that loves the Nightscout project and the people around it. We have incredibly smart people in that community that can offer their skills in development, management, QA/QC, marketing, reviewing, supporting, evangelizing, whatever you ask. It's time to really show our community's strength and tackle some of these challenges. I've said numerous times that I consider the greatest goal of the Foundation is to enable smart people to do incredible things. To me, every one of these areas is serving that greatest goal.
You'll also see the Foundation acting more cohesively, and we're planning a few meetings throughout the year to reconnect with each other and the wider community. We're looking to wrap events around the April CWD event, July in Florida with CWD, and then November in alignment with D-Data. I cannot tell you how much better I felt coming out of D-Data after sitting down with Jason, West, John and Ben and just talking broadly about Nightscout and the Foundation. I'm also setting up monthly Hangouts, and they will be open to anyone that wants to hear the boring business be part of the conversation, or throw out an idea.
We are moving in to what's next. We've enjoyed an incredible first year and it's time to get down to real work for this community. I personally commit to more work and better communication with the broader community, and I hope each of you will feel free to e-mail me personally if there is some place where I or the Foundation can assist you or a project you love.
Thank you to every single person that has supported the Foundation this year, through a kind word, direct donations, or by volunteering at one of the events. Thank you for all you do for our community.
James Wedding, P.E.
President, Board of Directors