Happy 2018! As we enter into OpenMRS’ fourteenth year, I am regularly reminded of the amazing power of community. It’s anywhere you look: from the hundreds of new code contributions to our code base by dozens of new contributors each month, to the hundreds of “helping hand” communications on our forums, to the tireless efforts of our infrastructure, internship, and leadership teams. Our community has an amazing, uncanny ability to aggressively advance our mission, 24 hours a day seven days a week. As someone who can remember the days when the community members could be counted on one hand, it’s hard not to be proud of what everyone – collectively – has accomplished.
During our recent annual OpenMRS Implementer’s Meeting in Malawi, we heard from many countries who are in the process of implementing OpenMRS themselves at national scale, and many others who are in the process of learning how to do the same. We witnessed the continued growth and proliferation of OpenMRS Distributions. We had the opportunity to meet many amazing contributors face-to-face, watch many friendships deepen, and many more partnerships form. I walked away from Lilongwe convinced that the community’s best days are yet to come.
However, all of this community growth requires increasing coordination and support. In response, we created a not-for-profit organization called OpenMRS, Inc. That entity exists to support, nurture, and further advance the community’s mission, as well as protect the intellectual property we’ve committed to the global public good. OpenMRS, Inc. seeks to secure the long term sustainability of the community, and has committed to raise the financial and human resources to ensure that our countless volunteer contributions are leveraged to improve health outcomes around the world.
Today, I’m thrilled to announce that OpenMRS, Inc. received a $1 million dollar donation from the Pineapple Fund. This donation came as a product of a competitive application process, awarded to initiatives that demonstrate international-scale impact and novel, innovative ways of solving society’s most vexing problems. We are looking forward to using this generous donation to further support our strategic goals, and to increase the long-term sustainability of the OpenMRS community. Stay tuned for more specifics about this important contribution in the days to come.
But for me, the most gratifying part of this amazing news, was learning that “Pine”, the anonymous donor behind this ~$86 million dollar cryptocurrency philanthropy, has contributed software patches to OpenMRS in the past! This person had contributed time to the community, and had a first hand understanding of what we are trying to accomplish. This growing community and our approach to open source health record software was the primary motivation for the donation. If that is not validation to all of the hard work we do to ensure that new contributors from all walks of life are welcome and productive, I don’t know what is!
I hope we can all take a moment, in this time of appreciation and accomplishment, to reflect on the awesome power of our community. Together, we have and will continue to do amazing things.