CoderDojo Ireland Community Call Minutes: 26th February 2016

CoderDojo Ireland

26th of February Minutes

Meeting Details

Date> Monday 26th of February 2016

Time> 18:00 – 19:00 GMT


CoderDojo Foundation Members on the Call:

Mary Moloney CoderDojo Foundation:Global CEO [email protected]
Giustina Mizzoni CoderDojo Foundation:Head Of Development [email protected]
Rosa Langhammer CoderDojo Foundation:Reporting Lead [email protected]
Ross O’Neill CoderDojo Foundation:Community & Communications Lead [email protected]


Meeting Minutes

CoderDojo Community Members on the Call:

John Harrington Carrickmacross Dojo
Pam O’Brien Limerick Dojo
Eugene McDonagh Limerick Dojo
Brian Matthews The Warehouse @ Dublin


Giustina – Starts the call by giving an overview of Charities Act 2009 and the changes in legislation. She outlines the two core options that the CoderDojo Foundation reviewed with the board – The first one being that all Dojos existing in Ireland would have to register with the charity regulator which the foundation felt would both hamper growth of CoderDojo and would become a huge burden for already existing Dojos and the second option was the establishment of CoderDojo Ireland. The reviewal process with the board before Christmas and then in January. It was agreed that the best option of all dojos and prospective new dojos was the establishment of CoderDojo Ireland. From this decision two community committee calls were held and a draft terms of reference where the process of an initial board selection process is outlined. It’s noted that Foundation involvement like with the formation of any regional body is to stimulate the establishment of CoderDojo Ireland with the help and guidance of the committee who would be leading it. It’s noted in the draft terms of reference their is outlined criteria which the CoderDojo Ireland board members would be selected on which the CoderDojo Foundation board approved. The criteria involving a familiarity with CoderDojo, expertise which are essential to the creation of such a body and the best practices and requirements by the Charity Regulator.



  • Giustina opens the call to questions in regards to the proposed formation of CoderDojo Ireland –


Questions –


Eugene – Eugene starts the Q&A by saying he doesn’t have initial questions but has comments. He notes that the first mailout was on the 26th of January with two community calls held two days later on the 28th of January and the second on the 1st of February which in his opinion was too short notice. He notes that the initial email was sent to both verified Champions/Mentors but not to the Dojo emails. He notes that it was not sent to the Google Organisers Groups, was not published in the Zen Forums, was not announced on Twitter which in his opinion is the main forms of communication within the CoderDojo community.


Giustina – Clarifies that it was posted in the announcements section of the Zen forums in January. She notes that the point in regards to Dojo emails was fair.


Eugene – Eugene notes that the subject line heading of the emails in his opinion did not signify the importance of the changes being made in legislation. He notes that such items in his opinion need to be communicated more effectively and clearly. He notes there is no search on the Zen Forums so he could not find the announcement. In his opinion the communication had not been good enough throughout.

Pam – Notes that she received the communication but is having issues with emails from the CoderDojo Foundation ending up in her ‘Promotions’ section of your email account.


Eugene – Notes that in his opinion that any communication of this significance and importance should be sent directly from an account. He does note he agrees with the formation of CoderDojo Ireland. He notes that the regional body of CoderDojo Ireland was originally discussed when he himself was an employee of the CoderDojo Foundation, and it was then left for months and months. He notes that we noted in the call that the CoderDojo Foundation have been in contact with the regulator but that on his departure he made it very clear that in his opinion which was also communicated to some individuals on this call it was for the community of Ireland to start this process off. He notes he had left community members in his place to push this forward and in his opinion it should have been communicated earlier. In his opinion it should not have been communicated in the manner it has by dictating to the community what is happening. In regards to the charity act he notes the Foundation is dictating on how this process is going ahead from the beginning. He notes that the Foundation is the one who feels it’s best for all dojos to register as one body. He notes that maybe some members of the community do not feel the same. Eugene references how the Scouts are going ahead in regards to this. Eugene also notes he has been in contact with the charity regulator. He notes the National Youth council of Ireland had been in contact with the regulator and CoderDojo has be referred to within that conversation and that the creation of templates with certain constitutions for Dojos to register themselves with the regulator.


Rosa – Notes she attended the first meeting organised by NYCI, and The Wheel and attended by other charitable organisations similar to CoderDojo where the change in legislation had come to their attention. In further discussion with NYCI and The Wheel members – she notes the Scouts are the only organisation who are going down the individual registration route. She notes that from talks with the charity regulator the proposed template is a very good initial method for existing dojos but any new prospective dojos it would not apply to them which would become problematic – she notes it doesn’t ignore the amount of reporting and regulation thereafter.


John – Notes that to the general points being made he agrees but in his opinion that the conversation should be pulled back to the legislation. John asks about the definition of a charity – does CoderDojo and its operations fall under that and does the change in the charity act affect CoderDojo if we don’t fall under that definition?


Mary – Notes that the formation of CoderDojo Ireland has been in long discussion dating back to 2013. Mary references a case study that Eugene & Pete were involved in regards to the concept of a regional body and its definition in a CoderDojo context. She notes that irrespective of the change in legislation that the concept of CoderDojo Ireland has been an ongoing process. Mary notes that regionalisation within the CoderDojo movement has been happening in parallel with the Charity Regulator processes with many countries outside of Ireland. Mary notes that the initial belief is that CoderDojo would not fall under this scope of the charity regulator act in particular dojos who have no monetary dealings. Mary notes the large amount of work done on Rosa’s part in regards to the Charity Regulator. Mary notes that the CoderDojo Foundation pushed and pushed in regards to this change and it was clearly defined to the Charity Regulator that CoderDojo is made up of many definitions of different types of dojos but their response that each type of dojo was deemed by the Charity Regulator as having a charity body. Mary notes that the regulator was definitive and that as dojos fulfilled a ‘charitable purpose’ is the reason dojos fall under this definition and such the CoderDojo community must comply with. Mary notes that not all dojos have to agree to be under the CoderDojo Ireland body. Dojos have the option to be independent within its operations. However it is noted that the person/persons running and independent dojo take on themselves the obligation to register with the charity regulator and be compliant with the processes involved. Mary notes that fundamentally no dojo will be forced to join the regional body but notes if they don’t join they still have to comply with the regulator and the changes in legislation.


John –  If a Dojo decides to leave the CoderDojo movement and create for example a Community Coding Class would the change in branding still warrant compliance with the regulator.


Giustina & Mary – Absolutely


Giustina – Notes the definition of a ‘charitable purpose’ is very broad and falls under movements such as health, education, community groups and religious purposes.


Mary – Notes that something a small as a ‘Mindfulness Workshop’ run for free for parents even falls under this definition.


Giustina – Notes that it was communicated by the regulator that their focus will be on bodies that receive large sums of money but that if they receive complaints about local Dojos, from parents or any other interest groups, then they will have to investigate.


John – Notes have we sent a poll or survey to the community to communicate that we are against this change in legislation?


Mary – Unfortunately the legislation has been enacted and is undergoing formalisation.


Eugene – Notes why was challenged by other organisations, such as The Wheel, but was never communicated to the community.


Giustina – The change is legislation was written before CoderDojo existed and before the foundation existed back in 2007/08. It was due to be enacted in 2009 but due to the financial crisis there was limited funds for the regulator to take on that scope. Unfortunately it is very much too late to oppose it as the legislation has commenced.


Pam – Notes she sees the need for it in relation to the change in legislation, however it was mention that the implementation was CoderDojo Ireland was discussed before this issue, why form this body and what affect does it have on me as a Champion of a Dojo.


Mary – Notes that there should not be any extra overhead apart from providing information to the body in regards to your dojos operations to ensure compliance. Outside of that the extra overhead would be for the people who wish to take it upon themselves to set up CoderDojo Ireland. Mary explains the benefits of regionalisation and how other countries use their regional body such as using a national legal entity to acquire national funding for national initiatives which is outside of the Foundation’s remit and were not available.


Pam – Questions as the CoderDojo Foundation is based in Ireland would the proposed body of CoderDojo Ireland be able to fundraise effectively.


Giustina – Names the small number current funding partners that the Foundation is funded by for CoderDojo’s global operations (Salesforce, Microsoft, Sean O’Sullivan Foundation) and that these partnerships are for international initiatives and not national so there would be no issues or overlap with funding.


John –  Notes his concern that both bodies would be in competition with each other for funding.


Giustina – Notes that the Foundation does not seek national Irish specific funding or Irish specific grant application funds. Notes that the Foundation on behalf of CoderDojo Ireland is applying for the American Ireland funds this week for funds to be used directly by CoderDojo Ireland.


Mary – Notes there is specific funds that are available for national bodies but as the CoderDojo Foundation is a global entity we are exempt from these. Notes that currently we do not have an Ireland based funder except Science Foundation Ireland*.


Pam – Notes that the number of companies mention have offices in Ireland.


Mary – Notes that if we take Microsoft Ireland for example have a CSR budget specifically for Ireland. Notes that the foundation receives no funding from Microsoft Ireland but rather from Microsoft Europe. The funding we have received is to be used on mainland Europe primarily in Central and Eastern Europe. Hypothetically if Microsoft Ireland wishes to use its CSR budget with CoderDojo, it would be with CoderDojo Ireland and not the CoderDojo Foundation.

Giustina – Refers to CoderDojo Poland as an example of regionalisation funding with Samsung or CoderDojo England & Wales and Thomson Reuters. The CoderDojo Foundation do go after any of the regional specific partners. Notes that the Samsung sponsored the EU Dojo but it has been very open in both directions where the Foundation and the regional body work together.


Pam – Notes geographically that CoderDojo Foundation is based in Ireland and the proposed CoderDojo Ireland would be based in Ireland and as a result might not be able to do one of its primary purposes due to this.


John – Notes that the legislation is there and we need to work with it. Notes that the clarification on the benefits on regionalisation need to be outlined irrespective of the change in legislation and what it means to both the people who take on the task of forming CoderDojo Ireland and what it means to a Dojo on the ground level.

Eugene – Notes he agrees with the setting up with CoderDojo Ireland however he doesn’t agree with how it is being done before the community get to have an input.


Giustina – Clarifies that the purpose of this call and the previous two community calls is to debate and discuss the formation of CoderDojo Ireland. Notes that the future of CoderDojo Ireland, its purpose, its remit, if it’s voluntary, if it exists for annual reporting purposes, if it wishes to fundraise or not fundraise – those decisions are entirely up to the initial board with consultation by the CoderDojo Irish community.


Eugene – Questions – hypothetically what would happen if CoderDojo Ireland becomes a formal registered body and does not agree with the CoderDojo Foundation regional licence?

Giustina – Notes we would work with the body to form a regional licence they agree and notes the CoderDojo Foundation is working with over 10 countries globally to create region specific licences.


Eugene – Enquires is the registration of CoderDojo Ireland with the charity regulator a set outcome of its formation?


Giustina – Notes that yes that would be set as it would be one of its core purposes.


Eugene – Notes that this then sets CoderDojo Ireland down one path where administration where the requirements to become these administrators is set by the Foundation and not the community.


Giustina – Notes the initial board members will make that decision and notes that the deadline to register with the regulator is the 16th of April. Giustina notes that the regulator has said that if we submit a letter of intent they will extend the deadline to give the initial board enough time to survey the community, get input and then register full. It is noted that it is entirely up to CoderDojo Ireland on how that process will go forth and the processes with the charity regulator.


John – Enquires what would happen if after the formation of CoderDojo Ireland that it is decided not to follow under the CoderDojo Foundation.


Giustina – The goal currently is to select individuals from the Irish CoderDojo Community who possess certain skillsets that are required to run a board.


John – Enquires why the CoderDojo Foundation is selecting the board and not the Irish Community.


Giustina – Notes that the members selected would be initial board members as it is required to have initial people to lead and steer this.


Mary – Notes that since the regionalisation licence has been published nobody in Ireland has approached the CoderDojo Foundation.


Eugene – Notes he doesn’t know when the regional licence was published by the CoderDojo Foundation. Notes that in his opinion it has not been talked enough in Ireland and in his opinion this process has been rushed the past couple of weeks and notes he does agree with the setting up of CoderDojo Ireland but does not agree with the Foundation selecting the initial board.


Mary – Clarifies that the CoderDojo Foundation are not the selection committee for the board members of the board of the proposed body CoderDojo Ireland. Notes anyone in the community of Ireland can put forward their expressed interest. Mary clarifies that the selection committee is an independent panel made up of experts. She notes there is one representation from the CoderDojo Foundation.


Eugene – Clarifies that the CoderDojo Foundation holds two representations on the independent panel made up of three representatives.


Giustina – Notes who the members of the panel are: herself (Giustina Mizzoni who is Head of Development of the CoderDojo Foundation), Noel Ruane who is an experienced entrepreneur and venture Partner with Polaris as well as a CoderDojo Foundation Director, and Darren Ryan who is CEO of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland.


Eugene – Notes that he has no issues with any of the individuals on the panel however he notes they are linked to the CoderDojo Foundation, they are selected by the CoderDojo Foundation and in his opinion is not right. Eugene also notes that in his opinion it should have been communicated to the community and got clearance.


Mary – Clarifies that the peoples of the initial board are selected based on a criteria of a board composition that is compliant with the charity regulator. Notes a certain amount of skillsets and skillset types is required to meet this criteria. There is plenty of scope of any community member who has expressed interested in regards to the board to be involved.


John – Notes that his is to kickstart the process and then a democratic process can begin on a community level.


Mary – Notes that if any community member expresses and interest might just wish to be part of the process and those initial people will be the people who will engage with the Irish community on how CoderDojo Ireland will go forth. Clarifies that it is entirely up to the members of the Irish community and its board where and how CoderDojo Ireland will operate and what its purpose is.


Eugene – Enquires on the timeline of events.


Mary – Clarifies that the last meetings took place at the end of November. Discussions took place during December and a special CoderDojo board meeting was held on January 16th where it was agreed that the proposed formation of CoderDojo Ireland was the best option.


John – Questions how the CoderDojo Foundation Board constituted and how is it that the same process is not present.


Mary & Giustina – Note how the board of the foundation was originally formed and who was on it. They also note the previous board members and new board members during its infancy and why these individuals were on the board. It was noted that Terms of Reference

will be published online for the community to access.


Eugene – Recommends that important emails need to be BCC’d from an individual email.

Brian – Questions what is the timeframe and effective duration of first term of the board?


Giustina – Deadline for expressed interest is this Sunday – first proposed board meeting to take place sometime in April. The proposed duration would be a 1 year term.


Brian – Notes that in his opinion a 1 year term is too long.


Rosa – Notes that the timeline was proposed based on setting up with the Charity Regulator, setting up a CRO, setting up with the Revenue. This can roughly take at least 6/7 months but this timeframe can be adjusted as per the communities suggestion.


Eugene – Suggests could the board to sit until DojoCon where an official election could take place. Questions would CoderDojo Ireland get the support of A&L Goodbody?


Giustina – In regards to A&L it is noted that absolutely that is the intention as they are also currently helping Coolest Projects to formalise. In terms of DojoCon absolutely that can be communicated to the initial CoderDojo Ireland board.





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