Bevy Foundation

Posted on March 11, 2024 by Carter Anderson ( A silhouette of a figure with cat ears waving a tentacle, or Octocat: GitHub's mascot and logo @cart A vector art of a grey bird flying; former logo of X (formerly Twitter) @cart_cart A triangle pointing right in a rounded rectangle; Youtube's logo cartdev )

It is with excitement that I unveil to the world ...

Bevy Foundation Logo

The Bevy Foundation is the next step in our journey to build a world class free and open source game engine. Bevy Foundation is a non-profit organization formed in Washington State, with a pending federal 501(c)(3) tax-exemption application (more on this later).

This is a big step for us and it was not taken lightly. This will be a long blog post, so I'll cover the highlights here:

  1. Bevy Foundation is largely a legal formalization of the leadership and operational structure we have already been using. The "Bevy leadership" that you know (and hopefully trust) is also at the helm of Bevy Foundation. The biggest difference is that power is distributed more evenly.
  2. Nothing is fundamentally changing about how we build and release Bevy as free and open source software. This is not a business model rug-pull. It is a legal formalization of our mission to build and release Bevy as free and open source software to members of the general public (you!).
  3. You can now donate to the Bevy Foundation to support us!

Some History #

We have come such a long way since I first released Bevy to the world in 2020. What was once a one person side project is now built by hundreds of people and used by thousands (we recently broke a million downloads!). Bevy is the most popular, most used game engine built in Rust, and the second most popular open source game engine on GitHub.

I (Carter / @cart) am still Bevy's Project Lead, but I no longer make all of the decisions. For years now The Bevy Organization has delegated decision making authority across members of the Bevy community. We have 5 excellent Maintainers and even more Subject Matter Experts that were each pivotal in making Bevy what it is today.

As we have grown, we have accumulated what I will call "organizational debt":

  • Funding Bevy Has Been A Popularity Contest: For years, our donate button linked directly to my GitHub sponsors page. This was acceptable early on when I was the only one spending significant time on the project, but that is no longer the case. Last year, we replaced that with a page that any Bevy Organization member could list themselves on. While fairer than the "everything goes to @cart" model, it resulted in funding being a "popularity contest". And unfortunately, given how attached my name is to the project, in practice I still received the majority of the sponsorships. Presenting donors with the task of picking someone to back also deeply complicated the donation process, which likely turned some donors off. We need a simple, centralized donation model where we can direct funds fairly to the areas of the project that need them the most.
  • We Lacked "Organizational Legitimacy": We would like to attract the attention (and funding) of people and companies serious about gamedev. An informal collective of Bevy developers (each asking for support individually) lacks the legitimacy required to attract some entities. We need to be able to present a centralized and transparent view of our operations, with accountable and professional people at the helm.
  • Carter Held (And Owned) The Keys: Up until this point, I have owned Bevy-related intellectual property such as the copyright for the Bevy logo. I also owned the domain name and had exclusive administrative control over most of our infrastructure and communities. I have had absolute authority over all aspects of the project since its inception. Yes, I have delegated, but it all stemmed from me at the root. This had its efficiencies, but it is no longer sustainable for me or ethically sound when there are so many others that deserve actual legal say over how the project is run. There is also the "bus factor" to consider. If something were to happen to me, some aspects of the Bevy project would be lost forever.

Bevy needs a structure that lets us work together: a legal entity that embodies our goals and principles, where responsibility and decision making are all shared.

Introducing the Bevy Foundation! #

Our Mission #

To quote our 501(c)(3) application:

Our mission is to promote, protect, and advance the free and open source Bevy Engine and related open source projects. We coordinate and promote its continued maintenance and development, educate and train members of the general public in its usage, and conduct research and development to advance the state of the art of creating real-time applications and simulations.

In short: we exist to develop Bevy and teach people how to use it!

Bevy Foundation is a non-profit incorporated in Washington State. This means that the money we raise cannot be used to benefit our members, officers, or directors, except as compensation for services rendered. We do not have "owners" or "shareholders". We are formed exclusively to accomplish our mission as stated above as a public benefit.

Federal 501(c)(3) Application #

We have also applied for a federal 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity designation.

If our 501(c)(3) application is accepted, this status will exempt us from federal income tax and allow donors in the United States to deduct their donations on their federal taxes.

Note that the 501(c)(3) application has not yet been approved, and there has been an increasing number of denials for technology-oriented charities. The experts we have talked to have told us not to get our hopes up.

If we are denied, our default strategy will be to continue operating as a state-only charity and pay federal taxes. As long as we spend most of the donations we receive, the taxes shouldn't be too painful. We may also consider other designations, such as 501(c)(6), but we are cautious about that designation. We want to focus on the members of the Bevy community as people, not through the lens of their commercial interests.

If tax-deductibility is important to you, please do not donate until we receive a determination. But also note that if our application is accepted, donations made prior to our acceptance will retroactively be tax-deductible! Neat!

The Board of Directors #

We are run by the Bevy Foundation Board of Directors. All actions taken by Bevy Foundation are determined by a vote of the board.

The current Board of Directors is: Carter Anderson (@cart), Alice Cecile (@alice-i-cecile), Fran├žois Mockers (@mockersf), Robert Swain (@superdump), and James Liu (@james7132).

I have been elected President of the board and Alice has been elected Secretary. For logistical reasons, I have also been elected interim Treasurer to get our initial financial situation spun up. It makes sense for a US-based board member to set up things like bank accounts for a US-based organization. But we would like to pass off the role of Treasurer as quickly as possible.

You may notice that every member of the board is an active Bevy Maintainer. This is not a coincidence. We believe that people actually developing the project should be at the helm. There is currently no way to buy a board seat. We have no plans to hire "professional board members" that aren't in the thick of it. For now we plan to stick to the Maintainer == Board Member policy. Functionally, new Board Members are selected via an election of the current board. "Board Member" is currently not a paid position.

Note that I am using the phrasing "currently" and "for now" in some places above because I am no longer capable of making absolute statements about the future of the project. I am a board member, which gives me a vote. And as President I have been given some authority by the board to manage our operations. But I must follow the resolutions of the board and I can be voted out. This is a good thing I promise! It means that the project can exist without me. And if I am no longer fulfilling my duties to the satisfaction of the board, I probably should be ousted.

This is a leap of faith, but one that has been carefully measured over the course of years. I have worked with the other maintainers (now board members) for a long time now and I trust them ... both with the future of Bevy and with my job.

Bylaws #

We have adopted public Bylaws that govern how we operate. They determine how we are structured, the roles in the organization, how meetings and voting take place, a conflict of interest policy, and more. Note these are largely borrowed from the standard legal boilerplate (and they exist for a legal purpose), so they're stiffer than our normal style.

Transparency #

Our goal is to make the operations of Bevy Foundation as transparent as possible. We make the following public:

  • Bylaws: The operational rules we have adopted
  • Meeting Minutes: Learn about the decisions the board makes and why we make them
  • Documents: Public Bevy Foundation documents, such as our Articles of Incorporation
  • Budget: How we plan to spend money this year

We will strive to be approachable and accountable for our actions, and we will continue to make our technical decisions in public with the input of the community. You know who we are and where to find us!

Our Plans #

Bevy Foundation will direct the majority of its funding to fueling Bevy development.

Short Term: Bring Alice on full-time #

We have exactly one focus for the short term: bring Alice on full-time. For years, Alice has dedicated significant time to the project as a Maintainer. She has been our primary project manager: wrangling issues, keeping the merge train running, connecting developers to the right parts of the project, and doing the work that ensures we can harness and enable our ever increasing developer community. Not to mention her extensive technical contributions and documentation work!

If you have participated in Bevy's development, you are probably intimately aware of two things:

  1. Project management is our bottleneck.
  2. Alice is a world-class project manager.

In addition to performing the general "project management" role, Alice has the following specific priorities when she starts full-time:

  1. The New Bevy Book: The new Bevy Book aims to be a complete, always up-to-date, and constantly improving guide to using Bevy. Alice has already contributed content and helped facilitate the book's production. If she joins full-time, she will work to finish it, in addition to helping others contribute.
  2. Coordinating the Development of ECS Relations: Relations are an ECS feature that enable connecting entities to each other via special components called Relations. These are an often-requested feature that will make a number of scenarios (such as parent-child relationships) much nicer. Alice will work to coordinate this effort and fill in functionality gaps.
  3. Building an Action System for Input Devices: Bevy sorely needs an official way to define "input actions", which are then mapped (and remapped) to inputs from one or more input devices (for example: a Jump action that is mapped to the "A" button on controllers and "Spacebar" on keyboards). Alice built leafwing-input-manager, which is a popular third-party Bevy plugin that does exactly that. Alice plans on taking the lessons learned there to build a proper first-party solution to this problem.

Alice deserves to be paid for her work, and Bevy needs her full-time. Our goal for the Bevy Foundation is to pay reasonably competitive, roughly market rate salaries. Therefore, our first goal is to pay Alice a salary of $150,000 a year.

We all believe Alice is worth at least that much, but given that funds will take time to build up, Alice has agreed to take a pay cut while things spin up.

What about Carter? #

Some may ask why I (Carter), the creator and Project Lead of Bevy, am not the first to be paid by the Bevy Foundation. Thats easy: I already currently have enough support from my current sponsors to live on, and I have historically received the lion's share of sponsorships. The scales have been tilted in my favor for too long. Prioritizing Alice is the only fair choice, and also happens to be what is best for Bevy right now.

I suspect my current sponsors will transition to the Bevy Foundation over time (and I encourage them to do so!). As this happens there will likely be an inflection point where Alice is making more than me. When we hit that point, we will sort out a balancing strategy until we are both paid our target wages.

Note if we receive 501(c)(3) status (see the 501(c)(3) section above), we are allowed to pay competitive wages, but we can't pay excessive wages (nor are we interested in doing so). Once Alice and Carter are paid reasonable wages, we will shift our financial focus elsewhere.

Future Plans #

Our focus will always be on funding more Bevy developers, both full-time and part-time. We will likely explore targeted one time grants for specific efforts.

Later down the line, we will likely explore the development of a Bevy Asset store where the community can list and sell Bevy-compatible assets.

We would also like to re-introduce a Bevy Merch store. While we don't think this is an ideal fundraising strategy, we think it will be a fun way for the Bevy community to show their pride!

When we consider future programs, we will ask the questions:

  1. Is this compatible with the Bevy Foundation's mission?
  2. Is this in the best interest of the Bevy community and the general public?
  3. Will this compromise the integrity of Bevy as a free and open source offering in any way?
  4. Will this change our incentives in a way that risks changing our answers to (1), (2), or (3)?
  5. If we are monetizing something, are we doing it in an ethical way?

Know that we exist for the benefit of the Bevy community and the general public and we will try our utmost to never compromise that.

A New Era #

The Bevy Foundation is both an accomplishment, as the culmination of months of work and research, and a Foundation, on top of which we will build the future of Bevy. We are building technology that will enrich the lives of everyone as a common, publicly available good. Game development is currently an industry of rent seekers and gatekeepers. I believe that a better world can exist: one where we collectively build tools for each other in the open. Bevy is ideologically and technologically a rethinking of what this industry should be.

I am deeply proud of what we have accomplished so far and I can't wait for what this new Bevy era will bring.

We Need Your Support! #

Bevy will always be free and open source. However our plans for Bevy's future are grand ... they will require significant financial support. Please consider donating if you enjoy using Bevy and believe in our mission.

If we receive 501(c)(3) public charity status, to maintain that status we will require a significant portion of our funds to come from individual people (not just companies). Your contribution matters!

If you are already supporting us through individual sponsorships, consider switching your donation to Bevy Foundation, as that will make it easier for us to direct your contribution to the areas that need it most.

Visit our brand new donation page here:

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