January 7, 2010
We learned yesterday ( http://chronicle.com/blogPost/In-Potential-Blow-to-Open-S/19519/ ) that the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has merged the Research in Technology (RIT) with the Scholarly Communications program and that Ira Fuchs and Chris Mackie, Vice President and Associate Program Officer respectively, are no longer with Mellon. It is not yet clear what exactly the termination of the RIT program will mean as stewardship of RIT-funded projects moves to Mellon’s Scholarly Communications program.
Although Bedework was not a Mellon funded project, Bedework was among the 10 initial recipients of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's Technology Collaboration (MATC) Award in December 2006. Chris Mackie strongly encouraged and influenced our work, and visited with us at RPI twice, most recently two months ago.
The RIT program made a very important contribution to the worlds of open source and higher education, both financially and intellectually. (See http://rit.mellon.org/projects for a list of many of the projects funded by RIT).
In his presentations, Chris said that, to his knowledge, Research in Information Technology was the largest non-governmental, NFP funder of OSS infrastructure projects in the world. Whereas almost everyone follows the money, RIT provided much more than money. Chris connected OSS projects with other OSS projects, and introduced them to other ideas, methodologies, and philosophies. Chris served an information broker for software development in Higher Education.
We consider Chris Mackie and Ira Fuchs valued friends of Bedework, and we wish them success in whatever comes next for them, and we look forward to working with them again in a new context in the future.