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An Open Letter to the WordPress Community

An open letter to the WordPress community
An open letter to the WordPress community


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    Hello World,

    If you’re someone, or you know of someone who has been impacted by mental health illness, then you may find there are aspects of this letter that will be hard to read.

    This also hasn’t been an easy letter for me to write!

    As someone who’s naturally an introvert, the idea of writing a letter to the WordPress community filled me with dread. But it’s an important subject that needs to be discussed more openly; mental health within the WordPress community.

    A member of our WordPress community here in the UK and friend to many recently took his own life. This is a deeply upsetting time for all who knew Vaughan Simons. He was witty, a great writer and passionate about providing a great quality of service through his freelance business. He was also giving; he was to lead the WordCamp London 2019 Accessibility Team, volunteering his time to ensuring the event would be open to all.

    Publicly his comments across multiple community forums portrayed a funny, confident individual. Privately though, Vaughan, like so many others, was living with an illness that was eventually to take his life.

    Our WordPress community is made up of millions of people, hundreds of thousands of small business owners and tens of thousands of big businesses. Our working environments have changed over the years, as freelancers, solo-business owners and employed distributed team members; we’re now at increased risk of isolation, anxiety and depression.

    As a community, we’re generally good at coming together, through meetups and WordCamps. We communicate via multiple Slack teams, Facebook groups and even the Make blogs but there are still people, our friends, who are left feeling alone and isolated.

    Big Orange Heart is a registered UK charity with a mission to; support and promote positive mental health within the WordPress community. Over the last 12 months, as an unfunded organisation, over 3,300 people hours have been donated to help those reaching out to us. We currently can’t provide professional mental health support as this comes at a cost. Our current processes only allow us to signpost those that reach out to us, to third-party organisations, such as the Samaritans.

    I’m asking you the community, to help make a change. We can develop a service that allows any member of our global community to reach out, in their time of greatest need, and be heard.

    We have a funding goal of £260,000 to enable a team of staff to provide the professional support our community so desperately needs. 1 in 4 of us will be directly affected by mental health related illnesses.

    We’re openly asking big businesses to support small business. The freelancers, the solo business owners and those prepared to step out on their own, don’t have the same support networks in place as larger organisations. Big Orange Heart plans to become that missing level of support, but we need your help to get there.

    There are organisations within our community already stepping up and recognising that mental health within our community needs better support. These companies have supported the production and distribution of this letter. Please join them.

    We are colleagues, we are partners, we are friends, we are the WordPress community.

    Together we can #PressForward

    With kinds regards to you all in our community,

    Dan Maby

    Dan Maby

    Trustee, Big Orange Heart
    Big Orange HeartGiles Hayes-Tooke

    Giles Hales-Tooke

    Trustee, Big Orange Heart
    Big Orange HeartPeter Foy

    Peter Foy

    Trustee, Big Orange Heart
    Big Orange Heart

    This open-letter to the WordPress community is also supported by:

    Laura Nelson

    Laura Nelson

    Marketing Manager, Pragmatic
    PragmaticTim Bowers

    Tim Bowers

    WPMU DEVJo Waltham

    Jo Waltham

    Director, Callia Web
    Callia WebNeil Gilmour

    Neil Gilmour

    Director, Motional
    MotionalBet Hannon

    Bet Hannon

    Owner, Bet Hannon Business Websites
    Bet Hannon Business Websites

    Representing as individuals and supported by:

    Tim Nash

    Tim Nash

    WordPress Platform Lead,

    Lorelei Aurora

    Lorelei Aurora

    Lead Developer, Kuachi

    Barbara Saul

    Barbara Saul


    A Dedication to Vaughan Simons

    £1,650 of £1,000 raised
    Dedicate this Donation

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    Reclaim Gift Aid

    Gift Aid It!Add 25% more to your donation at no cost to you. A Gift Aid declaration allows Big Orange Heart to claim tax back on eligible donations.

    Tell me more » By ticking the “Yes” box, I agree I would like Big Orange Heart to reclaim the tax on all qualifying donations I have made, as well as any future donations, until I notify them otherwise. I understand that if I pay less Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax than the amount of Gift Aid claimed on all my donations in that tax year I may be asked to pay any difference. I understand that Big Orange Heart will reclaim 25p of tax on every £1 that I give.

    What is Gift Aid?

    Gift Aid does not cost you a penny more, but can add an additional 25p to every £1 you donate. When Big Orange Heart receives a donation from a UK taxpayer, we’re entitled to claim an amount of tax (calculated at the basic rate of income tax in that year) paid on that donation. Once you have given your permission for us to do this on your behalf, there is no need for you to do anything else.

    All that is required is that you must be a taxpayer and that would have paid or will pay sufficient Income and/or Capital Gains Tax to cover all the Gift Aid claimed on all your donations in that tax year. Please note that it is your responsibility to pay any difference.

    The amount of tax we claim will be 25% of the total value of your donations in that tax year. Furthermore, if you are a higher taxpayer, you are also entitled to claim the difference between the basic rate which we will claim and the amount of tax you have actually paid. For further details on how you can do this, please contact your tax office. If your tax situation changes and your gifts will no longer be eligible for the Gift Aid scheme please contact us and we will amend your record accordingly.

    Take me to my donation »

    Acceptance of any contribution, gift or grant is at the discretion of the Big Orange Heart. The Big Orange Heart will not accept any gift unless it can be used or expended consistently with the purpose and mission of the Big Orange Heart.

    No irrevocable gift, whether outright or life-income in character, will be accepted if under any reasonable set of circumstances the gift would jeopardize the donor’s financial security.

    The Big Orange Heart will refrain from providing advice about the tax or other treatment of gifts and will encourage donors to seek guidance from their own professional advisers to assist them in the process of making their donation.

    The Big Orange Heart will accept donations of cash or publicly traded securities. Gifts of in-kind services will be accepted at the discretion of the Big Orange Heart.

    Certain other gifts, real property, personal property, in-kind gifts, non-liquid securities, and contributions whose sources are not transparent or whose use is restricted in some manner, must be reviewed prior to acceptance due to the special obligations raised or liabilities they may pose for Big Orange Heart.

    The Big Orange Heart will provide acknowledgments to donors meeting tax requirements for property received by the charity as a gift. However, except for gifts of cash and publicly traded securities, no value shall be ascribed to any receipt or other form of substantiation of a gift received by Big Orange Heart.

    The Big Orange Heart will respect the intent of the donor relating to gifts for restricted purposes and those relating to the desire to remain anonymous. With respect to anonymous gifts, the Big Orange Heart will restrict information about the donor to only those staff members with a need to know.

    The Big Orange Heart will not compensate, whether through commissions, finders’ fees, or other means, any third party for directing a gift or a donor to the Big Orange Heart.

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