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Sponsoring Open-Source Software

Filip Bech
Written by Filip Bech

Umbraco CMS has been open-source since 2005 and we owe a great deal of our success to the fact that we have a flourishing open-source community that contributes in many ways to making Umbraco better and friendlier every day. We know first hand that supporting “free” software can be difficult, especially for sole or small groups of maintainers. It is with this in mind that we have decided, that aside from our ongoing investment in the Umbraco community, I’m proud to announce that from December 1, 2021, we’re starting a new initiative to sponsor OSS (open-source software) projects through monthly payments to encourage and acknowledge the broader open-source community. 

At Umbraco we’re fortunate (and proud) to have built a sustainable business model for our open-source projects through service(s), support, licensing and partnerships. This is not a path that all projects can, or indeed should, follow. 

Making open source sustainable does not necessarily equal having a team and/or company backing it. There are so many different sizes of projects, and variations in how they are used, how much maintenance is required and so forth. But we do believe that encouragement and acknowledgement (and maybe even a little money) can go a long way towards making it more fun and worthwhile to be an open-source developer.

And so does the Umbraco community. The idea of Umbraco HQ doing some kind of sponsorship or donations to open-source initiatives or projects actually sprung out of our MVP-community. This is our first step in that direction.

How does Umbraco OSS sponsorships work?

We want to pitch in, give back to the open-source community that helps us be successful, and make it more sustainable for the maintainers to work on their projects. 

The initiative provides sponsorship to some of the open-source projects that we use at Umbraco HQ. This can be either tooling that helps make development easier or dependencies that we use directly in our own products - open source or commercial.


The time, energy and commitment of those maintainers is greatly valued and we want to show it. If a project is OSS and our ecosystem relies upon it, we will consider the project for support. However, in selecting the projects we sponsor, we must take into account the friendliness of the project itself and how it aligns with our values. With that in mind, the project cannot be in violation of our Code of Conduct. If we are made aware of breaches to the Code of Conduct, we do reserve the right to withdraw a sponsorship. This is in place to protect the Umbraco community and the projects sponsored by the Umbraco HQ organisation. 

For the inaugural year we’ve selected 3 open-source projects/maintainers that will each receive 100$ per month for a year (12 months) running from December 1, 2021 to November 1, 2022. We recognise that this is not a sum large enough for anyone to quit their day jobs just yet but in honoring the monthly payments, we aim to provide support to those who are already doing the wonderful work they do, for no recompense. The sponsorship will be done through the Github sponsors feature. This allows for full transparency and offers an easy and safe way to sponsor open-source projects and developers.

And the sponsored open-source projects are...

The selection process has been very simple. Developers in the development team at Umbraco HQ (aka the D-Team), were able to nominate any project that they feel helps provide value either in their day-to-day or by enabling functionality in our products. (...) and we’ve selected 3 from the list of nominees. The sponsored projects for 2021/2022 are:

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Examine (Shannon Deminick)

Examine is the abstraction used by Umbraco CMS to provide full text search functionality. Umbraco ships with an Examine implementation that provides powerful Lucene indexing and search features all wrapped up in an easy to use package. For full disclosure, Shannon is a former employee at Umbraco HQ.


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ImageSharp (SixLabors)

Umbraco uses this library to do image resizing, cropping and other related operations by generating URLs that are handled by ImageSharp. ImageSharp also provides a wide range of additional features for developers using Umbraco. ImageSharp is the successor to ImageProcessor which has powered image processing in Umbraco 7 and 8 for many years.


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Rebus (Mogens Heller)

Rebus is a lean service bus implementation for .NET, which we use (on top of Azure Service Bus) in all our internal services on Umbraco Cloud as well as in the SiteExtensions that integrate the CMS with Cloud functionality. (Sponsorship is currently pending and will start as soon as the Github sponsor functionality is enabled for the project).



A huge thanks to the maintainers of the 3 projects for all their hard work and, of course, for being part of the open-source community.

And that’s just the beginning. In November 2022 we will review the initiative and see if any changes are warranted. We will then make a new list of nominees and evaluate which projects to sponsor in the coming year. 

No Quid Pro Quo!

It is important to underline that we’re doing this to show our genuine  appreciation for the open-source work we benefit from and to provide encouragement and thanks to the maintainers.

The sponsorship comes with no strings attached. We do NOT expect anything in return. For some it may help carve out a little extra time to work on the project, provide the means to create a meetup, go to a conference, provide compensation or donations to contributors, or take a little extra vacation and recharge the batteries. 

Every little thing helps and if we’re many that provide little things, it will make a difference for the open-source community at large. Our hope is it can also provide inspiration for others to show their support for open-source projects that help them achieve their goals and sustain their business. 

Umbraco sponsorships

Do you have a burning desire to support an OSS project? Great! However, it is not possible to sponsor Umbraco or any of our open-source projects and this is entirely by design. We believe 100% in open source and all the benefits and collaboration that come with being transparent and open. We provide products and services based on and supporting our open-source projects and we pride ourselves on having built a sustainable model that works for Umbraco as a company.

So, if you have an itch to donate to OSS, take a look at some of the dependencies you use a lot (maybe look at your favorite Umbraco Package). Or for a green contribution, you can donate to our Ecologi forest which works to offset our carbon footprint and contribute to reforestation projects all over the world.  - it feels good to give a little back 🙂

You can always see the list of projects that are currently sponsored by Umbraco HQ on our Github organization. You can read more about Github Sponsors and how it all works here.

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