Sandy Ordonez for MGRC

Hey Folks: I would like to submit my name for consideration. I’ve been lurking here for some time, to see what the community was like, given that I come from the Internet Freedom community. Specifically, my name is Sand Ordonez, and im the co-founder of the Internet Freedom Festival, one of the largest gathering spots for digital rights defenders from all over the world, especially for the most vulnerable, at-risk groups in the world.

This project is my life and work, so let me talk a bit about it: The project focuses on supporting FLOSS technologists, activists, journalists, civil society and their allies, that are working at the intersection of human rights and technology. For examples, projects groups that have regularly used the IFF as a gathering spot include everything from Tor to Guardian Project, to grassroot groups from all over the world. You can view a sample of our community here: We have also been credited for helping diversify the IF space, elevating voice of the most marginalized, and creating safe spaces that speak to the needs of the most vulnerable communities. For example, more than 50% of our folks identify as women or gender non-conforming.

Besides that, I’m one of the first Latinas to occupy leadership position in the FLOSS community, serving as the first director of communications for Wikipedia in like 2006, and volunteering with tons of FLOSS projects. Im passionate about helping the world of technology to do better to better serve the world. And we need it - funding in the Internet Freedom world has been INSANELY hit this year (Not sure if you s aw the #SaveInternetFreedom campaign. This impacts frontline communities all over the world fighting authoritarian surveillance and censorship the most, who were so dependent on the funding. This means the folks fighting internet blackouts, online censorship and surveillance, and advocating for Digital rights need your help more than ever. They need more folks looking to supporting them.

I know the following issues really well, and the communities behind them: floss circumvention technology, digital rights, Internet Freedom, digital security, privacy, security, freedom of expression, human rights intersection with tech.

On a personal note, I grew up in the Bronx in an immigrant family :slight_smile: My parents had a butcher shop, so I spent a lot of my time working at it. I’m passionate about racial justice, diversity and inclusion, and I love old school tech culture of the early 90s when things where community based, useful and creative.

I am new to your community, but I feel like i can bring a lot of skills to your community, including a VERY GOOD listening ear and how to build stronger community feedback loops!!

((((hug)))) From a very cold NYC :slight_smile:

Sandy :slight_smile:


Hi @SandyOrdonez welcome to the forums! :slightly_smiling_face:

I have moved your application post to it’s own thread (as we have had all candidates do) so users can ask specific questions to you without getting lost in the Megathread.

I have also added a link to your thread in the top post of the MGRC Megathread, Good Luck!


Thank you!!! appreciate it Shawn :slight_smile:

I also forgot to add that might be relevant…i’ve been a funder in the Internet Freedom space, so have lots of experience reviewing applications and understanding what successful projects have :slight_smile:

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This sounds very relevant :slight_smile: could you give an example of the sorts of projects you have reviewed? any of them standout for making the cut/not making the cut?

Have you ever had to take a sub par application with a great team and goals then get it to an A+ application that gets funded delivers on the funding goals?

Also the other candidates have outlined answers to these questions in their threads:

In particular the “above the fold” questions

Let me know if you need any help catching up on stuff, pm or post is fine. :slight_smile:



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hey good questions! I;ll try to answer as best we can.

Projects ranged from super technical, like Tor Project and OONI Internet Measurement, to more community based like regional securing training for frontline activists. This is because technology is not just tools, it requires supporting an ecosystem and helping elevate emerging leaders.

While there are many examples of where I helped get an applicant from point A to Z, I cant’ share because of privacy concerns, however, this happened often because a good % of applicants were first time applicants, and there is a huge learning curve on how to ensure your projects success. Currently, at the IFF we manage a super well loved emerging leaders programs where part of its focus is helping coach emerging leaders on how to apply for funding, as well as how they can properly design, manage, and implement their individuals projects, designed to address the security and privacy concerns of their at-risk communities.

Overall, good projects have the following characteristics, in no particular order:

  • Community Lead Design
    Actually fill a need that is reflective of the needs of the community they are trying to serve. This means its important to have a strong and transparent feedback loop with your core audience. This will lead to avoiding critical errors, as well as innovation.

  • Open Source / Transparency / Audits
    Unless there is a very compelling reason why something needs to closed source, FLOSS is the best option because it breeds trust and community. This applies not only to technology, but also to any initiative. This also allows you to get radically honest feedback from experts who may better than you in a particular area, and believe in your vision/project. Also, always pay for security audits when possible, especially if people’s privacy and security is at risk.

Avoid Redundancy
Avoid redundancy. Do a good research on what already exists, and instead of recreating the wheel, build upon what is already out there that is good. So many people think they have THE SOLUTION, and that its never been tried before, but more than likely someone out there has already tried doing something similar. Learn from their failings, and also take what is good (especially if its open source). This also allows you to share and help push the field forward.

  • Diverse Team with Diverse Skills
    If everyone on your team think like you and have your same skills, you are missing out on the magick sauce. A project is not just the code, you need software creators that include everything from a community manager, to a strong project manager, to a head with with good management skills. Also, make sure you are cultivating a safe and secure environment for your team. This will increase everyone’s productivity and desire to work. Also, just because you have diversity on your team, doesn’t mean people feel comfortable. Creating a safe and secure environment increases creativity and innovation threefold.

Good Management Skills
You have no clue how many projects fail because they put developers in director positions, when in fact, they dont’ have the necessary skills to manage a team. Either let developers code, and community managers mange, or provide the heads of project with professional development so they can become good managers.

Project Management
A lot of projects need help with understanding project management, so providing professional development and/or guidance in this area is great. ie, help them think through objectives, timelines, measuring impact, etc etc.

Find Gaps & Provide Vision
Sometimes as a funder you have the resources to look at the landscape and identify the gaps missing. By doing this, and asking for applications in a particular area you are also helping the field move forward. Great leaders listen to their community, and then help the community create a holistic vision collectively together.

Community & Collaboration
At the end of the day, we are a community, and building trust and collaborations are key. If you collaborative and supportive, and create synergies with our community projects and groups, you will be much more successful. Its about working together with a vision and purpose for your community.

Will answer other questions in second post!


Here arre the answers to the questions provided in the doc you provided:


Hi Sandy! Welcome to the Zcash community.

I spent some time with Wikimedia (helping with security) years ago, but I think it was after you had left. I appreciate you taking the time to provide all this context and answering the questions in the gDoc.

As someone new to the Zcash community, could you provide an off the cuff answer to “why Zcash?”, as well as what you think Zcash should focus on going forward, in order to become more broadly adopted outside of our community of ‘true believers’.

Thanks, and again, welcome.


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hey Alchemydc!! Nice to see another Wikipedian!! :slight_smile: I still stay in regular contact with some folks still there, and the current ED comes from the digital rights space, so I still have lots of love for my wiki peeps!!!

Why Zcash? Well, originally it was because I was asked by cryptologists from my space who think I would be good addition and have a positive impact on the Zcash community. I mention this because as someone who focuses on diversity and inclusion, this outreach is so important to bring new communities and voices.

Second, as someone who has close to a decade working with the security and privacy community, I see cryptocurrency as an important element in the future of privacy and security of citizens worldwide, especially as we look towards the challenges of the future. In recent years, things have gotten much worse throughout the world in regards to privacy/security, as more countries/adversaries share sophisticated strategies and tools to surveil and censor their citizens. This includes everything from facial recognition technology, to policies that criminalize the use of encryption. Its not getting better either. in this scenario, cryptocurrency has a role in helping the most vulnerable, and it can!
And guess what? The next billion users are coming from the Global South, with many experiencing the most acute forms of surveillance and censorship, so of course I feel their needs should be reflected in cryptocurrency!! It will be mutually beneficial for both users and also Zcash!! This is literally a path way to innovation because I believe that when you discover needs you didn’t think of, innovation and creativity follows.

So far, I’ve been impressed with this community, and believe it or not, the feeling of the community. I see great potential in not only being an amazing tool, but also playing a role in the future of privacy/security in a positively, impactful way.

You have freaking amazing and super smart people behind the project, that I know personally have been amazing privacy advocates and have a desire to improve the world through their work. This magic sauce of doing things with both passion, vision, and heart is hard to replicate. This must be organic. And you all have that.


Hi all- I reached out to Sandy to ask if she would be interested in submitting her name for the MGRC.

As is clear in this thread, Sandy is both highly experienced in funding and supporting internet freedom organizations from around the world and is a well-respected person in the broader internet freedom community. I know she will bring valuable insight and experience to the Zcash ecosystem, and her values for internet freedom and privacy are well-aligned with this space. I am thrilled she is here.


Hello @SandyOrdonez For my vote, please answer my questions frankly:

  1. Are you pro BTC? If yes, Why? If not, Why?
  2. What is the largest account size you’ve handled in USD? How many end users did it impact?
  3. MGRC will control 8640 ZEC per month or 25920 per quarter, how will this be roughly spent? (provide napkin calculation).
  4. MGRC announcement attracts 100s of applicants from all over the world with all random ideas, all matching your goals, how would you evaluate them?
  5. KPIs aren’t entirely possible on a privacy preserving payments protocol project’s level, it’s all z2z, how will you evaluate funded team’s impact?
  6. DeFi fever made ETH run 2x compared to every cryptocurrency this year, thoughts?
  7. What locals, regions, languages, ethnicities, educational backgrounds of people have you worked with? What are your preferences of assembling teams that deliver?
  8. We live in a remote world now, how do you evaluate applicants for grants?
  9. Projects in Zcash are going to go through a huge change beyond the handful, driven teams funded via Zcash Foundation, thoughts?
  10. Zcash is a protocol at its core, ZEC price is volatile. How will you handle a single digit ZEC? ($9 x 8640/month = $77,760) How will you handle a 5 digit ZEC? ($21,000 x 8640/month = $181.44MM) Thoughts…

hey Aiydt,

Apologies for the delay! I’ll ty to answer the best I can.

I try not to have strong views about technology per se, but rather the humans that are directing the strategy. So my questions or concerns are more about industry/field. Where is it going? What is it prioritizing? What impact is it having in the larger society? What is their diversity and inclusion strategy? Are marginalized community represented? Where this may be different if is a particularly technology that either causes harm or is putting people at risk. So I don’t have very strong opinions about BTC. The reason I’ve attracted to ZCash is because i know there are strong privacy advocates who care about people. This is why I’m choosing to spend my time both running, and hopefully helping the foundation. I’ve mostly used zcash to donate money to nonprofits in the digital rights community.

There are many things you look at to evaulate a project: Listing them in no particular order

  • Is it truly addressing a real need?
  • How many people will this impact?
  • Is it advancing the ecosystem or structure?
  • Besides technical expertise, do they have management or project management skills to follow through?
  • Have their done their research? And either are not recreating the wheel, learning from similar projects? Have they tested anhthing out? For example, creating a prototype?
  • Do they understand how to do community-design, and create strong community-feedback loops with the needs audience their project attempts to meet?
  • Do they have a good timeline? and demonstrated leadership skills?
  • Are they looking at things like the diversity in their team and creating equity?
  • Are they collaborating with others?

II work with a community that is incredibly private and secure because of the sensitive profiles of those involved. That means you can’t depend on typical M&E markers, and you have to think out of the box. In the past, I’ve relied on creating strong communication channels with strong community nodes of each subgroup, so that I can understand the impact that a specific project is having. It’s SOOO much more work, but its what you have to do when privacy and security is a priority. I also invest time/energy/resources in projects that have team members are highly trusted by the people they serve.

I suspect that top on the priority list for the foundation board is to brainstorm and explore what KPIs will be used, assuming that zcash community has their unique charateristics and challenges.

I don’t have thoughts on DeFI. Y’all have enough technologist in the community to rely on to debate that. I’m bringing to the table a very unique skillset and expertise, and this a benefit. Diversity in a team helps come up with better solutions, analysis, etc. I’ve worked with some of the best open source technologist almost my entire career. Its not that I’m ignorant to tech issues, but I believe in letting bakers bake, and painters paint. If you vote for me, its because I’m bringing new skills and a different experience that needed. My skills:

  • Building highly engage, and diverse communities networks using FLOSS principles and culture. (this includes effective creating structures and processes, and being amazing at community research.

  • Understanding of the funding process. I was a funder for Internet Freedom community for years.

  • Diversity and Inclusion, I have dedicated my entire life to help bring underrepresented communities to both the FLOSS and security/privacy wold. Currently, my project is considered a point-of-reference in the IF space for elevating the voices of vulnerable, at-risk communities, and centering the community work and agenda around their needs. (I also happen to be a woman of color, and one of the first Latinas to occupy leadership positions in the FLOSS community). Its fair to say, that on a daily basis I work with diverse communities that differ in all regards (race, ethnicity, language, socio-economic background). This is also because this is what I want to see in the world, so I’ve worked very hard to ensure that the part of my universe can be this way as much as possible.

  • A strong understanding of current surveillance and censorship challenges globally. During my day job I work with grassroot networks, journalists, and technologists from all over the world who are fighting censorship and surveillance, and advocating for digital rights. These are also the folks that build circumvention tools like Tor and Signal. Considering that authoritarian actors share tactics and tools with each other, understanding what is happening globally is actually important to solve localized issues.

Regarding applications, its important to setup a good application process that minimizes inequities issues, especially when dealing with a global population, and also gives you the information you really need to make a decision. You need to know what and HOW to ask. There are tons of research and material available to help with this. I always advocate for not recreating the wheel, and tons of materials and entire funder community that already exists that we can lean on for help, (INCLUDING Floss funding softwares to review applications, which has best practices already baked into the process).

Hope this answers some of your questions!!! And let me know if I can provide further clarifications etc.


Hi Sandy,

I just wanted to say I really like your application. I think you have a really good and relevant skillset.

I hope that even if you are not elected to the MGRC you would stick around and get involved with the community. The MGRC is going to need a lot of community help and support. You seem to have ideal qualifications and contacts to help support them.

Also as the MGRC is a community based project the community will always need strong and qualified people like yourself.

Good luck in the election. :slight_smile: