Request for Funding: The Umbrella Proposal ☂️


The authors request funding of $16,500 equivalent USDC as per budget to bootstrap a three-month project called the Umbrella proposal (that was previously discussed in this forum) to pay for GravityDAO services, establish a team to act as a first point of contact for conflicts and problems, and document associated policies.
In addition to these reactive measures, the proposal aims to improve communication, error, and conflict culture to which we commit ourselves already in our Community Guidelines and that pose foundational pillars of human-centeric DAOs and.

Funding is requested to deliver the following objectives:

  1. Fund mediation-as-a-service by GravityDAO for an period of 3 months
  2. 5 interactive training sessions with 2x dates each (to account for different timezones) run by GravityDAO
  3. Elaboration of
  4. Kickstart of the umbrella team. Find ~2 members in the first Gravity training sessions to work for setting up the team (part time with a few hours per week or via bounties)
    • organisational, research, and cultural work as well as networking with other DAO communities
    • documentation of the results of 3.
    • knowledge exchange with other DAO communities and participation in advanced training


Conflicts between persons or groups occur naturally - like bad weather. They affect all kinds of organizations, where they cause strong emotions or reactions and are often related to

  • scarcity of resources
  • division of functions and tasks
  • power relations or
  • the role of the organization

Especially in remote-working environments and DAOs conflicts can happen easily with different gravity
An anonymous survey clearly showed that this is also the case in the Aragon Network.
Instead of stigmatizing conflicts or pretending that they are not there, we should allocate time and resources to actively care about and solve them so that everyone feels well and likes spending time here. This will help us to ‘Govern Better, Together’ and establish some of the cultural mandates and a solid foundation from which to grow the Aragon network.

GravityDAO offered their help and services to support this proposal. Their track record speaks for themselves: of the 35 complaints received in the TEC

  • 50% settled by just listening to the parties and giving advice
  • 18 cases went into a mediation process
  • 17 of them were successful in overcoming the conflict
  • Only in one case, one of the parties rage quitted the call

Pricing is affordable relative to the impact of escalating conflict or losing valuable contributors.

GravityDAO Mediation Services Price / $ Note
Setting up organizational Gravity 6.000 setting organisational policies for specific conflict situations
Tailored Graviton training 3.000 10 sessions, Goal: having competent people being access points
Gravity Monthly safety net 1.000 per organization, covers support in all conflicts that may arise
Management per 1 case to an external organization 800
Rewards for Gravitons on managing a case 300 200 $ for a secondary mediator
Availability of time and additional hours 400

We have selected options 1-3 for this initial proposal with 4-6 remaining available as required or subject to further funding. They are also retained here to provide guidance as to guild contributor rewards for future mediations.

Limitations & Risks

  1. As cultural change and individual awareness requires time, a possible limitation is results might not immediately visible or take longer than the period for which this proposal seeks funding for. We should not be shy of allocating further budget to this cause and can become self-sufficient with in-house mediators in the Umbrella team in the future.
  2. A risk could be people being averse to participate in the change or mediation processes, or actively questioning their legitimacy. This risk can be considered low, as a great deal of support for this topic has already been expressed in Discord and the forum. Recent prominent events in the Ethereum ecosystem (SushiSwap, ENS) further show the importance of such a cultural build.
    Furthermore, we will make sure to always seek legitimacy by a range of measures (voting, safe exploration via anonymous polling and feedback, open discussion rounds). To mitigate the risk of unwillingness to participate in constructive and restorative conflict-resolution processes and in relation to the gravity of the conflict or violation, graduated sanctions in line with the community guidelines will be embedded in the organisational policies and can be applied carefully.

What impact will this project have?

As outlined in the collective drafting phase, the proposal aims to strengthen our social layer and establish preventative and restorative measures regarding conflicts, which will positively impact the sense of community and attractiveness of the Aragon Network as a working environment.
Moreover, a good communication, error, and conflict culture is the foundation for all governance processes.
We believe that funding the collaborative development of this proposal is mission-critical to the ongoing operations and strategic growth efforts of the Aragon Network to secure and retain
key talent and aligning each one of us on a shared vision.
Ultimately, this will allow us to help other communities to build sustainable, active Aragon DAOs, thus increasing their number.

In terms of strategic alignment, stakeholders from both the AA and AN DAO have had an opportunity since January to provide feedback in the formulation of this proposal. Other works on strategic alignment includes a forum post, community poll and workshop. Our understanding is that the project is widely supported throughout the Aragon Network (Aragon team, community, Ambassadors).
This proposal also represents an opportunity for collaboration with the TEC, from which GravityDAO emerged, and which is another key player working on the advancements of human-centeric DAOs.

Duration, deliverable/s, and expected outcomes:


12-week initiative starting within a fortnight of an approved proposal during which we will establish the umbrella team in parallel to the GravityDAO services and trainings.


  1. Immediate ability to arbitrate arising conflicts and having a team acting as a first point of contact for all kinds of problems.
  2. Documentation
    • containing our organisational policy regarding mediation processes
    • explaining a practical communication, error and conflict mindset as part of the onboarding Gitbook (legitimated through our network)
  3. 5 interactive training sessions with 2x dates each (to account for different timezones)
    • recordings of the sessions
    • delivery of POAPs as proof of attendance that can serve as a reference to apply for important roles in the network.

Expected Outcomes

We expect to define and strengthen our culture, and establish preventative and restorative measures. As a subjective measure of success, we propose running an anonymous feedback round again at the end of the program to assess whether contributor sentiment has improved.

Funding only as and when required makes for a self-sustaining resource with the future potential (aim) to provide professional mediation services to other DAO within the Aragon Network and incorporate learnings into our human-centric product stack.

Team Members

AA Stewards:

  • Michael Heuer (Governance Research Engineer)
  • Ben Perez (Head of Talent & HR)

External contributor:

  • Juan Carlos Bell, founder of Gravity DAO. Juan is a conflict resolution expert, a magister in political sciences specialized in conflict management. He is a community steward of the TEC and has offered to help us to set up o our cultural build, providing mediators as a service, and training our own mediators.

Potential community contributors:

  • Mattia (AcidCavin#8307) studied social sciences (philosophy and anthropology) and works as a social worker in a co-operative. He offered to help within his availabilities.
  • Mia (adorable_leaflet#4604) focusses on paradigm language and conflict resolution. She runs non-profit political organization with a system-based focus and functionalist approach regarding accessibility, transparency, accountability, and sustainability of the government process. Mia asked if she can be helpful to this project and we hope to have her on the proposal.

If you would be interested in volunteering for the gravity training please leave a comment. A community-wide call for volunteers will be posted in the Discord.

How will you interface with the community?

  • Discord #umbrella-team created on approval of the funding request
  • 5x2 Gravity training workshops with claimable POAPs in which everyone can participate
  • A shared Notion document recording our work results and allowing for comments and contributions.
  • Monthly community calls and forum posts

Request for Funding: 12000 USDC + $4500 in ANT equivalents

One-time costs

  1. 6000 USDC consultancy fee to GravityDAO to establish organisational policy
  2. 3000 USDC service fee to GravityDAO to provide training

Running costs

  1. 3000 USDC for 3 months of Mediation service
    • this covers all mediations cases that may arise
  2. $4500 in ANT equivalents for smaller bounties and paying ~2 Aragon umbrella team contributors over 2 months (part time) for being a point of contact for the community and organisational, research, cultural work, and networking with other DAO communities
    • Documentation of organizational policies
    • Transcription of literature sources and workshop results related to a practical communication, error and conflict mindset into our onboarding documents.
    • Knowledge exchange with other DAO communities and participation in advanced training

Additional Note:

  • Michael offers to contribute to this project outside his working hours without compensation
  • Paying GravityDAO:
    • pay 6k USDC immediately
    • pay the remaining 6k after organisational policy has been delivered
  • The funds will be held in the operational multi-sig. If desired by the community or GravityDAO, an escrow contract can be used.

We the authors are committed to The Aragon Network Agreement, The Aragon Manifesto, The Community Guidelines, Aragon Governance Proposal Process.

Lastly, the authors would like to thank Renee Maria Lee for her help and support with the formalities of creating this funding request.

Receiving Addresses

The USDC payments to GravityDAO shall be send to the GravityDAO multisig address 0xfFbD35255008F86322051F2313D4b343540e0e00 .


Fully support this and happy to participate.


+1 !!

Totally support this initiative, thanks for coordinating this!


Hi Michael, the proposal looks great, should make for a valuable resource for Aragon. I am very interested in volunteering to join the gravity training. Thanks, Fintan.


My partner offers a competing service to the gravitons, perhaps they’ll join forces but until then… I have a conflict of interest and so I can’t vote for this proposal. Up to Renee and Ivan to decide.

The umbrella team might decide to request additional funds in a separate proposal for weekly office slots by Rebecca Collins (Coach, Facilitator, EQ Specialist, Mentor) to

  • run a debugging station to support problems on demand and act as a stage before mediation to facilitate mindset shifts
  • identify common conflict patterns through 1:1’s

I removed the respective part from the proposal. It just mentioned the possibility for a separate, future proposal and does not affect the current funding request.

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I’m afraid my conflict of interest stands. My partner is creating a course on conflict. I don’t see how I can vote on this proposal, whether in favour or against, without crossing that line.


Thank you for the detailed and thoughtful proposal Michael!
I think this direction of exploration is very valuable as we try to create a more inclusive environment that remains productive and result-oriented.

I have two questions/concerns:

  • “pay 6k USDC immediately” - this will be the first precedent of upfront payment on a proposal. Having such a precedent where the ESD members decide who is trustworthy enough to get an upfront payment (and to what size) and who is not, without a formalized framework opens the door for discrimination and/or favoritism.
  • “3000 USDC for 3 months of Mediation service” - My understanding of the scope of this proposal is to prepare and educate members of the Aragon Network so that mediation cases are handled within the network itself. Just want to make sure there is clarity around the expectation for future commitments surrounding this “subscription” beyond the initial 3 months?

Thanks for asking these questions and considering this proposal carefully.
All of this also is a giant test bed to me - especially as I am not that experienced on the financial side of things and the payment policies in our DAO.

I would like to direct your first question to Juan and ask him if it is possible to be paid by an escrow for the development of the organizational policies or what he would suggest as appropriate.

On your second question:
In the wake of present and upcoming challenges (merger, delivery phase of our core product, changes in the AN DAO charter, onboarding of more ambassadors), it is good to have professional mediators on our side in case of conflicts. This is because having untrained/unskilled people mediating conflicts likely makes things worse.
Also, training takes time, and it is unsure if we are finding enough people with the right skill set and the ability to commit their time along the way.

Another aspect is the following:
Having people with an inside view and knowledge about the Aragon Network and things happening internally is really valuable, but on the other hand it is also important to have neutral and unbiased mediators with an outside perspective. After the second month of this testing phase, we will have gathered enough experience to evaluate if the collaboration should be continued.
However, I am optimistic, and I see a lot of value in a long-term collaboration.
We should also recognize that their prices are really affordable and that it will probably be increasingly difficult to find mediators with experiences in renowned DAOs like the Gitcoin DAO or the TEC.

Having said this, it is of course possible to pay gravity DAO on per case basis.
I think the break-even point for proper conflict mediation is if we have more than 2-3 cases per month.
I would also refer the assessment of how many cases may occur in a DAO of our size and with our increased conflict potential to Juan.
Another option is to switch from the per-case payment to the monthly service fee or vice versa after the first month. Either way, I would stick to the $3k budget requested for the 3-month period - if this should be too much, we don’t need to use it.

Conflict resolutions and cultural improvements is a topic that an increasing number of DAOs is aware of, and I am glad that, despite the great potential for improvement on our side, we are still among the first to tackle these issues.

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Thank you! Let me rephrase the second question as there was some confusion.
“Funding only as and when required makes for a self-sustaining resource with the future potential (aim) to provide professional mediation services to other DAO within the Aragon Network and incorporate learnings into our human-centric product stack.”

To me this reads in two ways:

  • We hope that members of the Aragon Network that receive the training could start offering this service to DAOs within the network but outside the AN DAO itself
  • The need for external mediation within the AN DAO itself will decline (my original second question)

Could you please confirm that those are the expected outcomes?

Based on the argumentation you have put forward for the duration of this proposal I am on board with the subscription for the duration of the 3 months.
Over the 3 months we’ll be able to collect enough insight into the cases that emerged to understand if having the subscription going forward makes sense

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I’m not quite sure if this is a final yes from @fartunov, but in hopes that it is heading that way rest assured you have my full support @mheuer. I understand you are very busy this month so when addressing @fartunov remaining questions, can you also indicate when you would plan for the project to begin, please

Thank you for the time and effort you’ve invested to deliver a well-considered and imo important proposal for the development of AN DAO, I believe you will find the right people for the roles and remain hopeful of joining other volunteers in this opportunity to upskill, learn and grow together.

Fair enough - my answer is also ambiguous. @mheuer if we can get around the upfront payment I am supporting the proposal (still would appreciate clarity around the last question I posed).

If the proposers insist on upfront payment I want to hear from @lee0007 and @daniel-ospina what is their take on doing upfront payments as it will contradict the Charter? Probably compliance should make a call as well. I personally am not a fan of such an approach but open to agree with the majoirty

Payment of Gravity DAO as External Suppliers


  • DAOxDAO collaboration is a future that I support for its ability to develop synergies and deliver results beyond the scale/scope that any single organisation could achieve alone.

  • DAO Communication: Sans a formal HR function, conflict resolution and constructive communication will be integral for success especially imo as it informs the onboarding and offboarding functions and retention of key talent within DAO

  • SMART Objectives: This proposal offers specific, measurable and achievable, realistic and time-bound results.

  • Expertise & Experience Typically professionals are consulted because they bring a level of expertise that we do not have in-house and in terms of organisational policy I will defer to Juan’s expertise in this matter and @mheuer rigourous rationale.

  • Leadership Gravity DAO is building their reputation in this niche space and the opportunity to learn alongside them is a well-timed investment, in a space where DAO conflict resolution and communications skills are a growing demand

  • Window of Opportunity: This is an opportunity for contributors to learn and upskill at a very reasonable cost.

  • Event Series: I consider training a series of education events. Event costs are typically paid in advance.

  • Mitigated Risk External suppliers are typically selected on the basis of their track record and proven ability to deliver, which I see evidenced in this proposal, therefore I consider this lower-risk than an initial proposal on a new initiative.

  • Quid Pro Quo 50% advance is to deliver a project subject to assessment prior to the release of remaining funding.


Consultancy Fees: Policy development, consultancy type work is in my experience invoiced upon delivery unless invoiced as part of an agreed monthly retainer. Similar to a retainer, the Gitbook Proposal approached this hurdle by outlining monthly deliverables.

Bias: @fartunov your diligence in asking questions has raised some important points. I did not consider that the advance funding of external suppliers could be considered impartial to previous funding applicants, because this is to date our first request to fund an external supplier.

Charter: I would certainly advise others to err on the side caution in the case of Main DAO proposal to mitigate risk of challenge in situations of Charter ambiguity.

Sub-DAO Agreements S 2 (a) i
2. Make grants to other community members at their discretion, providing:
a. Such transactions are disclosed transparently on the Aragon Forum website.
b. An Escrow is used to hold funds until the completion of the agreed-upon deliverable.
c. The deliverable has been fully assessed by the members of the Executive DAO.
3. Pay suppliers of the Aragon network, providing such transactions are disclosed transparently on the forum

I understand the Charter could be interpreted to limit perhaps even prevent the advance payment of external suppliers and on that basis (&/or others unforeseen) my decision is also subject to veto. However, in the balance here I am happy to fund the proposal as it stands, pay $6000 USDC upfront to cover an external supplier because imo this proposal meets

Sub-DAO Agreements S 2 (a) i 2 ( a) and S 2 (a) i 3 costs are “disclosed transparently”
Sub-DAO Agreements S 2 (a) i 2 ( b) remaining allocation can be held in escrow or operational-multisig
Sub-DAO Agreements S 2 (a) i 2 ( c) I have assessed deliverables to the extent of my knowledge.

And I intend to assess the case for an ongoing ($1000pm) mediation service fee, contributor rewards allocations and the delivered organisational policy before agreeing to release further funds.

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Thank you for the elaborate response, unfortunately, I am not sure I understand where you land.

The question is whether the ESD should be disbursing upfront payment for services to be provided on a case by case basis and if that contradicts the charter?

Curious to hear your experience across other DAOs becuase I have not seen up-front being a common practice (token-swaps being an exception)

Side topic not related to the question: I don’t understand the classification of “external suppliers”…if a team submits the same proposal as simply a team or as a DAO should they be treated differently, or am I misunderstanding what it is?

I land FOR the proposal as it stands

  1. Executive Sub-DAO
    a. Responsibilities
    i. In particular the Executive DAO has the following powers:
  1. Pay members of other Sub-DAOs
  2. Make grants to other community members at their discretion, providing:
    a. Such transactions are disclosed transparently on the Aragon Forum website.
    b. An Escrow is used to hold funds until the completion of the agreed-upon deliverable.
    c. The deliverable has been fully assessed by the members of the Executive DAO.
  3. Pay suppliers of the Aragon network, providing such transactions are disclosed transparently on the Aragon Forum.

My understanding is that the Charter specifically excludes advance payments to community members. And I am arguing that the Charter can be interpreted, to place suppliers in a third category distinct from both 1) members of other Sub-DAO and 2) community members. While at that at the same time this proposal also meets the criteria for funding community members so bases covered.

At Index Coop, I lead Performance Marketing. 99% of supplier costs (excludes contributor rewards) are paid in advance. I assess many and various opportunities every week, requesting more money for less return on investment than this proposal. Typically we close more than 75% of the identified opportunities as they fail to provide the industry performance metrics that I apply to baseline selection to progress. Bandwagon fallacy aside…

We do not have the benefit of decades of industry best practices to work with here. The charter is our guard rails, I believe I was elected to the role based on experience. It is our responsibility as ESD to provide guidance on funding requests. If making advance payments is not a practice we wish to provide ongoing, let’s get together, agree to a standard and provide a statement to clarify our agreed position. We are not establishing case law precedent here, we do however need to provide more clarity and consistency moving forward.

Agree, there is ambuguity as to what constitutes a supplier and I believe this is a matter for the compliance committee to help determine, as part of the Charter update process. Imo this proposal is not the time to determine the future of all suppliers’ payments, just this one.

6k imo is also relatively low risk given the remainder of the payment is dependent on the delivery of 10-16.5k worth of value. Do I think this is worth the value proposed? Absolutely. This proposal falls within the ESD criteria, I believe it offers significant value therefore I say we should fund this proposal as it stands including the disclosed advance payment.

Then I am also good to go with the proposal. With Daniel’s abstain we are through. @mheuer let us know the next steps.

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Hello everyone in the Aragon Community! I’m sorry for my late reply to this message. I am GravityDAO coordination manager and have been working closely with @mheuer around this proposal for months.

I can understand the considerations expressed in this forum thread. Want to communicate that GravityDAO is very committed on supporting other DAOs developing their competences regarding conflict management, and that we have paid services (some of them included in this proposal) but also we have some free educational activities and trainings that all the Aragon community is invited and could benefit from, that can serve to understand what we are doing and build trust regarding the decision of investing as a DAO for some of our in depth additional services.

We have planned two free Graviton trainings in 2022. One in Q2 (starting late April) and other one in Q4 (starting October) - Everyone can freely take this course. The service of a tailored Graviton training is for communities that would like to have our course designed specially to their needs and requests, like time schedule, days for the trainings, specific topics, role plays, and also this training can be started at any point of the year.

For us, having relationships with this community is really valuable and we would like to continue building a bridge for long lasting relationships. Maybe if the community has some doubts now, we can start preparing the ground without any upfront payment, to continue talking about this proposal once there is more confidence and certainty about the quality and good will of the services we provide.

I am also available for calls and coordination, so feel free to reach out to have more information.

We are having most of our activities in the TEC Discord server: Token Engineering Commons

We are exploring liberating structures with very dynamic practice groups on Tuesdays

We are also leading a study club around the book “Who do we choose to be” by Margaret Wheatley, on thursdays.

Also this Friday I will be talking about Gravity in the Commons Stack AMA community call - Everyone interested can participate, join the conversation and ask questions :slight_smile:

Big hugs! I will try to keep in the loop of this thread.


Thank you for your kind reply and invitation to the events. We will incorporate them into the initiative and invite our community.


Funds requested for GravityDAO include

  • One time costs:
    • 6000 USDC consultancy fee to GravityDAO to establish organizational policies
    • 3000 USDC service fee to GravityDAO to provide training
  • Running costs:
    • 3000 USDC for 3 months of Mediation service

This totals to $12k for the GravityDAO part of the proposal.

The proposal suggested paying

  • $6k upfront,
  • $3k once the policies are completed and handed over, and
  • 3x $1k for the mediation service on a monthly basis.

The executive committee agreed to the $6k upfront. GravityDAO agreed to start without an $6k upfront payment.


As a compromise, I propose the following:

  • pay $3k upfront for the tailored trainings.
  • define three milestones for the delivery of the organizational policies and pay $2k for the completion of each milestone
  • pay 3x $1k on a monthly basis for the mediation service (based on the first month use, we might switch to a per-case payment)

In the name of GravityDAO i want to express that we agree to the terms and conditions expressed in this post, and that we don’t have any blockings towards retroactive payments or uses of escrows.

Will also try to answer the questions regarding the 3 month mediation service. After the Graviton trainings, Aragon would be able to have a list of beginner trained mediators, that would be leading the case management according to the policies, processes and workflows built from the establishment of organizational policies. The next 3 months would be a transitional space of time where GravityDAO would assist the mediators in your community to familiarize with the workflows and support in any question they might have, or in the cases they feel they might need support from a more experienced mediator, hoping that after this time, the conflict management in your organization can become something completely autonomous and decentralized.

Here is a presentation where you can see some information of our mediation processes and our practical educational activitites and trainings.


Great, we have to figure out a time (together with the potential contributors) where we start the initiative. I think the next two weeks, many of us are probably at full capacity.

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