How does an open source project become a recognized member of a foundation and provide high value to the cloud native ecosystem? How does it grow from sandbox to graduation stage? This talk will shed light on how to navigate the intricacies of the CNCF graduation process, which ultimately transforms an independent project into a vital part of a thriving community. This talk is the culmination of several years of shepherding open source projects, both as part of the CNCF as well as other major open source foundations. We will share insightful guidance, tips, and lessons to effectively navigate your own project’s journey towards foundation membership. We will also cover pitfalls encountered during the process, and how you can avoid them by following the best practices.