Foundations 101
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Foundations 101 tutorial: Should I create a new non-profit?

Foundations 101 tutorial: Should I create a new non-profit?

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  • Key points of dispute: - Corporate vs community influence - Apache Foundation/FSF - Giving up control? - Eclipse Foundation – too much paperwork? - Quality of service – how can you compare umbrella organizations? - Is there ever a good reason to start a new foundation?
  • Key points of dispute: - Corporate vs community influence - Apache Foundation/FSF - Giving up control? - Eclipse Foundation – too much paperwork? - Quality of service – how can you compare umbrella organizations? - Is there ever a good reason to start a new foundation?

Foundations 101 Foundations 101 Presentation Transcript

  • Foundations 101 Should you start a new non-profit? Moderator: Dave Neary dneary@redhat.com
  • Panel discussion ● Dave Neary – COSM, Yorba, GNOME Foundation ● Ian Skerrett – Eclipse Foundation ● Bradley Kuhn – Software Freedom Conservancy ● Cedric Thomas – OW2
  • Answer: It depends.
  • Reasons for starting ● Opening a bank account ● Accepting donations (potentially tax- deductible) 1. Financial infrastructure
  • Reasons for starting ● Enter into contracts (eg. conference venues, sponsors) ● Hire staff 2. Insulate members from liability
  • Reasons for starting ● Legal safe haven for copyrights and trademark ● Formalize rules for governance of project ● Protect members from individual legal action ● Provide level playing field for members, structure to pool resources 3. Governance and pooling resources
  • Costs ● Lawyer for drafting of by-laws and annual registration of company paperwork ● Accountant to deal with taxes, payroll 1. Money
  • Costs ● Registering an organization, drafting by-laws, official paperwork ● Elections, board meetings, ... ● 501(c)* approval times measured in years 2. Time
  • Costs ● President and board are accountable for the organization fiscally & legally ● Fiduciary responsibility, potentially outside your jurisdiction 3. Risk & responsibility
  • Alternatives ● Eclipse Foundation ● Software Freedom Conservancy ● Software in the Public Interest ● OuterCurve Foundation ● OW2 ● Linux Foundation 1. Umbrella organizations (in no particular order)
  • Alternatives ● Apache Foundation ● GNOME Foundation ● KDE eV ● ... 1. Umbrella organizations (in no particular order)
  • Alternatives ● Provide fiscal entity and financial services ● Key differences: – Cost structure – Membership requirements (license, infrastructure, ...) – Philosophy and by-laws – Ecosystem 1. Umbrella organizations (in no particular order)
  • Alternatives ● “Benevolent” corporate sponsor ● Benefits: Salary, availability of legal and financial services ● Risks: Changing winds 2. Sugar Daddy
  • Alternatives ● Offload financial and administrative services to organization ● Provide staff & payroll services, etc. ● Costs money ● See panel “How should we staff & administer it?” 3. Management services
  • Starting a foundation ● Considerations out of scope for this discussion: – Jurisdiction – By-laws and corporate governance – IRS 501(c) status See panel “How do we form a new Foundation?” - up next
  • Panel discussion ● Dave Neary – COSM, Yorba, GNOME Foundation ● Ian Skerrett – Eclipse Foundation ● Bradley Kuhn – Software Freedom Conservancy ● Cedric Thomas – OW2