Foundations 101

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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

    1. 1. Foundations 101 Should you start a new non-profit? Moderator: Dave Neary dneary@redhat.com
    2. 2. Panel discussion ● Dave Neary – COSM, Yorba, GNOME Foundation ● Ian Skerrett – Eclipse Foundation ● Bradley Kuhn – Software Freedom Conservancy ● Cedric Thomas – OW2
    3. 3. Answer: It depends.
    4. 4. Reasons for starting ● Opening a bank account ● Accepting donations (potentially tax- deductible) 1. Financial infrastructure
    5. 5. Reasons for starting ● Enter into contracts (eg. conference venues, sponsors) ● Hire staff 2. Insulate members from liability
    6. 6. 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
    7. 7. Costs ● Lawyer for drafting of by-laws and annual registration of company paperwork ● Accountant to deal with taxes, payroll 1. Money
    8. 8. Costs ● Registering an organization, drafting by-laws, official paperwork ● Elections, board meetings, ... ● 501(c)* approval times measured in years 2. Time
    9. 9. Costs ● President and board are accountable for the organization fiscally & legally ● Fiduciary responsibility, potentially outside your jurisdiction 3. Risk & responsibility
    10. 10. Alternatives ● Eclipse Foundation ● Software Freedom Conservancy ● Software in the Public Interest ● OuterCurve Foundation ● OW2 ● Linux Foundation 1. Umbrella organizations (in no particular order)
    11. 11. Alternatives ● Apache Foundation ● GNOME Foundation ● KDE eV ● ... 1. Umbrella organizations (in no particular order)
    12. 12. 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)
    13. 13. Alternatives ● “Benevolent” corporate sponsor ● Benefits: Salary, availability of legal and financial services ● Risks: Changing winds 2. Sugar Daddy
    14. 14. 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
    15. 15. 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
    16. 16. Panel discussion ● Dave Neary – COSM, Yorba, GNOME Foundation ● Ian Skerrett – Eclipse Foundation ● Bradley Kuhn – Software Freedom Conservancy ● Cedric Thomas – OW2

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