OSGeo vs 501c3 status - inpur required

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OSGeo vs 501c3 status - inpur required

Daniel Morissette
Board,

Maybe my mail from yesterday was too long and you missed the question
targeted at you. So just in case here it comes again, and please let me
know what your preference is if you have one, or if you don't know then
it's okay to say so, but at least acknowledge that you read this email.

Our deadline to respond to the IRS is next week. I'll try to get another
extension from them, but we need to make a decision on which way we go
soon in order to craft a response.

So the question we need to ask ourselves now is:

"Do we want to maintain the project sponsorship program and setup a
taxable subsidiary for it, or do we drop the project sponsorship program
completely?"

I think the taxable subsidiary is manageable, but to justify it, we'd
need to put more efforts in the project sponsorship program since at
this time it is mostly dormant. (OpenLayers and GRASS are interested but
I've kept them on hold, and GDAL is... well, quiet)


Unless I hear back from other board members with a strong position one
way or the other, I am planning to continue trying to qualify as a 501c3
foundation with a taxable subsidiary for the project sponsorship program
and whatever other taxable activity we may have in the future.


Daniel
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Re: OSGeo vs 501c3 status - inpur required

Michael Gerlek
We really need to discuss this as a group - failing that, though, due to time, I think everyone should weigh in on this.

I'm against forming a taxable subsidiary at this time: I don't think our current business plans justify the work right now.

-mpg



On Nov 9, 2012, at 1:44 PM, Daniel Morissette <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Board,
>
> Maybe my mail from yesterday was too long and you missed the question targeted at you. So just in case here it comes again, and please let me know what your preference is if you have one, or if you don't know then it's okay to say so, but at least acknowledge that you read this email.
>
> Our deadline to respond to the IRS is next week. I'll try to get another extension from them, but we need to make a decision on which way we go soon in order to craft a response.
>
> So the question we need to ask ourselves now is:
>
> "Do we want to maintain the project sponsorship program and setup a taxable subsidiary for it, or do we drop the project sponsorship program completely?"
>
> I think the taxable subsidiary is manageable, but to justify it, we'd need to put more efforts in the project sponsorship program since at this time it is mostly dormant. (OpenLayers and GRASS are interested but I've kept them on hold, and GDAL is... well, quiet)
>
>
> Unless I hear back from other board members with a strong position one way or the other, I am planning to continue trying to qualify as a 501c3 foundation with a taxable subsidiary for the project sponsorship program and whatever other taxable activity we may have in the future.
>
>
> Daniel
> _______________________________________________
> Board mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/board

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Re: OSGeo vs 501c3 status - inpur required

Daniel Morissette
Thank you Michael for being the first to jump in.

Does this mean that you'd want us to try to qualify as 501c3 without the
sponsorship program, even if that means having to chop off other small
bits here and there that don't qualify for c3 (thinking of some FOSS4G
related stuff that pushes us in a grey area).

Daniel

On 12-11-09 3:50 PM, Michael P. Gerlek wrote:

> We really need to discuss this as a group - failing that, though, due to time, I think everyone should weigh in on this.
>
> I'm against forming a taxable subsidiary at this time: I don't think our current business plans justify the work right now.
>
> -mpg
>
>
>
> On Nov 9, 2012, at 1:44 PM, Daniel Morissette <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Board,
>>
>> Maybe my mail from yesterday was too long and you missed the question targeted at you. So just in case here it comes again, and please let me know what your preference is if you have one, or if you don't know then it's okay to say so, but at least acknowledge that you read this email.
>>
>> Our deadline to respond to the IRS is next week. I'll try to get another extension from them, but we need to make a decision on which way we go soon in order to craft a response.
>>
>> So the question we need to ask ourselves now is:
>>
>> "Do we want to maintain the project sponsorship program and setup a taxable subsidiary for it, or do we drop the project sponsorship program completely?"
>>
>> I think the taxable subsidiary is manageable, but to justify it, we'd need to put more efforts in the project sponsorship program since at this time it is mostly dormant. (OpenLayers and GRASS are interested but I've kept them on hold, and GDAL is... well, quiet)
>>
>>
>> Unless I hear back from other board members with a strong position one way or the other, I am planning to continue trying to qualify as a 501c3 foundation with a taxable subsidiary for the project sponsorship program and whatever other taxable activity we may have in the future.
>>
>>
>> Daniel
>> _______________________________________________
>> Board mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/board
>


--
Daniel Morissette
http://www.mapgears.com/
Provider of Professional MapServer Support since 2000

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Re: OSGeo vs 501c3 status - inpur required

Michael Gerlek
Yes. I'm open to the idea of a subsidiary down the road, but I don't want to jump in and do it now, esp. when our books and overall tax liability are still in a bad state -- let's fix first things first?

-mpg



On Nov 9, 2012, at 1:54 PM, Daniel Morissette <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Thank you Michael for being the first to jump in.
>
> Does this mean that you'd want us to try to qualify as 501c3 without the sponsorship program, even if that means having to chop off other small bits here and there that don't qualify for c3 (thinking of some FOSS4G related stuff that pushes us in a grey area).
>
> Daniel
>
> On 12-11-09 3:50 PM, Michael P. Gerlek wrote:
>> We really need to discuss this as a group - failing that, though, due to time, I think everyone should weigh in on this.
>>
>> I'm against forming a taxable subsidiary at this time: I don't think our current business plans justify the work right now.
>>
>> -mpg
>>
>>
>>
>> On Nov 9, 2012, at 1:44 PM, Daniel Morissette <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>>> Board,
>>>
>>> Maybe my mail from yesterday was too long and you missed the question targeted at you. So just in case here it comes again, and please let me know what your preference is if you have one, or if you don't know then it's okay to say so, but at least acknowledge that you read this email.
>>>
>>> Our deadline to respond to the IRS is next week. I'll try to get another extension from them, but we need to make a decision on which way we go soon in order to craft a response.
>>>
>>> So the question we need to ask ourselves now is:
>>>
>>> "Do we want to maintain the project sponsorship program and setup a taxable subsidiary for it, or do we drop the project sponsorship program completely?"
>>>
>>> I think the taxable subsidiary is manageable, but to justify it, we'd need to put more efforts in the project sponsorship program since at this time it is mostly dormant. (OpenLayers and GRASS are interested but I've kept them on hold, and GDAL is... well, quiet)
>>>
>>>
>>> Unless I hear back from other board members with a strong position one way or the other, I am planning to continue trying to qualify as a 501c3 foundation with a taxable subsidiary for the project sponsorship program and whatever other taxable activity we may have in the future.
>>>
>>>
>>> Daniel
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Board mailing list
>>> [hidden email]
>>> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/board
>>
>
>
> --
> Daniel Morissette
> http://www.mapgears.com/
> Provider of Professional MapServer Support since 2000
>
> _______________________________________________
> Board mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/board

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Re: OSGeo vs 501c3 status - inpur required

Daniel Morissette
That works for me, but requires explicitly killing the project
sponsorship program.

Let's see what the rest of the board members think.

Daniel


On 12-11-09 3:57 PM, Michael P. Gerlek wrote:

> Yes. I'm open to the idea of a subsidiary down the road, but I don't want to jump in and do it now, esp. when our books and overall tax liability are still in a bad state -- let's fix first things first?
>
> -mpg
>
>
>
> On Nov 9, 2012, at 1:54 PM, Daniel Morissette <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Thank you Michael for being the first to jump in.
>>
>> Does this mean that you'd want us to try to qualify as 501c3 without the sponsorship program, even if that means having to chop off other small bits here and there that don't qualify for c3 (thinking of some FOSS4G related stuff that pushes us in a grey area).
>>
>> Daniel
>>
>> On 12-11-09 3:50 PM, Michael P. Gerlek wrote:
>>> We really need to discuss this as a group - failing that, though, due to time, I think everyone should weigh in on this.
>>>
>>> I'm against forming a taxable subsidiary at this time: I don't think our current business plans justify the work right now.
>>>
>>> -mpg
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On Nov 9, 2012, at 1:44 PM, Daniel Morissette <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>
>>>> Board,
>>>>
>>>> Maybe my mail from yesterday was too long and you missed the question targeted at you. So just in case here it comes again, and please let me know what your preference is if you have one, or if you don't know then it's okay to say so, but at least acknowledge that you read this email.
>>>>
>>>> Our deadline to respond to the IRS is next week. I'll try to get another extension from them, but we need to make a decision on which way we go soon in order to craft a response.
>>>>
>>>> So the question we need to ask ourselves now is:
>>>>
>>>> "Do we want to maintain the project sponsorship program and setup a taxable subsidiary for it, or do we drop the project sponsorship program completely?"
>>>>
>>>> I think the taxable subsidiary is manageable, but to justify it, we'd need to put more efforts in the project sponsorship program since at this time it is mostly dormant. (OpenLayers and GRASS are interested but I've kept them on hold, and GDAL is... well, quiet)
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Unless I hear back from other board members with a strong position one way or the other, I am planning to continue trying to qualify as a 501c3 foundation with a taxable subsidiary for the project sponsorship program and whatever other taxable activity we may have in the future.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Daniel
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> Board mailing list
>>>> [hidden email]
>>>> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/board
>>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> Daniel Morissette
>> http://www.mapgears.com/
>> Provider of Professional MapServer Support since 2000
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Board mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/board
>


--
Daniel Morissette
http://www.mapgears.com/
Provider of Professional MapServer Support since 2000

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Re: OSGeo vs 501c3 status - inpur required

Daniel Morissette
In reply to this post by Michael Gerlek
MPG is right that we need to discuss this since it's an important decision.

FYI, we just requested an extension which, if it is approved, will leave
us a few more days to make a decision. Let's aim to make our final
decision no later than Thursday at the board meeting.

In the meantime, please keep the discussion going so that we can come up
with something we're comfortable with by Thursday.

Ref to the IRS letter and questions to refresh your memory:
http://svn.osgeo.org/osgeo/board/irs_docs/OSGeo-IRS-Letter-20120914.pdf

Daniel




On 12-11-09 3:50 PM, Michael P. Gerlek wrote:

> We really need to discuss this as a group - failing that, though, due to time, I think everyone should weigh in on this.
>
> I'm against forming a taxable subsidiary at this time: I don't think our current business plans justify the work right now.
>
> -mpg
>
>
>
> On Nov 9, 2012, at 1:44 PM, Daniel Morissette <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Board,
>>
>> Maybe my mail from yesterday was too long and you missed the question targeted at you. So just in case here it comes again, and please let me know what your preference is if you have one, or if you don't know then it's okay to say so, but at least acknowledge that you read this email.
>>
>> Our deadline to respond to the IRS is next week. I'll try to get another extension from them, but we need to make a decision on which way we go soon in order to craft a response.
>>
>> So the question we need to ask ourselves now is:
>>
>> "Do we want to maintain the project sponsorship program and setup a taxable subsidiary for it, or do we drop the project sponsorship program completely?"
>>
>> I think the taxable subsidiary is manageable, but to justify it, we'd need to put more efforts in the project sponsorship program since at this time it is mostly dormant. (OpenLayers and GRASS are interested but I've kept them on hold, and GDAL is... well, quiet)
>>
>>
>> Unless I hear back from other board members with a strong position one way or the other, I am planning to continue trying to qualify as a 501c3 foundation with a taxable subsidiary for the project sponsorship program and whatever other taxable activity we may have in the future.
>>
>>
>> Daniel
>> _______________________________________________
>> Board mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/board
>


--
Daniel Morissette
http://www.mapgears.com/
Provider of Professional MapServer Support since 2000

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Re: OSGeo vs 501c3 status - inpur required

Cameron Shorter
Re Daniel's question: "Do we want to maintain the project sponsorship
program and setup a taxable subsidiary for it, or do we drop the project
sponsorship program completely?"

I'm in favour of dropping the sponsorship program and complications
associated with a taxable subsidiary.

I think that we need to distinguish between what we want, and what we
are good at and have the resources to achieve.

Yes, we would all love to have sponsors throw lots of money at OSGeo,
and OSGeo to then spend that money on worthy OSGeo activities. But there
is lots of effort involved in attracting sponsors, and OSGeo volunteers
tend not to be interested in chasing money. Also, OSGeo companies and/or
individuals seem to have a better track record in attracting funds.

My opinion is that OSGeo should focus on what it does best - having
volunteers supporting other volunteers, which is all done on a shoe
string budget without the red tape which is introduced when money is
involved. We are at our best when our organisational structures are
light weight, allowing us to be dynamic, responsive and open to
capturing volunteer enthusiasm.

Hence I'm +0 for dropping the sponsorship program. It would take someone
putting together a compelling business plan, resourcing strategy, and
personal commitment in order to convince me otherwise.

Daniel,
It would be good to float this question past the discuss list before a
final decision is made, such that we can give others the opportunity to
put forward their thoughts.

On 10/11/2012 9:36 AM, Daniel Morissette wrote:

> MPG is right that we need to discuss this since it's an important
> decision.
>
> FYI, we just requested an extension which, if it is approved, will
> leave us a few more days to make a decision. Let's aim to make our
> final decision no later than Thursday at the board meeting.
>
> In the meantime, please keep the discussion going so that we can come
> up with something we're comfortable with by Thursday.
>
> Ref to the IRS letter and questions to refresh your memory:
> http://svn.osgeo.org/osgeo/board/irs_docs/OSGeo-IRS-Letter-20120914.pdf
>
> Daniel
>
>
>
>
> On 12-11-09 3:50 PM, Michael P. Gerlek wrote:
>> We really need to discuss this as a group - failing that, though, due
>> to time, I think everyone should weigh in on this.
>>
>> I'm against forming a taxable subsidiary at this time: I don't think
>> our current business plans justify the work right now.
>>
>> -mpg
>>
>>
>>
>> On Nov 9, 2012, at 1:44 PM, Daniel Morissette
>> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>>> Board,
>>>
>>> Maybe my mail from yesterday was too long and you missed the
>>> question targeted at you. So just in case here it comes again, and
>>> please let me know what your preference is if you have one, or if
>>> you don't know then it's okay to say so, but at least acknowledge
>>> that you read this email.
>>>
>>> Our deadline to respond to the IRS is next week. I'll try to get
>>> another extension from them, but we need to make a decision on which
>>> way we go soon in order to craft a response.
>>>
>>> So the question we need to ask ourselves now is:
>>>
>>> "Do we want to maintain the project sponsorship program and setup a
>>> taxable subsidiary for it, or do we drop the project sponsorship
>>> program completely?"
>>>
>>> I think the taxable subsidiary is manageable, but to justify it,
>>> we'd need to put more efforts in the project sponsorship program
>>> since at this time it is mostly dormant. (OpenLayers and GRASS are
>>> interested but I've kept them on hold, and GDAL is... well, quiet)
>>>
>>>
>>> Unless I hear back from other board members with a strong position
>>> one way or the other, I am planning to continue trying to qualify as
>>> a 501c3 foundation with a taxable subsidiary for the project
>>> sponsorship program and whatever other taxable activity we may have
>>> in the future.
>>>
>>>
>>> Daniel
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Board mailing list
>>> [hidden email]
>>> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/board
>>
>
>


--
Cameron Shorter
Geospatial Solutions Manager
Tel: +61 (0)2 8570 5050
Mob: +61 (0)419 142 254

Think Globally, Fix Locally
Geospatial Solutions enhanced with Open Standards and Open Source
http://www.lisasoft.com

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Re: OSGeo vs 501c3 status - inpur required

Michael Gerlek
Cameron is spot on -- I continue to champion the idea of OSGeo as a very lightweight federation of related efforts and projects.

Going to the discuss-list is the Right Thing To Do, but we should expect some response against the proposal: historically there have always been some who wish to pursue significant funding opportunities and prod the board to do so. However, for various reasons, the Board and the Community have never been able to put together a business plan for it.

-mpg



On Nov 9, 2012, at 5:39 PM, Cameron Shorter <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Re Daniel's question: "Do we want to maintain the project sponsorship program and setup a taxable subsidiary for it, or do we drop the project sponsorship program completely?"
>
> I'm in favour of dropping the sponsorship program and complications associated with a taxable subsidiary.
>
> I think that we need to distinguish between what we want, and what we are good at and have the resources to achieve.
>
> Yes, we would all love to have sponsors throw lots of money at OSGeo, and OSGeo to then spend that money on worthy OSGeo activities. But there is lots of effort involved in attracting sponsors, and OSGeo volunteers tend not to be interested in chasing money. Also, OSGeo companies and/or individuals seem to have a better track record in attracting funds.
>
> My opinion is that OSGeo should focus on what it does best - having volunteers supporting other volunteers, which is all done on a shoe string budget without the red tape which is introduced when money is involved. We are at our best when our organisational structures are light weight, allowing us to be dynamic, responsive and open to capturing volunteer enthusiasm.
>
> Hence I'm +0 for dropping the sponsorship program. It would take someone putting together a compelling business plan, resourcing strategy, and personal commitment in order to convince me otherwise.
>
> Daniel,
> It would be good to float this question past the discuss list before a final decision is made, such that we can give others the opportunity to put forward their thoughts.
>
> On 10/11/2012 9:36 AM, Daniel Morissette wrote:
>> MPG is right that we need to discuss this since it's an important decision.
>>
>> FYI, we just requested an extension which, if it is approved, will leave us a few more days to make a decision. Let's aim to make our final decision no later than Thursday at the board meeting.
>>
>> In the meantime, please keep the discussion going so that we can come up with something we're comfortable with by Thursday.
>>
>> Ref to the IRS letter and questions to refresh your memory:
>> http://svn.osgeo.org/osgeo/board/irs_docs/OSGeo-IRS-Letter-20120914.pdf
>>
>> Daniel
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On 12-11-09 3:50 PM, Michael P. Gerlek wrote:
>>> We really need to discuss this as a group - failing that, though, due to time, I think everyone should weigh in on this.
>>>
>>> I'm against forming a taxable subsidiary at this time: I don't think our current business plans justify the work right now.
>>>
>>> -mpg
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On Nov 9, 2012, at 1:44 PM, Daniel Morissette <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>
>>>> Board,
>>>>
>>>> Maybe my mail from yesterday was too long and you missed the question targeted at you. So just in case here it comes again, and please let me know what your preference is if you have one, or if you don't know then it's okay to say so, but at least acknowledge that you read this email.
>>>>
>>>> Our deadline to respond to the IRS is next week. I'll try to get another extension from them, but we need to make a decision on which way we go soon in order to craft a response.
>>>>
>>>> So the question we need to ask ourselves now is:
>>>>
>>>> "Do we want to maintain the project sponsorship program and setup a taxable subsidiary for it, or do we drop the project sponsorship program completely?"
>>>>
>>>> I think the taxable subsidiary is manageable, but to justify it, we'd need to put more efforts in the project sponsorship program since at this time it is mostly dormant. (OpenLayers and GRASS are interested but I've kept them on hold, and GDAL is... well, quiet)
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Unless I hear back from other board members with a strong position one way or the other, I am planning to continue trying to qualify as a 501c3 foundation with a taxable subsidiary for the project sponsorship program and whatever other taxable activity we may have in the future.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Daniel
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> Board mailing list
>>>> [hidden email]
>>>> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/board
>>>
>>
>>
>
>
> --
> Cameron Shorter
> Geospatial Solutions Manager
> Tel: +61 (0)2 8570 5050
> Mob: +61 (0)419 142 254
>
> Think Globally, Fix Locally
> Geospatial Solutions enhanced with Open Standards and Open Source
> http://www.lisasoft.com
>
> _______________________________________________
> Board mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/board

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Re: OSGeo vs 501c3 status - inpur required

Frank Warmerdam
In reply to this post by Daniel Morissette
On 12-11-09 12:44 PM, Daniel Morissette wrote:

> Board,
>
> Maybe my mail from yesterday was too long and you missed the question targeted
> at you. So just in case here it comes again, and please let me know what your
> preference is if you have one, or if you don't know then it's okay to say so,
> but at least acknowledge that you read this email.
>
> Our deadline to respond to the IRS is next week. I'll try to get another
> extension from them, but we need to make a decision on which way we go soon in
> order to craft a response.
>
> So the question we need to ask ourselves now is:
>
> "Do we want to maintain the project sponsorship program and setup a taxable
> subsidiary for it, or do we drop the project sponsorship program completely?"

Daniel,

I assume that the above question assumes we are still trying to be a 501c3
charity, is that right?  My personal opinion is that we should back off
501c3 status and operate as a general purpose non-profit, though I must
admit I'm still vague on the implications of that.

I am still not clear what it means to be a non-profit without being
501c3 or 501c6.  Are we going to be taxed on retained earnings?  If
we spend more than we take in, can we carry that forward as a taxable
loss to a future year to offset extra income?  If so, it seems we could
operate with minimal taxation as long as we don't accumulate large
assets, and we would not have any of the restrictions of 501c3 status.

Is this plausible?

I'm not super keen on abandoning the project sponsorship program though
it isn't critical currently.  However, I do hope in the future to seek
and use more money via such mechanisms.  If the GDAL project sponsorship
program is quiet it is partly because Even fixes all the bugs so there
isn't much need for a paid maintainer. :-)

What I don't want to do is bend ourselves completely out of shape to
satisfy IRS rules about 501c3 status if the benefit is modest.  At
this point I am not sure I see the benefit.

Best regards,
--
---------------------------------------+--------------------------------------
I set the clouds in motion - turn up   | Frank Warmerdam, [hidden email]
light and sound - activate the windows | http://home.gdal.org/warmerda
and watch the world go round - Rush    | Geospatial Software Developer

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Re: OSGeo vs 501c3 status - inpur required

jmckenna
Administrator
In reply to this post by Daniel Morissette
For what it's worth, here are my feelings briefly:

- keep the project sponsorship program
- hire a professional bookkeeper to manage the financials as of January
2013 (among the responsibilities such as mentioned in this email [taxes,
IRS, non/profit status, financial institutions etc.], his/her main
responsibility will be a monthly financial report submitted to the
Board, preferably as short as one side of a page)
- create a taxable subsidiary

I think this would lesson the load on our great (yet small) pool of
OSGeo volunteers, and at the same time let us continue with the
sponsorship program (and hopefully expand it someday).

-jeff




On 12-11-09 4:44 PM, Daniel Morissette wrote:

> Board,
>
> Maybe my mail from yesterday was too long and you missed the question
> targeted at you. So just in case here it comes again, and please let me
> know what your preference is if you have one, or if you don't know then
> it's okay to say so, but at least acknowledge that you read this email.
>
> Our deadline to respond to the IRS is next week. I'll try to get another
> extension from them, but we need to make a decision on which way we go
> soon in order to craft a response.
>
> So the question we need to ask ourselves now is:
>
> "Do we want to maintain the project sponsorship program and setup a
> taxable subsidiary for it, or do we drop the project sponsorship program
> completely?"
>
> I think the taxable subsidiary is manageable, but to justify it, we'd
> need to put more efforts in the project sponsorship program since at
> this time it is mostly dormant. (OpenLayers and GRASS are interested but
> I've kept them on hold, and GDAL is... well, quiet)
>
>
> Unless I hear back from other board members with a strong position one
> way or the other, I am planning to continue trying to qualify as a 501c3
> foundation with a taxable subsidiary for the project sponsorship program
> and whatever other taxable activity we may have in the future.
>
>

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Re: OSGeo vs 501c3 status - inpur required

Frank Warmerdam
On 12-11-10 01:32 PM, Jeff McKenna wrote:

> For what it's worth, here are my feelings briefly:
>
> - keep the project sponsorship program
> - hire a professional bookkeeper to manage the financials as of January
> 2013 (among the responsibilities such as mentioned in this email [taxes,
> IRS, non/profit status, financial institutions etc.], his/her main
> responsibility will be a monthly financial report submitted to the
> Board, preferably as short as one side of a page)
> - create a taxable subsidiary
>
> I think this would lesson the load on our great (yet small) pool of
> OSGeo volunteers, and at the same time let us continue with the
> sponsorship program (and hopefully expand it someday).

Jeff,

Are you suggesting then that we aim for 501c3 status which implies
at least on paper narrowing our focus to educational goals?

I believe that the responsibilities you are describing go well
beyond that of a bookkeeper and so the pay would be substantially
more than just for bookkeeping.  I imagine someone with more business
experience than me should comment.

Best regards,
--
---------------------------------------+--------------------------------------
I set the clouds in motion - turn up   | Frank Warmerdam, [hidden email]
light and sound - activate the windows | http://home.gdal.org/warmerda
and watch the world go round - Rush    | Geospatial Software Developer

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Re: OSGeo vs 501c3 status - inpur required

jmckenna
Administrator
Frank,

I just feel it's time to "bring in the heavies", a funded person (if we
can budget something like $1,000 per month) to manage this.  I sit on a
provincial board that does that, hires an accountant, and yet that Board
doesn't have the international issues that we have here.  I feel we are
spinning wheels, working very hard to figure this out, but we are out of
our "wheelhouse".

I guess my comments/feelings are too general for your questions.

-jeff



On 12-11-10 11:39 PM, Frank Warmerdam wrote:

> On 12-11-10 01:32 PM, Jeff McKenna wrote:
>> For what it's worth, here are my feelings briefly:
>>
>> - keep the project sponsorship program
>> - hire a professional bookkeeper to manage the financials as of January
>> 2013 (among the responsibilities such as mentioned in this email [taxes,
>> IRS, non/profit status, financial institutions etc.], his/her main
>> responsibility will be a monthly financial report submitted to the
>> Board, preferably as short as one side of a page)
>> - create a taxable subsidiary
>>
>> I think this would lesson the load on our great (yet small) pool of
>> OSGeo volunteers, and at the same time let us continue with the
>> sponsorship program (and hopefully expand it someday).
>
> Jeff,
>
> Are you suggesting then that we aim for 501c3 status which implies
> at least on paper narrowing our focus to educational goals?
>
> I believe that the responsibilities you are describing go well
> beyond that of a bookkeeper and so the pay would be substantially
> more than just for bookkeeping.  I imagine someone with more business
> experience than me should comment.
>
> Best regards,

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Re: OSGeo vs 501c3 status - inpur required

Cameron Shorter
Jeff,
I'd be wanting to see your proposal fleshed out into specifics before
I'd be likely to be convinced.
Ie, specify specifically what a paid role is expected to do. Estimate
how much time/cost that will take. Establish what value it will bring to
the OSGeo Foundation. Then we can assess the expected return on investment.

At the moment, I'm still in favour of OSGeo act as a light weight
organisation.
I do also note that a relationship with Eclipse/LocationTech will has
the potential to address the financial management requirements we are
considering.

On 12/11/12 01:11, Jeff McKenna wrote:

> Frank,
>
> I just feel it's time to "bring in the heavies", a funded person (if we
> can budget something like $1,000 per month) to manage this.  I sit on a
> provincial board that does that, hires an accountant, and yet that Board
> doesn't have the international issues that we have here.  I feel we are
> spinning wheels, working very hard to figure this out, but we are out of
> our "wheelhouse".
>
> I guess my comments/feelings are too general for your questions.
>
> -jeff
>
>
>
> On 12-11-10 11:39 PM, Frank Warmerdam wrote:
>> On 12-11-10 01:32 PM, Jeff McKenna wrote:
>>> For what it's worth, here are my feelings briefly:
>>>
>>> - keep the project sponsorship program
>>> - hire a professional bookkeeper to manage the financials as of January
>>> 2013 (among the responsibilities such as mentioned in this email [taxes,
>>> IRS, non/profit status, financial institutions etc.], his/her main
>>> responsibility will be a monthly financial report submitted to the
>>> Board, preferably as short as one side of a page)
>>> - create a taxable subsidiary
>>>
>>> I think this would lesson the load on our great (yet small) pool of
>>> OSGeo volunteers, and at the same time let us continue with the
>>> sponsorship program (and hopefully expand it someday).
>> Jeff,
>>
>> Are you suggesting then that we aim for 501c3 status which implies
>> at least on paper narrowing our focus to educational goals?
>>
>> I believe that the responsibilities you are describing go well
>> beyond that of a bookkeeper and so the pay would be substantially
>> more than just for bookkeeping.  I imagine someone with more business
>> experience than me should comment.
>>
>> Best regards,
> _______________________________________________
> Board mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/board


--
Cameron Shorter
Geospatial Solutions Manager
Tel: +61 (0)2 8570 5050
Mob: +61 (0)419 142 254

Think Globally, Fix Locally
Geospatial Solutions enhanced with Open Standards and Open Source
http://www.lisasoft.com

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Re: OSGeo vs 501c3 status - inpur required

Daniel Morissette
I agree with Jeff that we are spinning our wheels and should use a
professional to manage our finances.

Based on my experience managing Mapgears (inc) and OSGEO-QUEBEC
(non-profit) using an external accounting firm for the book keeping and
financials, it should be in the range of 300-500$/month for the monthly
book keeping tasks, and 1000-1500$ for the year end financial statements
and tax filing. If you add a second corporation (taxable subsidiary)
then you add a few hundred to both numbers. That's where my previous
5-10k$ figure comes from.

Getting a preliminary finance snapshots to the board every 3 months
would likely be enough and keep costs more reasonable (i.e. monthly may
be a bit much).

The budgetting and financial planning task, as well as invoicing and
cashing checks would remain with the treasurer. This would insure
separation of tasks (and accounts verification) between the treasurer
and a third party and prevent potential for fraud.

I would have gone for that already... I just don't know any US-based
accountant with experience in nonprofits, so once again I invite our US
based membership to send me references if you have any.

Daniel


On 12-11-11 2:53 PM, Cameron Shorter wrote:

> Jeff,
> I'd be wanting to see your proposal fleshed out into specifics before
> I'd be likely to be convinced.
> Ie, specify specifically what a paid role is expected to do. Estimate
> how much time/cost that will take. Establish what value it will bring to
> the OSGeo Foundation. Then we can assess the expected return on investment.
>
> At the moment, I'm still in favour of OSGeo act as a light weight
> organisation.
> I do also note that a relationship with Eclipse/LocationTech will has
> the potential to address the financial management requirements we are
> considering.
>
> On 12/11/12 01:11, Jeff McKenna wrote:
>> Frank,
>>
>> I just feel it's time to "bring in the heavies", a funded person (if we
>> can budget something like $1,000 per month) to manage this.  I sit on a
>> provincial board that does that, hires an accountant, and yet that Board
>> doesn't have the international issues that we have here.  I feel we are
>> spinning wheels, working very hard to figure this out, but we are out of
>> our "wheelhouse".
>>
>> I guess my comments/feelings are too general for your questions.
>>
>> -jeff
>>
>>
>>
>> On 12-11-10 11:39 PM, Frank Warmerdam wrote:
>>> On 12-11-10 01:32 PM, Jeff McKenna wrote:
>>>> For what it's worth, here are my feelings briefly:
>>>>
>>>> - keep the project sponsorship program
>>>> - hire a professional bookkeeper to manage the financials as of January
>>>> 2013 (among the responsibilities such as mentioned in this email
>>>> [taxes,
>>>> IRS, non/profit status, financial institutions etc.], his/her main
>>>> responsibility will be a monthly financial report submitted to the
>>>> Board, preferably as short as one side of a page)
>>>> - create a taxable subsidiary
>>>>
>>>> I think this would lesson the load on our great (yet small) pool of
>>>> OSGeo volunteers, and at the same time let us continue with the
>>>> sponsorship program (and hopefully expand it someday).
>>> Jeff,
>>>
>>> Are you suggesting then that we aim for 501c3 status which implies
>>> at least on paper narrowing our focus to educational goals?
>>>
>>> I believe that the responsibilities you are describing go well
>>> beyond that of a bookkeeper and so the pay would be substantially
>>> more than just for bookkeeping.  I imagine someone with more business
>>> experience than me should comment.
>>>
>>> Best regards,
>> _______________________________________________
>> Board mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/board
>
>


--
Daniel Morissette
http://www.mapgears.com/
Provider of Professional MapServer Support since 2000

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Re: OSGeo vs 501c3 status - inpur required

Daniel Morissette
Actually, thinking about the accounting fees again, given the very small
number of transactions that we have at the moment, we'd probbaly be
looking at the low end of the numbers that I have thrown. So ~5k$/year
for just the foundation as it is today, and maybe add 2-3k$ if you
create a taxable subsidiary that has a bit of activity in it.



On 12-11-12 10:33 AM, Daniel Morissette wrote:

> I agree with Jeff that we are spinning our wheels and should use a
> professional to manage our finances.
>
> Based on my experience managing Mapgears (inc) and OSGEO-QUEBEC
> (non-profit) using an external accounting firm for the book keeping and
> financials, it should be in the range of 300-500$/month for the monthly
> book keeping tasks, and 1000-1500$ for the year end financial statements
> and tax filing. If you add a second corporation (taxable subsidiary)
> then you add a few hundred to both numbers. That's where my previous
> 5-10k$ figure comes from.
>
> Getting a preliminary finance snapshots to the board every 3 months
> would likely be enough and keep costs more reasonable (i.e. monthly may
> be a bit much).
>
> The budgetting and financial planning task, as well as invoicing and
> cashing checks would remain with the treasurer. This would insure
> separation of tasks (and accounts verification) between the treasurer
> and a third party and prevent potential for fraud.
>
> I would have gone for that already... I just don't know any US-based
> accountant with experience in nonprofits, so once again I invite our US
> based membership to send me references if you have any.
>
> Daniel
>
>
> On 12-11-11 2:53 PM, Cameron Shorter wrote:
>> Jeff,
>> I'd be wanting to see your proposal fleshed out into specifics before
>> I'd be likely to be convinced.
>> Ie, specify specifically what a paid role is expected to do. Estimate
>> how much time/cost that will take. Establish what value it will bring to
>> the OSGeo Foundation. Then we can assess the expected return on
>> investment.
>>
>> At the moment, I'm still in favour of OSGeo act as a light weight
>> organisation.
>> I do also note that a relationship with Eclipse/LocationTech will has
>> the potential to address the financial management requirements we are
>> considering.
>>
>> On 12/11/12 01:11, Jeff McKenna wrote:
>>> Frank,
>>>
>>> I just feel it's time to "bring in the heavies", a funded person (if we
>>> can budget something like $1,000 per month) to manage this.  I sit on a
>>> provincial board that does that, hires an accountant, and yet that Board
>>> doesn't have the international issues that we have here.  I feel we are
>>> spinning wheels, working very hard to figure this out, but we are out of
>>> our "wheelhouse".
>>>
>>> I guess my comments/feelings are too general for your questions.
>>>
>>> -jeff
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On 12-11-10 11:39 PM, Frank Warmerdam wrote:
>>>> On 12-11-10 01:32 PM, Jeff McKenna wrote:
>>>>> For what it's worth, here are my feelings briefly:
>>>>>
>>>>> - keep the project sponsorship program
>>>>> - hire a professional bookkeeper to manage the financials as of
>>>>> January
>>>>> 2013 (among the responsibilities such as mentioned in this email
>>>>> [taxes,
>>>>> IRS, non/profit status, financial institutions etc.], his/her main
>>>>> responsibility will be a monthly financial report submitted to the
>>>>> Board, preferably as short as one side of a page)
>>>>> - create a taxable subsidiary
>>>>>
>>>>> I think this would lesson the load on our great (yet small) pool of
>>>>> OSGeo volunteers, and at the same time let us continue with the
>>>>> sponsorship program (and hopefully expand it someday).
>>>> Jeff,
>>>>
>>>> Are you suggesting then that we aim for 501c3 status which implies
>>>> at least on paper narrowing our focus to educational goals?
>>>>
>>>> I believe that the responsibilities you are describing go well
>>>> beyond that of a bookkeeper and so the pay would be substantially
>>>> more than just for bookkeeping.  I imagine someone with more business
>>>> experience than me should comment.
>>>>
>>>> Best regards,
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Board mailing list
>>> [hidden email]
>>> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/board
>>
>>
>
>


--
Daniel Morissette
http://www.mapgears.com/
Provider of Professional MapServer Support since 2000

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Re: OSGeo vs 501c3 status - inpur required

Brian M Hamlin
In reply to this post by Daniel Morissette
Members of the Board of Directors, OSGeo

  in thinking about this a bit, it seems to me that more questions
arise than answers ...
If this decision does involve some amount of finality, then all the
more reason to answer carefully.
I don't understand this deadline - who set it, why it is, what are the
alternatives if not ..

On Fri, 09 Nov 2012 15:44:42 -0500, Daniel Morissette
<[hidden email]> wrote:
Board,

> "Do we want to maintain the project sponsorship program and setup a
> taxable subsidiary for it, or do we drop the project sponsorship
> program completely?"
>
>  ......... 
>
> Unless I hear back from other board members with a strong position
> one way or the other, I am planning to continue trying to qualify as
> a 501c3 foundation with a taxable subsidiary for the project
> sponsorship program and whatever other taxable activity we may have
> in the future.
>

  It seems to me that confining the whole of "OSGeo" and/or "OSGeo US"
to solely educational mission is badly flawed..
The potential scope of OSGeo participation and activity is much larger
than that, now in fact, and in the future potentially.

 How about..
   form a 501c(3) that is "OSGeo Education - US" or somesuch.. put
the smaller box further down the chart, not at the top.

--
Brian Hamlin
OSGeo Califoria Chapter
[hidden email]
415-717-4462 cell


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Re: OSGeo vs 501c3 status - inpur required

Daniel Morissette
On 12-11-12 8:02 PM, [hidden email] wrote:
> Members of the Board of Directors, OSGeo
>
>    in thinking about this a bit, it seems to me that more questions
> arise than answers ... If this decision does involve some amount of
> finality, then all the more reason to answer carefully. I don't
> understand this deadline - who set it, why it is, what are the
> alternatives if not ..


The IRS got back to us in September with some questions about our
application, and a deadline to respond otherwise our application for
non-profit status will automatically be rejected. We have requested two
extensions so far, so we will need to respond soon. That's where the
deadline comes from.

The IRS questions and alternatives have been discussed in a few threads
on the board list in the last few weeks so you can find all the info
there. Unfortunately the threads quickly get buried under more questions
than answers as you wrote.


The options currently on the table are:

A- A non-profit 501c3 foundation with a focus on education with a new
taxable subsidiary to handle the project sponsorship program and any
other taxable activity that won't belong in the 501c3.

B- A non-profit 501c3 foundation with the educational focus, and drop
completely the project sponsorship program and any other taxable
activities (restricting ourselves to non-profit educational
activities)... note that a conference like FOSS4G, other than for the
(minor) sponsor advertizing aspect that comes with it, is a guenuine
educational activity, so that should not be a problem

C- If we don't respond then I guess we'll be treated as a taxable
corporation by default (this is my guess, not verified)... note that if
our goal is not to make profits and manage our finances accordingly then
we probably don't pay much taxes, but once again those are my guesses
and would remain to be verified


My pref is to go for A if there is an interest in growing the project
sponsorship program, or otherwise B if the majority decides to go for a
leaner organization which is essentially a federation of projects with
FOSS4G conference and other educational activities.

Daniel
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Re: OSGeo vs 501c3 status - inpur required

Mark Lucas
My preference would be to go for B.  For profit project funding seems to be a tax liability and we should avoid it.  There are other mechanisms available for projects that want to accept funding - maybe Location Intelligence, sub contracting or consulting directly with the funding organization.  

Mark

On Nov 13, 2012, at 10:39 AM, Daniel Morissette <[hidden email]> wrote:

On 12-11-12 8:02 PM, [hidden email] wrote:
Members of the Board of Directors, OSGeo

  in thinking about this a bit, it seems to me that more questions
arise than answers ... If this decision does involve some amount of
finality, then all the more reason to answer carefully. I don't
understand this deadline - who set it, why it is, what are the
alternatives if not ..


The IRS got back to us in September with some questions about our application, and a deadline to respond otherwise our application for non-profit status will automatically be rejected. We have requested two extensions so far, so we will need to respond soon. That's where the deadline comes from.

The IRS questions and alternatives have been discussed in a few threads on the board list in the last few weeks so you can find all the info there. Unfortunately the threads quickly get buried under more questions than answers as you wrote.


The options currently on the table are:

A- A non-profit 501c3 foundation with a focus on education with a new taxable subsidiary to handle the project sponsorship program and any other taxable activity that won't belong in the 501c3.

B- A non-profit 501c3 foundation with the educational focus, and drop completely the project sponsorship program and any other taxable activities (restricting ourselves to non-profit educational activities)... note that a conference like FOSS4G, other than for the (minor) sponsor advertizing aspect that comes with it, is a guenuine educational activity, so that should not be a problem

C- If we don't respond then I guess we'll be treated as a taxable corporation by default (this is my guess, not verified)... note that if our goal is not to make profits and manage our finances accordingly then we probably don't pay much taxes, but once again those are my guesses and would remain to be verified


My pref is to go for A if there is an interest in growing the project sponsorship program, or otherwise B if the majority decides to go for a leaner organization which is essentially a federation of projects with FOSS4G conference and other educational activities.

Daniel
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Re: OSGeo vs 501c3 status - inpur required

Markus Neteler
On Tue, Nov 13, 2012 at 10:02 PM,  <[hidden email]> wrote:
> My preference would be to go for B.  For profit project funding seems to be
> a tax liability and we should avoid it.  There are other mechanisms
> available for projects that want to accept funding - maybe Location
> Intelligence, sub contracting or consulting directly with the funding
> organization.

Mark,

I would be interested to learn more about these possibilities, keeping in
mind that we operate internationally (say, donor of country A wants to
sponsor a GRASS GIS Community Sprint in country B, or, donor of
country C want to have something implemented but not to have to deal
with direct contracts with the selected programmer living in a different
country). This are the common problems we have at least... so my hope
is that OSGeo would be the financial "hub".

Markus
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Re: OSGeo vs 501c3 status - inpur required

Jachym Cepicky
In reply to this post by Daniel Morissette
Board and others,

I'm thinking about this whole issue and it raised several questions in
my mind.

Correct me, if I'm wrong, but everything started back in 2006, when
(among others) US-based company (Autodesk) together with mainly US based
developers (MapServer) formed US-based foundation, which was called
after some discussions OSGeo. As such, it must fit somehow into US law.

Back in 2006, there were no OSGeo chapters. Now there are some, even
with formal structures as legal entities in their states. Situation has
changed a bit.

We should find a way, how to fulfil our goals [1], this discussion is
mainly about:

* To provide resources for foundation projects - eg. infrastructure,
funding, legal.
* To promote the use of open source software in the geospatial industry
(not just foundation software) - eg. PR, training, outreach.
* To operate an annual OSGeo Conference, possibly in cooperation with
related efforts (eg. EOGEO).

(I see no legal problem with other points, whatever status OSGeo should
have).

I'm certainly not the one, who would have clear idea about international
law but also (US) national law, regarding global non-profit foundations.
I'm also not the one, who would break things, which are working. But
when we face the limits of the current status of OSGeo global, maybe
there would be time to try another status? As Arnulf already pointed out
[2] in his blog UN is not that far off (I really do not think, that UN
as organization would have somehow more simple bureaucracy than US (not
speaking about EU), but maybe there would be a gap for OSGeo global?).

One of the most complicated tasks (from legal point of view) of OSGeo
would be "redistribution of money" - from sponsors (donors or how they
should be called) to projects (as Markus pointed out). This task is to
be solved, luckily, I do not see any rush in the moment. I see the role
here for local chapters, as well as coordination with LocationTech.

As result, to make things solved fast (because of the time pressure we
are right now, as Daniel already pointed out), I would vote at the
moment for "to try to qualify as 501c3 without the sponsorship program"
(to make things clean from the legal point of view) and try to find a
solution for our financial role (project sponsorship, organization of
FOSS4G and others) - either via legal local chapters, or via helping
organizations (LocationTech) or via forming a taxable subsidiary (I'm
not strictly against it, but "first things first"). Possibly change
status of OSGeo global and take it somehow out from US law system (but
as I said, I do not have clear idea about it), if it would be considered
as helpful.

Just for the record

Jachym


[1] http://www.osgeo.org/content/foundation/about.html
[2] http://arnulf.us/sevendipity/archives/56-Go-OSGeo,-go!.html

Dne 9.11.2012 21:44, Daniel Morissette napsal(a):

> Board,
>
> Maybe my mail from yesterday was too long and you missed the question
> targeted at you. So just in case here it comes again, and please let me
> know what your preference is if you have one, or if you don't know then
> it's okay to say so, but at least acknowledge that you read this email.
>
> Our deadline to respond to the IRS is next week. I'll try to get another
> extension from them, but we need to make a decision on which way we go
> soon in order to craft a response.
>
> So the question we need to ask ourselves now is:
>
> "Do we want to maintain the project sponsorship program and setup a
> taxable subsidiary for it, or do we drop the project sponsorship program
> completely?"
>
> I think the taxable subsidiary is manageable, but to justify it, we'd
> need to put more efforts in the project sponsorship program since at
> this time it is mostly dormant. (OpenLayers and GRASS are interested but
> I've kept them on hold, and GDAL is... well, quiet)
>
>
> Unless I hear back from other board members with a strong position one
> way or the other, I am planning to continue trying to qualify as a 501c3
> foundation with a taxable subsidiary for the project sponsorship program
> and whatever other taxable activity we may have in the future.
>
>
> Daniel
> _______________________________________________
> Board mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/board
--
Jachym Cepicky
Help Service - Remote Sensing s.r.o.
[hidden email]
HS-RS: [hidden email] http://bnhelp.cz
http://les-ejk.cz


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