Status quo on the Foundation

A lot of people have asked what’s going on with the Foundation, and where we stand exactly. After the successful launch of our fundraising challenge, that brought us the needed 50.000 € capital stock in just amazing eight days, it is clear that the future Foundation will be located within Germany. Still, the Foundation itself does not legally exist yet, and the German nonprofit association is acting as interim legal entity.

What are you doing at the moment? There are several steps involved before the Foundation will finally exist.

First, we are currently translating the community bylaws into a German version that we can hand over to the authorities. During this process, we found some minor issues that we resolved already. The process, however, is not simply about translating a legal document into another language, but it is also about adapting it to fit local law. We do not expect that there’s a need for many changes, but still, some minor edits might be necessary.

The second step then will be to send the changes back to our Steering Committee for final approval, which also involves translating the changes back to English. Given that we do not expect a large modification, this should be a rather straightforward process. However, we consider it important and crucial to review any necessary modification and discuss it with the community, as this will be the basis we will work on in the future, so it should be absolutely clear.

Once we have a final version of the Foundation’s statutes in English and German, that have been adapted to fit German law, we will then as third step evaluate the best German state to set up the Foundation in. Although the law is similar throughout Germany, Foundations have to be approved by the local governments, and the requirements to become approved varies from state to state and the type of Foundation planned. In addition, it is desirable to have someone living near the location where it will be established, to make logistics and communication with the governmental entities easier.

In a fourth step, we plan to discuss the statutes and the idea of our Foundation with all possible states we’ve come up in step three. Ideally, we then already can get the approval. If no state is ready to approve us yet, once again minor changes to the statutes might be necessary.

The fifth and last step will be the formal founding act, by which the Foundation will begin its existence as legal entity.

Aren’t there any votes? What about membership? Indeed, there will be votes. What happens in parallel to the legal paperwork is that we will be voting on a board of directors for the new Foundation, which then will later appoint also officers and other representatives, as set in our bylaws. For the board of directors, a formal vote by the community is important. They should be the ones voting on those who will represent them. In order for that to work, we have compiled a membership committee that soon will start its work. As soon as members have been identified and approved, we will prepare the vote for the future Foundation’s board.

Why does this take so long? Most tasks are done by pure volunteers, which of course limits the amount of time we have per day. In addition, to save money for lawyers and tax consultants, we try to prepare most of the paperwork oursevles. This saves paid time for external professionals, thus leaving us more money to focus on our mission and goals. In addition, setting up a Foundation is way more complicated than having an association, so things naturally take a bit longer.

Talking about money… your fundraising still runs? Didn’t you say you just need 50.000 €? Yes, definitely, any donation is highly welcome, and the challenge website is of course still online. As stated previously, the 50.000 € are required for the capital stock of the future Foundation, but it is money we cannot use for our daily work. Anything coming in on top of those 50.000 € will be directly used for budgets, like infrastructure, marketing, travels, trade show attendance, and of course for exciting new projects. We have compiled a list of questions and answers about the donations and budgets. So far, we already received 90.000 € in donations, giving us a budget of about 40.000 €, which is pretty amazing and exciting! Thank you very much to everyone who supports us!

Will you tell us how you will spend the money? We will pretty soon announce concrete examples and projects we like to fund, naming the exact amount of money needed, so donors know what they are donating for and what their money will do.

How can I donate? You can donate via bank transfer, via PayPal, and from now on also via Flattr. All details are compiled on our challenge website.

When will we see the Foundation, finally? This is probably one of the toughest question, as it depends on a variety of hard-to-predict parameters. My gut feeling tells me that sometime in the second quarter of 2011 will be possible, but do not pin me down on that.


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