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Re: The future of my involvement with the Octave project

From: John Swensen
Subject: Re: The future of my involvement with the Octave project
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2008 20:52:01 -0500

On Dec 10, 2008, at 2:54 PM, John W. Eaton wrote:

On 26-Oct-2008, address@hidden wrote:

| Now a silly question: will gifts made with the "funding" page of Octave | ( be affected to Octave
| development after Nov. 30th?

Yes, you can still use the UW Foundation page.  The funds will go to
an account of my former supervisor (who worked to secure nearly all
the funding for my work on Octave for the last 16 years) and he said
he will try to get the funding to me by way of some kind of consulting
arrangement.  But I'm not sure whether the university will charge
overhead on that, or what the rate would be if they do.  If it matters
to anyone, I can inquire.

I agree with others who posted in this thread that it might be good to
set up some kind of Octave Foundation that could be used to catch
donations.  With that we could do some things like public donor
recognition that the UW Foundation would not allow us to do.

I could also maybe make a PayPal tip jar available if people just
wanted to throw money directly at me.  :-)


I have spent an evening or two in the last month reading about 501(c) (3) nonprofit organizations and how they are formed. This is the same structure under which the Mozilla Foundation, OSI, and many other open- source projects organized. From what I have read, if someone is willing to do the legwork (and paperwork), a 501(c)(3) can be started for $300 (unless the first year profits/donataions exceed $10000, in which case it would be $750). If someone doesn't have the time but has the funds, I'm sure there are plenty of lawyers out there who specialize in this stuff who could do it for a couple of hours of work. I also wonder if there are other OpenSource foundations out there (e.g. FSF or OSI) that provide legal/accounting services to help start new 501(c)(3) foundations for open source projects.

In summary, there is a lot of up-front paperwork to get registered. Then, there are semi-annual board meetings that *must* be held and appropriate minutes, action items, etc. recorded. Finally, there is a year end report that must be filed with the IRS. All things considered, it seemed less daunting that I though it would be, but wanted to see what others thought concerning a nonprofit foundation for Octave.

Everything I learned was from the following book

John Swensen

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