Lars Aronsson lars at aronsson.se
Thu Mar 30 03:34:15 BST 2006

SteveC wrote:

> And yes, the F stands for foundation.
> [...]
> So, let's build something.

The key issue for me is this: Will it be a closed and dictatorial 
foundation (Stiftung) or an open, transparent and democratic 
membership association (Verein)?  Since you sound so enthusiastic 
over the "F" word, I don't believe we have the same understanding 
of this issue.

If you have a lot of money and want to ensure that it is used for 
a purpose that you alone decide, put the money in a foundation. 
The board of the foundation can appoint its own members, so there 
is no need for democratic influence or control.  Andrew Carnegie, 
Alfred Nobel, Bill Gates, and Jimbo Wales have all gone this way.

If you want a lot of people involved, start a membership 
association.  Anybody can pay a fee and become a member and have a 
vote at the general assembly for who's going to be on the board 
and what to do with the money.  And the board reports back to the 
general assembly.

Both kinds of organizations can ask for donations, so the founding 
capital or the membership fees don't have to make up the whole of 
the economy.  The foundation is the closest thing to the way you 
currently run OSM, all on your own.  I'm not sending any money to 
you now, and I'm not sending any money to a foundation.

  Lars Aronsson (lars at aronsson.se)
  Aronsson Datateknik - http://aronsson.se

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