OpenAFS Foundation Tasks

The OpenAFS Foundation, Inc., assists OpenAFS users and OpenAFS developers by handling all matters other than software development and documentation, so the developers can focus on what they do best: maximizing the utilization of OpenAFS technology and improving the software for the public good, repectively.

Those familiar with non-profit terminology will recognize most of The Foundation's services as "fiscal sponsorship services." This term is not particularly well known in the OpenAFS community, and many are confused by that term. However, if you are familiar with what a fiscal sponsor typically does in the non-profit sector, the term does fit many of the services that The Foundation provides for members of the OpenAFS community. To clarify, we offer the following service descriptions:

Tax-Deductible, Earmarked Donations

OpenAFS can receive earmarked donations through The OpenAFS Foundation, Inc. Since The Foundation has been granted 501(c)(3) charity status on the Federal level by the IRS, donors can often deduct the donation on their USA taxes. Additionally, the donors can indicate that their donation should be used to advance a specific purpose and/or project, and those funds will be kept separate and used accordingly.

Like any other tax-exempt organization, The OpenAFS Foundation is limited by retraints the law places on what The Foundation can do with its assets. Usually, the Technical Advisors suggests to the Board of Directors how the funds should be spent wisely and appropriately; yet it is the Board of Directors that ultimately will make all spending decisions. The Foundation spends these funds on OpenAFS's behalf on any expenses that constitute appropriate activity under The Foundation's 501(c)(3) not-for-profit mission. Some typical uses of earmarked donations include, but are not limited to:

funding travel expenses for project developers to attend relevant conferences.
domain name fees, bandwidth costs, and computer equipment purchases.
purchasing media for distribution of OpenAFS software at conferences and events.
paying key developers on a contractual basis to improve the software and its documentation.
sponsoring and organizing OpenAFS conferences.
trademark registration and enforcement.

Asset Stewardship

The OpenAFS Foundation can hold any assets for the OpenAFS project on its behalf. This could include copyrights, trademarks, domain names, physical computer equipment or anything that should be officially held in the name of the OpenAFS project. It is not required that The Foundation hold all assets of the OpenAFS project.

Contract Negotiation and Execution

On occasion, the OpenAFS community needs to negotiate and execute a contract with a company. For example, when the OpenAFS community wants to organize and run a conference, the venue usually has a complicated contract for rental of the space and services. The OpenAFS Foundation assists the OpenAFS community in the negotiation of such contracts, and can sign them on behalf of the community.

Conference Logistical Support

From time to time, the OpenAFS community holds conferences. The Foundation provides logistical support for these conferences, particularly in the area of financial responsibility and liability. The Foundation provides some amount of logistical support for conference in other ways, resources permitting.

Fundraising Assistance

The OpenAFS Foundation will provide various tools and advice for the OpenAFS community on methods of raising funds for their projects' earmarked purposes. This will include The Foundation's obtaining required fundraising permits on the behalf of the OpenAFS community.

Leadership Mentoring, Advice and Guidance

The OpenAFS Foundation's directors are experienced leaders in a variety of areas and arenas. They offer themselves as a resource to OpenAFS community members who need assistance or face challenges in their work, as pertaining to OpenAFS. Furthermore, The Foundation provides and maintains standards for professional, collegial conduct and will assist if and when such conduct is in question or has been breached.