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Handling assets and donations outside the USA and Germany

At the moment, the way Debian money outside the USA and Germany is
handled is not quite clear or well defined.  In the States, we have
Software in the Public Interest, Inc. (SPI), Debian's legal organization,
which takes care of our main assets and donations.  In Germany (and for
large parts of Europe), ffis (a non-profit that promotes free information
and software) is kindly managing our money and donations for us.

However, in most countries, there are currently no organizations which
play a similar role.  Nevertheless, there are some individuals who
manage and take care of Debian money (usually obtained through donations
at trade shows).  There are unfortunately no good records at the moment
of who keeps Debian money.  This is problematic because we often cannot
use this money efficiently.  Someone in that country might need some
money to organize a Debian event or a booth at a trade show, and while
there is Debian money in the same country, we have to do an expensive
bank transfer from a different country.  Furthermore, having no person or
organization clearly responsible for handling Debian money in a specific
country makes it very hard to accept donations.  I have recently had
contact with a company in New Zealand which wants to make a donation
to Debian but is reluctant to do so because of the high fees associated
with a money transfer to the States.  I have heard similar sentiments
saying that it is hard to make donations to Debian before.

As a first step to solve these problems, we have to clearly identify who
keeps Debian money, what amount, etc.  Therefore, I would like to compile
a list containing this information.  Mako Hill, who is already handling
our hardware donations, has agreed to do this.  Please get in contact with
him at <accountant@debian.org> if you hold any Debian money.

Using the newly compiled list, we can better distribute money when it is
needed for Debian related activities.  Furthermore, we can then evaluate
whether it makes sense in a given country to set up a non-profit
organization to maintain that money or (better) to cooperate with an
existing non-profit organization with similar goals as Debian (for example,
with local FSF chapters or LUGs).  That way, we can also handle donations
to Debian from countries other than USA/Germany much better, and document
the possibility of making donations in those countries on our web site.

Again, if you are holding any Debian money (e.g., from previous trade
shows), please contact him at <accountant@debian.org>.

Martin Michlmayr

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