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I am copying a few lists on this, so all teams are informed. *Please* do continue discussion *solely* on the appropriate lists, e.g. website for website related tasks, design for design related tasks and so on, do *not* Cc all the lists when replying. :-)


At the moment, The Document Foundation [1] is no legal entity by itself, but the German non-profit association Deutschland e.V. [2], despite its name, is holding the legal assets, accepts donations, and pays for the infrastructure and other things.

The fact that the Foundation has not been set-up at first place was on purpose, to leave doors to potential contributors open and allow everyone to participate in shaping it. One of the results of this Community process are our Bylaws [3], which will also serve as basis for the Foundation's statutes.

During the last weeks, the Steering Committee [4] of The Document Foundation evaluated various options for setting up the legal entity. In a public Steering Committee Phone Conference [5], the following decision was made:

* The Foundation should be established in Germany in the form of a "Stiftung".

o Foundations have quite a good tradition in Germany, and the benefits in terms of taxes and credibility are high. In addition, the German model provides a high security and stability, as the Foundation's statutes cannot be changed, or at least not in major parts.

o In contrast, a German association would be much easier to set-up, but the majority of the members can easily change the statutes. This is something we want to avoid, in order to provide safety and stability for our users and the whole Community.

o The drawback of a Germany-based Foundation is that we need at least 50.000 € for the capital stock, ideally it is even 100.000 €. That money can not be used for daily work, but needs to stay in the stock. This is required for the safety of a Germany-based model.

* The Steering Committee set itself a deadline for getting the required funds, which will be end of March 2011. If, by that date, we do not have enough Funds in donations, or confirmations by sponsors, the Foundation then can not not be set-up in Germany, but we will rather go for a legal entity in the United Kingdom.

o A legal entity in the UK is not as desirable as in Germany, as in the latter one we have many active members, the roots of the product originally lie here, a lot of support from corporations and governmental bodies is expected. In addition, a German "Stiftung" is generally perceived as something very trustworthy and stable.

o However, if by the end of March 2011, we will not succeed with a Germany-based model, it is unlikely that we will manage it later on, so that deadline is fixed.


In order to achieve our goal, we need to start a fundraising. Perception of The Document Foundation and LibreOffice has been very well, we received lots of supportive words from private end-users, corporations and governmental entities, however, donations in terms of money [6] came in mostly by private users. This has various reasons:

* Getting support in terms of resources from corporations is much easier than getting money.

* Many corporations do not want to invest in the capital stock, but rather in the daily business. However, without a capital stock, a Germany-based Foundation is not possible. This is somehow a chicken-and-egg-problem.

* We did not start an actual fundraising up to now, except a call for donations.

Within the next days, we plan to start a public fundraising, targeted at corporations, governmental entities, as well as private users, in order to collect the needed funds.

After this very long introduction, serving that we're all at the same page, I'm coming to the point. :-)

I have set up a dedicated wiki page for collecting ideas at and would like to encourage all of you to add and contribute ideas. As the deadline is approaching quickly, we need to start acting soon in order to get things up and running, and any help is very much welcome.

In order to have efforts coordinated, please do *not* start working on your own without asking on the lists. We all have been through tough discussions regarding these issues the last weeks, so this one should work more coordinated. :-) If you have an idea, and you can actually work on it, add your name to the wiki. After we decided which fundraising actions to take, we then can start working on it and also involve the press. Again, in order to have the best press coverage, we need to work coordinated.

Thanks a lot to all of you for your help in this next important step of our journey!



Florian Effenberger <>
Steering Committee and Founding Member of The Document Foundation
Tel: +49 8341 99660880 | Mobile: +49 151 14424108
Skype: floeff | Twitter/ @floeff

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