Gentoo Foundation Inc. Presidents Report for year April 2008 to March 2009
When the board was elected in March 2008 we knew we were taking over control of a foundation that had fallen into bad standing and that there was a lot of work to do to fix that. Of the five elected trustees, two advised in their election manifestos that they didn't really have time or want to do the job – they were still elected and made useful contributions before they retired before the end of their terms of office.
During the year, we have appointed a registered agent in New Mexico, restored the foundation to good standing, adopted bylaws, established a bank account and recruited our first non-developer, non-trustee officer. Although he soon became a developer and in the recent election, was elected a trustee. With the help of previous trustees we have also taken over the relationship with our previous US copyright and trade mark law firm and engaged the services of a law firm practicing in the field of international copyright and trade marks.
After we took office, it became apparent that many of the records the foundation was supposed to keep to satisfy both its own draft bylaws and its statutory obligations to New Mexico either did not exist or were not available to us.
Past trustees gave us what they had and we have pieced together more from information in the public domain. It quickly became apparent that the Foundation needed some continuity planning. Our Secretary will expand on that point in his report.
The falling into bad standing was not due to neglect by previous office holders. The proper paperwork had been filed but it did not reach the authorities. This left us needing to appoint a registered agent before we could refile as we are required to maintain a presence in New Mexico to register as a not for profit corporation there.
With our good standing restored, we focused on bylaws and a bank account. Much of the draft bylaws were 'boilerplate' text borrowed from other places for other not for-profit corporations. However, they needed to be adapted to the virtual existence of the Gentoo Foundation inc. We are not totally virtual, you may still write to us at the address of our registered agent.
While the above was in progrees, we worked with some of the previous trustees to keep the relationship with the US law firm that looked after our copyright and trademark issues alive. This was successfully accomplished and we were also able to engage another law firm for international copyright and trade make issues. Luckily, these two firms know each other very well and on occasions, work together too.
Establishing a bank account turned out to be harder than we expected. We needed an internet bank that did not require us to have a physical presence in the State where the account would be held and we really didn't want to travel very far to open the account. We had a few false starts before our recent success. Our Treasurer will expand on this.
Following the resignation of tgall both as a trustee and secretary, we recruited to fill the secretary vacancy. Quantumsummers was appointed to the office of secretary (not trustee) and dmwaters was subsequently appointed to the trustee vacancy. In a similar time frame, wltjr resigned as a trustee. Its was obvious before he resigned that he was becoming frustrated by the perceived lack of progress. This vacancy on the board was never filled.
During the year we have established a sound base to build the Gentoo Foundation on. We have access to our funds again so that we can fund activities in line with our articles of incorporation and our charter.
Its still not clear what the long term future of the Gentoo Foundation Inc will be. It is on a reasonably sound footing but keeping trustee posts filled is remaining an issue. We did try to fill the vacancy when wltjr resigned. In the recent elections we had four candidates accept their nomintions. Its clear that opening membership to non developers has helped and we are hopeful we can find more trustee candidates from outside the Gentoo developer pool.
Going forward we need to establish the Gentoo Foundation as a proper Not For Profit business organisation, with a predictable managed income stream, budgets for expenditures and 503(c)(3) registration, which will make donations from organisations easier to obtain. As our income becomes stronger and more predictable, so too can our expenditures and the things we can do to help Gentoo develop.
One thing well up the agenda for the comining year is to reorganise so that the trustees are not also office holders. This will allow the trustees to operate as a board of directors, which is effectively what they are, while office holders do the work at the direction of the trustees. This structure will help with the continuity of the Foundation as office holders are appointed, not elected.
In closing we would like to thank all those who have helped to get us where we are today.
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