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Findings of the FotSC on the topic of corporate structure

  • This committee finds that Cooperative Principles are more in line with the future goals of the hackerspace than its existing corporate structure.
  • The committee recommends that the board pursue re-incorporation of the LLC and its assets into the cooperative model per research here and below
  • The committee further finds that Charitable 501(c)3 status is a desirable possibility pending member support
  • Finally, this committee finds that a Faux-op or expanded LLC may be viable if prior recommendations fail, but open conversation is imperative

Comparison of options

This document compares the potential structures It may be worth presenting to the membership.

More detailed explanations of these options is available - with experts to tap

Opinions of the Committee members

Among 11 prioritized votes, itemized by Marshall from meeting notes and write-ins.
note: some voters abstained or split their 2nd place and 3rd place votes!
Charity Cooperative Modified LLC
1st 3 8
2nd 4 3 4
3rd 2 2
NC* 1 4
*No Confidence: I cannot rate/do not trust this option


Reasoning for this decision, elaborated here in the minutes

A cogent statement of the majority position:

My primary reason for supporting a co-op model is that the assets of the organization are collectively owned by the membership and governance is done by the membership and by a board of directors elected by the membership. I think that ownership and governance are the key issues that lead to the creation of the FotS committee. We are already run like a co-op on a day-to-day basis. Converting into an official co-op will allow us to fix the issues of the LLC owning all assets and having veto power over the membership, facts which are legally true but mostly irrelevant to the current mode of operations. While I personally have full faith in the good will and trustworthiness of the members of the LLC, I think that giving ownership and governance directly to the membership will resolve the cognitive dissonance that currently exists within the hackerspace. - Brandon Wiley, speaking only of his decision (rather eloquently though, I thought)

Support among coops

Donald Jackson of the Black Star coop had specific details for us,
and offered assistance from Black Star Coop and the association of Austin cooperatives (a nascent think-tank)

Donald outlined the process here: File:Starting Co op.docx

Specific bylaw revisions are hereFile:ATX Hackerspace ByLaws Revisions.docx

This certificate of formation would be used to legally embody the coop File:Certificate of Formation Template.docx

The committee asked for further detail, answered hereFile:Responses to Questions.docx

Cooperatives are receiving expanded recognition, many local resources are available.

Support for charitable action

If the hackerspace wishes to act as a 501(c)3 charity, Fiscal Sponsorship would enable this on a limited basis
Space Federation with The School Factory can provide sponsorship, along with additional legal support.
The Robot Group can also sponsor us, and has extensive technical expertise along with contacts in education.
For legal support, Mitch Altman recommended Carol Gee, a true expert on the topic of charitable hackerspaces.