Discussion started last year about moving the US-based Hildon Foundation non-profit operations to Europe. After a positive reception to the initial proposal, some further planning by the community, and a lot of foot work, work is progressing on setting up a German e.V. (which was selected due to limited options available in Europe).
The move serves several purposes:
- It gets us out from under the cost and regulatory burdens of operating in the US. The US is expensive and difficult to operate in for small non-profits. Taxes and regulations from two major entities: the US Federal Government and the State of Pennsylvania (where the Hildon Foundation is registered), which both require annual paperwork be submitted on the fiscal operations of the entity, are expensive and time-consuming for an all-volunteer operation funded by donations.
- It brings the major operations of maemo.org all within a single regulatory environment. The operations of maemo.org are almost exclusively hosted at IPHH in Germany, bringing the organizational stewardship into the Euro-zone reduces the number of regulator issues which must be understood and dealt with by the foundation.
- Finally, it eliminates the large overhead involved with international money transfers. The hardware for maemo.org is hosted at IPHH (many thanks to them) in Germany, and with the billing currency in Euros, each transfer of the annual hosting-fee costs about $40 instead of the few cents it would cost wiring it from within the SEPA-Zone. Payments for hardware purchases, and other invoices are almost all going to entities in Europe, so eliminating the currency exchange overhead will significantly reduce costs for the continued operation of maemo.org.
The Hildon Foundation assets will need to be transferred to the new e.V. once its legal registration is completed. The Hildon Foundation will then be dissolved. This is slightly complicated by the aforementioned regulatory burdens in the US, but will hopefully be finalized by the end of the third quarter of this year. In terms of obligations, responsibilities and relationship to the community, this move has no effect: it is purely a technical measure to allow the Foundation to better manage the community’s assets.