Lessig Explains Why the Creative Commons Urgently Needs Donations

In a posting on Lessig Blog yesterday, Lawrence Lessing explains in more detail why donations are still needed by the Creative Commons by December 31st. As I write this, the CC is within $10,000 of its goal. Quote:

(1) Where’d you get the goal of $225,000?

To understand this, you need to know something about the "public support test" that is part of the IRS review all tax-exempt non-profits suffer after 4 years of life. That test essentially asks, how diverse is your funding support. If most of your support comes from a few foundations, then there’s a risk you’ll lose your tax exempt status. I let this issue remain unresolved for too long. But this is the year the numbers will be calculated, and hence the push right now.

When we saw how much we needed to raise to pass the test, we divided up areas of support. The $225,000 is the amount we absolutely must raise from a general public appeal. If we meet that, and the other goals we’ve also set, then we’re fine.

(2) What happens if we fail this test?

The risk is that we’ll lose our public charity status. That’s critical to us because some foundations are not able to support organizations without a public charity status. And however fantastic the support from the public has been so far, we still absolutely must continue to get foundation support.

Lessing also explains in some detail how the raised funds will be used.

You can give at: