Software in the Public Interest October 2008

The monthly IRC board meeting of Software in the Public Interest will take place later today, as announced by SPI’s secretary last week. While the announcement is back on time (yay!), the agenda isn’t (aww!).

I’d be quite interested to learn how SPI is going to try to reduce the risk to its reserves, given the current slow decline of its primary bank which is not one of the first US banks getting bailed out. I think the best way for not-for-profits to avoid risking donations at the moment is to avoid having them in their bank accounts, in line with the Better Business Bureau standard that

“the charity’s unrestricted net assets available for use should not be more than three times the size of the past year’s expenses or three times the size of the current year’s budget, whichever is higher.”

Back in June 2005, SPI’s board of the time (Ian Jackson, John Goerzen, Jimmy Kaplowitz, David Graham, Bruce Perens, Benj. Mako Hill, Branden Robinson) decided to “remain noncompliant” with that standard and I fear that chicken could be coming home to roost now. I hope we don’t lose anything, but AIUI we’ve got nearly $150,000 in play.

Update: Unlike its UK analogue, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation covers corporation accounts up to $250,000, so SPI is only risking temporary unavailability, not yet a risk of loss. Thanks to bd_ for pointing me to that.

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