[hackerspaces] Finding Donors

Will Bradley will at heatsynclabs.org
Wed Nov 23 18:38:43 CET 2011

It's typically petty stuff. For example a non-hacker might feel slighted
and looks for excuses to sue, like safety (despite them perhaps being a
hazard to themselves.)

There may still be legalities with the owner of equipment. Not to mention,
do you have a lawyer-approved contract with the owner? If not, you might
actually be in worse shape because all sorts of things can be concocted.

I wouldn't worry too much about lawsuits, personally. Worry about safety,
maybe insurance (accidents WILL happen), and security (theft WILL happen)
but doing the right thing should make lawsuits an empty threat. So warning
signs, liability waivers, etc.

I'm not a lawyer but it's pretty easy to argue that a hackerspace itself is
educational by nature of the skills one can gain there. You need to spend a
certain percentage of your income on "programs" to stay cool with the IRS,
but I'm pretty sure purchase of a lathe would count whereas toilet paper
might not. When the space itself is educational, even your rent may count.
Plus you'll likely teach classes anyway at some point. Also consider that
any large donors could essentially pay for an instructor or classes
coordinator. Again I'm not speaking authoritatively in any of these posts,
consult a nonprofit lawyer or Space Federation and decide what's best for
you. If it's just you and 10 friends you're in a different situation than
the 50+ members and open doors of HeatSync.
On Nov 23, 2011 6:19 AM, "Ron Bean" <makerspace at rbean.users.panix.com>

> Will Bradley <will at heatsynclabs.org> writes:
> >One last perk is that only a real bastard would slight a 501c3
> >educational nonprofit; various people have threatened to sue us and
> >the whole community just stares at them like they're insane.
> What kinds of issues have you had that would lead people to threaten a
> lawsuit?
> BTW MilwaukeeMakerspace does not own any assets, all of our equipment is
> leased from members for $1/year. A lawsuit might put us out of business,
> but the plaintif wouldn't get anything out of it.
> Part of what has kept us from pursuing 501c3 status is the requirement
> to maintain an educational program. We do a bit of that here and there,
> but a full program would take too much time and effort away from our own
> projects.
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
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