[hackerspaces] 501c3 and hackerspaces in the US

Buddy Smith buddy.smith at ieee.org
Thu Jul 5 23:51:26 CEST 2012

On Thu, Jul 5, 2012 at 5:43 PM, James Carlson <james at schoolfactory.org> wrote:
> "One of the arguments being put forth is that members must not work on
> individual projects, because that would be a benefit to the member
> versus the public, and somehow violate the 501c3 rules."
> I'm sure this isn't the case. The organization's mission in general is to
> enable the members to do this. If the member's activity is 'operating a
> sweat shop' and a huge portion of the 501c3 organization's resources are
> devoted to this, the IRS will look askance because of the revenue being
> generated by the sweat shop _using_ the non-profit will go to a private
> source. That'll be a problem.
> For 10 years we have operated a 501c3 hackerspace (and share our 501c3 with
> 38 other spaces at present) and have enabled the creation and formation of
> over 100 for- and non-profit companies, 1000s of products, art projects, and
> anything our members could dream up. The IRS has been over and through our
> content and finances, and never thrown a flag over this.
> It's a great conversation to start and have!

Hi James,

Thanks for your clarification on this. Our hackerspace is actually a
member? partner? I'm not sure of the correct term... of School
Factory. I'm working on setting up a call with you guys and our
officers/board to help clear some of this up.

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