[Noisebridge-board] Hologlyphics Grant info for Board

Andy Isaacson adi at hexapodia.org
Wed Nov 26 15:34:54 PST 2008


On Wed, Nov 26, 2008 at 05:43:32PM +0000, Walter Funk wrote:
> Andy asked me to send info along about thefunder, he wants to asses if
> there will be any sticky legal issues forNoisebridge.Last night at the
> meeting there wasconsensus to move forward on this project if a
> noisebridge person would offerto be a point person, Mitch Altman said
> he would be the point person.
[snip]
> http://www.creativeworkfund.org/modern/apply.html
> http://www.creativeworkfund.org/modern/howtoapply.html

Walter,

Thanks very much for sending this information along.

To reiterate, I think Hologlyphics is a fascinating project and I wholly
support having a hologlyphics project at Noisebridge.

To my mind, the ideal way for Noisebridge to facilitate the
Hologlyphics project is for any interested collaborators to become
members of Noisebridge, to collaborate with others in the space, and to
either self-finance or solicit donations towards materials from outside.
This is the method that's being used for RepRap and several other
projects at Noisebridge.  It does not depend on external grants nor
impose the overhead of the grant process.

I have several concerns about what the CWF (Creative Work Fund) proposal
process would mean for Noisebridge.

My reading of this material indicates that if the Letter of Inquiry is
accepted and the project were selected to provide a detailed proposal,
preparing the proposal would require Noisebridge to provide a
significant amount of information: "Full proposals, due June 3, 2009,
include documentation illustrating the quality of the artist's work,
detailed budgets, and additional background information about the
organizations."  This means several dozen hours of effort by Noisebridge
members.

If Noisebridge agreed to sign the Letter of Inquiry and then failed to
perform the necessary work to complete the Full Proposal, the artist
would, I'm afraid, have a completely reasonable claim of action against
Noisebridge for the loss of earning potential.  Were this to go to court
Noisebridge would probably be found partially liable for the loss.  The
artist could, I suppose, agree to indemnify Noisebridge for all
potential losses in regards this grant.

I am uncomfortable having Noisebridge agree to pursue this grant, given
that we do not have a significant grant-raising track record, have no
interest in pursuing grants on our own, are not interested in building a
grant-pursuing organization, have no established means to compensate
people for work done on grantwriting, and have no need for grants to
cover our expenses.  Note that in this case, "Grants will be awarded to
collaborating 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organizations, not directly to
collaborating artists."  So we'd also have to build a structure to
disburse the grant, and deal with reporting requirements.

In my mind, in order for Noisebridge to pursue a grant proposal like
this we'd need

1. a specific member (or members) to step up with a promise to do all
the work necessary to complete the grant proposal.  THIS IS A NONTRIVIAL
AMOUNT OF (really boring) WORK.  IT MAY BE IMPOSSIBLE.  OTHER MEMBERS
MAY DECLINE TO HELP EVEN THOUGH YOU'VE SPENT HUNDREDS OF HOURS AND IT
WOULD ONLY TAKE THEM 10 MINUTES.

2. the collaborator to agree to take on all legal liability (including
indemnifying Noisebridge for all legal expenses connected to any action
arising from the grant process, including for nonperformance,
nonpayment, tardiness, et cetera), and to pay for Carol (our lawyer) to
draft an agreement to that effect.

I could be convinced that the legalese is not necessary, but once money
gets involved I get *MUCH* more cautious.  It'd take a lot of
convincing.


Please feel free to try to convince me -- and of course, I'm not the
only decisionmaker here; if the consensus is that the issues are
sufficiently addressed, I'm fine with that.

Ways to *not* convince me:
 * focus on the fiscal return to Noisebridge
 * talk about building a more heavyweight structure than we have
 * talk about outsourcing the overhead to an outside org

Thanks,
-andy


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