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You are here: Home Blogs Community Key charities that advance software freedom are worthy of your urgent support

Key charities that advance software freedom are worthy of your urgent support

by Bradley M. Kuhn Contributions Published on Jan 26, 2016 11:14 AM
In this blog post, Bradley discusses his years of work for both the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and Software Freedom Conservancy and explains why your donations, before the January 31st fundraising deadlines for both charities, are essential and urgent. He asks you today to become both a a Supporter of Conservancy and an Associate Member of the FSF before the fundraising deadlines of January 31st.

I've had the pleasure and the privilege, for the last 20 years, to be either a volunteer or employee of the two most important organizations for the advancement of software freedom and users' rights to copy, share, modify and redistribute software. In 1996, I began volunteering for the FSF and worked as its Executive Director from 2001–2005. I continued as a volunteer for the FSF since then, and now serve as a volunteer on FSF's Board of Directors. I was also one of the first volunteers for Software Freedom Conservancy when we founded it in 2006, and I was the primary person doing the work of the organization as a volunteer from 2006–2010. I've enjoyed having a day job as a Conservancy employee since 2011.

These two organizations have been the center of my life's work. Between them, I typically spend 50–80 hours every single week doing a mix of paid and volunteer work. Both my hobby and my career are advancing software freedom.

I choose to give my time and work to these organizations because they provide the infrastructure that make my work possible. The free software community has shown that the work of many individuals, who care deeply about a cause but cooperate together toward a common goal, has an impact greater than any individuals can ever have working separately. The same is often true for cooperating organizations: charities, like Conservancy and the FSF, that work together with each other amplify their impact beyond the expected.

Both Conservancy and the FSF pursue specific and differing approaches and methods to the advancement of software freedom. The FSF is an advocacy organization that raises awareness about key issues that impact the future of users' freedoms and rights, and finds volunteers and pays staff to advocate about these issues. Conservancy is a fiscal sponsor, which means one of our key activities is operational work, meeting the logistical and organizational needs of volunteers so they can focus on the production of great free software and free documentation. Meanwhile, both Conservancy and FSF dedicate themselves to sponsoring software projects: the FSF through the GNU Project, and Conservancy through its member projects. And, most importantly, both charities stand up for the rights of users by enforcing and defending copyleft licenses such as the GNU General Public License (GPL).

Conservancy and the FSF show in concrete terms that two charities can work together to increase their impact. Last year, our organizations collaborated on many projects, such as the proposed FCC rule changes for wireless devices, jointly handled a GPL enforcement action against Canonical, Ltd., published the principles of community-oriented GPL enforcement, and continued our collaboration on copyleft.org. We're already discussing lots of ways that the two organizations can work together in 2016!

I'm proud to give so much of my time and energy to both these excellent organizations. But, I also give my money as well: I was the first person in history to become an Associate Member of the FSF (back in November 2002), and have gladly paid my monthly dues since then. Today, I also signed up as an annual Supporter of Conservancy, because I want to ensure that Conservancy meets its current pledge match — the next 215 Supporters who sign up before January 31st will double their donation via the match.

For just US$20 each month, you make sure the excellent work of both these organizations can continue. This is quite a deal: if you are an employed, University-educated professional living in the industrialized world, US$20 is probably the same amount you'd easily spend on a meals at restaurants or other luxuries. Isn't it even a better luxury to know that these two organizations can have a years' worth of effort of standing up for your software freedom in 2016? You can make the real difference by making your charitable contribution to these two organizations today:

Please don't wait: both fundraising deadlines are just five days away!

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