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You are here: Home Blogs Community A message from FSF president Geoff Knauth: Will you support user freedom by helping to reach our membership goal?

A message from FSF president Geoff Knauth: Will you support user freedom by helping to reach our membership goal?

by Geoff Knauth Contributions Published on Dec 30, 2021 03:35 PM

This year end, we are focusing on growing the community further, with a goal of gaining 500 new associate members before January 20. We need your support to reach—and hopefully exceed—this goal. The more associate members we can count, the better equipped we are to defend #UserFreedom, and educate people about its importance. Below is a message from our president, Geoffrey Knauth, reflecting on the FSF's mission to protect software users everywhere.

US government recognized that many charities continued to struggle in 2021 and donations for many are down. Special changes in law impacting charitable contributions and deductions remain in effect until Dec. 31, 2021, and deduction of cash donations is now possible for donations up to USD 300 (USD 600 if you're married), even if not itemized, making your FSF associate membership tax deductible for this year.

Since its founding, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and thousands of volunteers have worked hard to make computing safe for users, liberating them to learn the best of the arts of computer science from each other and to share freely their creations, while protecting users from exploitative licenses and intrusions of governments and corporations that put their interests ahead of your computing freedom.

In 2021, it became very clear that people in the free software community care deeply about the values enshrined in the FSF mission and the four freedoms. And this level of engagement requires improved governance from the Board of Directors in the form of visibility in our decision-making, and mechanisms that encourage members to discuss and advance candidates for selection to the board. The structure up to now has been too opaque. Consequently, the board has worked very hard this year with outside experts to bring FSF associate members more transparency and give them a voice in governance going forward. Besides what we've already announced, more details will be coming soon.

In anticipation of the release of a formal process for proposing board candidates, you can already start to think about people in the free software community whom you admire and why. Ask them if they would like to be part of the future governance of the FSF. If those people are interested, FSF associate members will be able to nominate them. We must do this now, so that the Foundation can continue to protect computer users' freedom far into the future.

Imagine a world in which only governments and corporations have a say in how you, the individual, use your own computer. I don't think you want that particularly limited future for yourself or your children. The FSF helps give voice to the individual who wants protection in the form of rights, status, and freedom in computing. We rely on your participation and support.

In the spirit of holiday cheer, doing something for software freedom can be as small as voicing your support for someone, or a group of people, who have made your life better through a software package they developed. Consider starting the new year by sending them some cheer via a thank you note for the work they do.

As 2021 comes to a close, please also consider supporting the FSF, so that our hard-working and dedicated staff may continue the work they do behind the scenes to secure freedom-preserving infrastructure, develop and promote advocacy, and deliver services to you. Along with the developers of free software, our staff are often the unsung heroes. They are dedicated, smart, wise and considerate. I wish them a free and Happy New Year just as much as I do you.

Be well and be free,

Geoff Knauth

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