On Dec 19, 2012, at 6:49 PM, James Alexander wrote:
On Wed, Dec 19, 2012 at 4:41 PM, Michael C. Berch <email@example.com>
There are no legal or financial stakes, the issue of "municipalities" is an irrelevant triviality, and it just serves to annoy people.
Michael C. Berch
There most certainly are legal and financial stakes. An incorporated organization costs a not insignificant amount of resources and cash to maintain even before they do anything at all. This is especially true when you are spanning multiple diverse jurisdictions (such as states or countries) and have to know at least some of the laws of each. I don't think towns/cities are a major problem. I'm sure it will be an added wrinkle given that the jurisdiction overlaps the foundations offices itself.
I can't speak to jurisdictions outside the U.S., but I have a fair amount of experience and expertise with respect to both business and nonprofit entities in the U.S. I have formed and advised a number of both as an attorney, and I can assure you that there are no problems in operating a 501(c)(3) organization (or similar) that operates in multiple or overlapping states, counties, or municipalities. It is also not particularly necessary that a "chapter" or "affiliate" of a national or global nonprofit (like Wikimedia Foundation) be, itself, an incorporated entity. (The Board of Directors may specify that as a requirement, but it is not a legal one.)
Inexperienced organizations often "over-organize" when it comes to local chapters and affiliates, drawing precise geographical jurisdictional lines or requiring that the affiliates represent some particular level of subnational entities. There are a number of reasons why this happens, including intra-organizational politics and misunderstanding of legal issues. It is almost never a good idea, and as we see, generates unneeded conflicts.
Michael C. Berch