On Dec 19, 2012, at 6:49 PM, James Alexander wrote:
> On Wed, Dec 19, 2012 at 4:41 PM, Michael C. Berch <m...@postmodern.com> wrote:
>  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
> User:MCB
> m...@postmodern.com
> 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

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