This is the proposed agenda for the January 4th, 2005 Board meeting to be held at 19:00 UTC in #spi on irc.spi-inc.org.

  1. Opening
  2. Roll call
    1. No regrets received
  3. President's update (John Goerzen)
  4. Treasurer's report (Jimmy Kaplowitz)
  5. Outstanding minutes (David Graham)
    1. December 7th, 2004
  6. New project membership request: Drupal
  7. Next meeting: February 1st, 2005 (John Goerzen)

Treasurer's report

I have reviewed with great interest the discussion thread about a new
report format for me to use. I will try to adopt some format based on
those suggestions in time for the February report; I have not been able
to do that yet, due to the busy pace of the holiday season and a
lower-than-normal level of access to my computers while on vacation.

Bank balances

As of December 31, 2004, the FirstIB checking account contains
$10,677.01. The only transaction since this account was opened was a $10
maintenance fee, which should more properly apply only to business
accounts and not to nonprofit accounts such as ours. Branden or I will
talk to them about this in an attempt to get the charge reversed.
Hiccups like this are to be expected when an account has just been

The American Express Financial Advisors account only sends statements
quarterly and not monthly, and Branden and I are unaware of any online
account viewing feature associated with that account. Therefore, expect
an update on this account in the Treasurer's report for the February
board meeting. We will look into the existence of any online or
telephone account information system for this account.

Providence PO Box

I checked the Providence PO box twice in December. On December 16, there
was a mail from our Secretary, David Graham, containing my copy of one
of the forms used to open the First IB checking account. In addition to
this, there was a sizable quantity of mostly large envelopes, none of
which contained our name. Some of these simply had our PO Box number
indicated, while others had indicated recipients such as "Receptionist,"
"Human Resources," "Law Office," and "Providence Law Office."

Understandably, I felt that some mistake had been made, and I discussed
this with a postal employee. She determined that there was a law office
which had a mailbox at that post office, and whose box number differed
from ours by only one digit. She and I assumed that they must have made
a typographical error in a job advertisement. The postal employee held
the mail for the law office, none of which had any SPI-related markings
on the envelope, and she said she would contact the law firm to have
them correct their error. I made it clear that we would take any mail
that did turn out to be for us despite appearances.

When I checked the mailbox again on December 21 soon before going on
vacation, the box was empty, so presumably the above mishap got resolved
appropriately. I will check it again shortly after I return to
Providence on the 13th of this month.

Old business

As indicated above, the First IB account got opened and the funds
deposited, with only the minor mishap of an accidental maintenance fee.
Hooray! Branden has also received two ATM/Visa cards associated with the
account, and the corresponding PINs. Unfortunately, mine as well as his
went to the Indianapolis address, but he will send me mine after my
return to Providence.

New business

I have done some investigating into alternative donation solutions,
since there are many limitations of Network for Good. One option worth
considering is ECHO, which is a reputable financial company that will
provide a true merchant account at relatively reasonable rates. We would
be able to process credit cards (the following rates apply to Visa and
Mastercard but other brands are possible too) at a cost of $0.30 per
transaction plus 2.26% of the donation amount, plus a $19.95/month fee
for any months in which we receive donations. Checks can be cleared
through this system too, if we so desire, for $0.30/transaction,
although this is less obviously beneficial. This would include
electronic checks where the user never physically mails us anything but
just enters the info online.

The $19.95 fee is unfortunate, but it would be more than offset by the
additional donations we would receive from international donors who
cannot currently donate to us through Network for Good. (They can donate
in their local currency, and we will receive US dollars after conversion
by the credit card companies.) We can also, for those donors who wish
it, set up recurring donations via periodic charges to their credit
cards. I am not entirely sure whether we would want to recommend going
through ECHO in only some cases and NfG in others, or only ECHO all the

One last benefit is that their gateway is truly open, in that they
provide *GPLed* code to use their processing system in a plethora of
UNIX-friendly programming languages including stalwarts like PHP and
Perl, as well as make available a specification of their gateway
interface for developer use. We can integrate their processing with our
site, or if we prefer we can process through their Merchant America site
for free. (The latter might be the way to go if we don't also want to
purchase a commercial SSL certificate, in the interest of not making our
donors worry about website security.)

A complication is that they require an associated bank account at First
Regional Bank, but we can regularly transfer funds to our First IB
account. There are no charges for this additional account if we make 10
or fewer debits per month, which would be the case if we transfer funds,
say, weekly to First IB. I don't think this is a downside of ECHO, since
all true merchant accounts have a similar requirement due to Visa and
Mastercard rules. After all, it is a merchant _account_, and banks are
often involved in legitimate tools such as that (as opposed to cheap
imitations like PayPal).

Please take a look at the following links and tell me what you think. I
may propose a resolution before or during the meeting (if a resolution
is even necessary for this), or simply gather opinions for a future

General info on their non-profit program, with other FAQs easily linked:

Fee structure for non-profits and more info on accepting donations:

Info on working with their payment gateway:

Gateway tech specs:


( NO resolutions received over the holidays )


Drupal is a free software community project. It is one of the largest Content
Management Systems in its market. Since Drupal has a large userbase and
community the cost to maintain these servers for development and distribution
is increasing. Till now the lead developers of the project used to pay for
this from their own pocket. After a couple of meetings we have decided to
accept donations for this kind of maintenance.

We would like to become an associate member of the SPI Inc. We have already had
a number of meetings with Mako, regarding this.

We would like SPI Inc to help us with.
1. Management of funds
2. Accepting our donations.

We hope you can put this on the agenda of the meeting that is going to take
place on the 4th of January 2005. I will be at the meeting representing the
Drupal community.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Best Regards,
Warren Brian Noronha.
GNU (http://www.gnu.org.in)
Further to our discussion:

 Proposed Resolution 2005-01-04.iwj.1


 1. Drupal is a substantial and significant Free Software project.

 2. The Drupal developers would like SPI to take donations for
    purposes related to Drupal.


 3. Drupal is formally invited to become an SPI Associated Project,
    according to the SPI Framework for Associated Projects,
    SPI Resolution 1998-11-16.iwj.1-amended-2004-08-10.iwj.1,
    a copy of which can be found at

 4. The Drupal Founder and Lead Developer, Dries Buytaert, is
    recognised by SPI as the current authoritative decisionmaker in
    the Drupal project.

 5. This invitation will lapse, if not accepted, 60 days after it
    is approved by the SPI Board.