Thunderbird Reorganization: Summary Plan

Kent James kent at
Thu Sep 11 16:53:11 UTC 2014

On 9/11/2014 1:41 AM, Benjamin Kerensa wrote:
>> >5) Thunderbird to raise income through a direct appeal for donations to our
>> >existing base of approximately ten million daily users, using in-product
>> >means such as the start page. A reasonable target for annual income is
>> >$500,000 per year.
> Do you think Mozilla allow this for legal reasons surrounding Mozilla
> as an organization that being raising funds autonomously? Also who
> would hold these funds and disburse them?
Mozilla already has a mechanism in place for Mozillians to raise income 
independently for projects, see The mechanism in its 
current form is probably not appropriate for Thunderbird (like "no 
campaigns for regular operating funds or ongoing projects" and "Mozilla 
is not able to accept or distribute any funds on behalf of any of the 
approved campaigns"). But the instructions there specifically call out 
compatibility with the Mozilla Manifesto as a prerequisite (as do we), 
and explictly mentions Thunderbird ("We know there are great ideas and 
efforts that the broader community would like to support; like the work 
of ... Thunderbird contributors").

I don't see where our efforts are significantly different than these 
other methods. The Thunderbird start page already has a Contribute 
button after all, though with no promotion. AFAIK any income contributed 
there goes directly to the MoFo general fund.

As to who holds these funds and disburses them, ideally that would be 
the Mozilla Foundation, but that needs negotiation. If that path is not 
available we would probably have to organize a separate US 501c3 
non-profit NGO, which has significant overhead that would be best to avoid.


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