The APNIC Foundation: structure and function

By on 18 May 2016

Categories: Community, Development

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APNIC is establishing the APNIC Foundation to support and expand our “Development Program”, a set of activities which support the healthy growth of the Internet in the Asia Pacific region. In this post, I’ll explain how the Foundation will be structured and how it will function.

For background on APNIC’s Internet development activities, read the first post in this series.

After a review of options, the APNIC EC decided in February 2016 to incorporate the APNIC Foundation Limited in Hong Kong as a limited liability, not-for-profit company.

This incorporation is a relatively straightforward process, to be followed by a more lengthy process of registration as a charity. A charity may be established in Hong Kong for a number of specific purposes, one of these being the “advancement of education”; and the Foundation will serve the following stated objective:

To support Internet development in the Asia Pacific region, though training, education, human capacity building and related projects and activities by fundraising in support of activities delivered by APNIC and partner organizations.

The APNIC Foundation Limited will have a single member, being APNIC itself, although this may increase in the future. The Foundation’s Board of Directors will have between five and 10 members, appointed by the APNIC EC. Aside from corporate governance, the primary function of the Board will be fundraising, with members selected for their abilities in this area.

In addition to the Board, the Foundation will have an Advisory Committee, comprising experts in the Internet and development – these could be technical experts, or experts in education, project management, or policy; and drawn from our diverse APNIC community.

The functions of the Foundation will be, in the first instance, fundraising and administration, to support and expand APNIC’s Development Program. These Foundation activities will be funded by an “administrative overhead” component of funds received, and the actual work that is funded by the Foundation will be carried out by APNIC and by partner organizations, on a project-by-project basis.

Of course, APNIC is already spending Member funds on Internet development. We will continue to do so into the future, but with some of that budget being directed to establishing and incubating the Foundation.

The phases of the Foundation’s first few years are planned as follows:

  1. Establishment
    • APNIC funds the establishment of the Foundation until successful registration as a charity
    • APNIC’s Development Program activities continue as usual within the usual budget.
  2. Incubation (first one-two years after establishment)
    • APNIC funds core “Foundation activities”, namely fundraising and administration
    • APNIC continues to underwrite Development Program projects within the usual budget
    • The Foundation receives financial contributions which cover costs of new development projects
    • “Administrative overhead” portion of received funds is retained.
  3. Operation (when total funds exceed, say, $1m annually)
    • The Foundation employs fundraising and administration resources, funded by Administrative portion of received funds
    • APNIC continues to manage all projects, funded by the Foundation
    • APNIC and partners implement projects, funded by the Foundation
    • APNIC provides services required by the Foundation at cost
    • APNIC may make supporting contributions if required (according to budget and EC decision).
  4. Maturity
    • APNIC operational support is no longer required
    • The Foundation may, in future, employ project management and other resources
    • The Foundation may have independent office space and operational programs.

Of course, this series of events and timeline will depend entirely on our success in building support for the Foundation and its activities. However, initial discussions with different experts and organizations give us optimism that the APNIC Foundation Limited will be a success and will be well supported to make important contributions to the Internet in our region.

In the next post of this series, I’ll describe some of the activities we expect the APNIC Foundation Limited to support.

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