FC: Urgent plea to help save Free-Market.net from oblivion

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Thu Jan 23 2003 - 22:04:28 PST

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    Free-Market.net has been an excellent resource that I've always enjoyed, 
    and it's popped up on Politech from time to time:
    Now Free-Market.net is in a desperate position, and they need our help. If 
    you can contribute to this intrepid effort to keep the site alive (and 
    perhaps create a new non-profit foundation to run it), please be generous. 
    Small contributions are welcome.
    Date: Thu, 23 Jan 2003 22:48:49 -0500
    From: "Christopher A. Petro" <petroat_private>
    To: declanat_private
    I'm writing this email to enlist the help of Politech subscribers in
    saving Free-Market.net.  Some grants to the organization supporting
    this network were not fulfilled, and the organization is shutting down.
    We need to raise money in order to save Free-Market.net.
    Free-Market.net is a network of web sites whose goal is to use the
    Internet to encourage communication, cooperation, and positive action
    for freedom.  The sites support libertarian ideas, including individual
    freedom, voluntary cooperation, and free enterprise.  Free-Market.Net
    maintains a database of more than 10,000 current freedom-related news
    stories, books, job openings, action opportunities, events, and other
    resources.  Free-Market.net also provides services, including mailing
    lists and resource directories, to partner organizations, including
      * Cato Institute,          * The Federalist Society,
      * Institute for Justice,   * Empower America,
      * Heritage Foundation,     * Acton Institute,
      * Adam Smith Institute,    * John Locke Foundation,
      * The Objectivist Center,  * Free State Project,
      * Goldwater Institute,     * Association for Competitive Technology
    and over a hundred other organizations.  For a complete list of
    partner organizations, see
    Free-Market.net also operated a mailing list which provided its
    subscribers with summaries of and links to news stories involving
    threats to free speech, property rights and other topics of interest
    to individuals who care about freedom.  This update was sent out to
    more than 10,000 subscribers daily.  For a sample of the updates,
    The non-profit organization which has supported the operations of
    free-market.net was forced to suspend operations in late December.
    Two days ago it was announced that the assets of the organization,
    including all of the assets of Free-Market.net, would be liquidated.
    The deadline for bids is Midnight on Friday, January 23rd.
    The liquidation of the assets has two goals.  First, the organization
    has a moral obligation to make every effort to pay its debts.  Second,
    the board of the organization would like to see another organization
    take over the operation of the critical services Free-Market.net
    provides to its members and the members of its partner organizations.
    Currently, there is only one substantial bid for the assets, and it
    does not involve a commitment to continue operating the sites and
    mailing lists.
    I have quickly organized an effort to form a new organization to bid
    on the core Free-Market.net assets and resume operations as soon as
    possible.  For a complete list of assets, see
    One might well ask whether it is worthwhile to invest additional
    money in an effort which has failed once.  This was the first question
    I asked, and after careful review of the organization's financial
    statements, it is clear that it is quite possible to provide all
    of the existing Free-Market.net services if even half the funds
    provided through grants, membership fees, and partnership fees last
    year are received again this year.  This newfound profitability is
    made possible through staff cuts, reduction in overhead costs,
    voluntary salary reductions, and donated technical services.
    I am making this bid in cooperation with the current President of the
    organization, who has done an excellent job raising funds and is well
    respected by the partners and benefactors.  With his efforts and the
    loyal support of Free-Market.net's members, we can make this a self-
    sustaining operation that continues to benefit hundreds of thousands
    of people working to defend individual freedom around the world.
    In order to make this effort a success, we need three things.
       * A non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with compatible goals that
         can take ownership of the assets at the end of the month.
       * Legal advice as to how the transfer of assets can be made if a
         non-profit organization is not available and legal assistance
         establishing a new non-profit organization.
       * Commitments to provide funds at the end of January to add
         a cash component to the bid.
    While the assets will not necessarily be sold to the highest bidder,
    it is critical that the bid have a substantial cash component to
    allow the current organization to meet as many of its current
    financial obligations as possible before shutting down.  While the
    board wants to insure that the valuable Free-Market.net services
    continue to be offered, meeting current financial obligations is
    critical and it may be necessary to accept a high bid that does not
    insure continuity of service.
    As I stated earlier, the current high bid is a cash-only bid of
    $10,000.  This means that all of the services provided by
    Free-Market.net will cease to exist, more than 140 organizations
    will lose the ability to communicate with their members and the
    valuable resource index on the Free-Market.net portal will go
    offline.  I think we can do better.
    If you are able to donate money to help us make a winning bid
    and save Free-Market.net, please email me.  If the bid fails, any
    money received will be returned in full.  Please be generous; this
    is a valuable resource that we should not allow to die or be
    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for the good men
    to do nothing."                                       -- Edmund Burke
    Christopher A. Petro .. petroat_private .. 917-346-1536
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