Donations to Software in the Public Interest, Inc.

Donations can take several forms:

  • Donations of money
  • Donations of equipment or services
  • Donations through vendors
  • Donations through employee giving programs

These donations can be made to SPI directly, or they can be marked for use by a particular member project. It is preferred that the donations be made to SPI, as they can then be used wherever the need is greatest. Donations to SPI that are not marked for a particular project will be distributed to the projects that are currently affiliated with SPI as needed, and/or used for SPI's own expenses.

Donations of money

Software in the Public Interest, Inc. is a non-profit corporation under the laws of New York State. Tax-exempt status under section 501(c)3 of the United States Internal Revenue Code was granted on May 23, 1999.

To make a donation (in U.S. dollars only), write a check or money order payable to Software in the Public Interest, Inc. Please do not make donations payable to SPI member projects, such as "Debian". To donate to a member project, write the name in the memo field of the cheque, as the reference in the electronic transfer, or mail the SPI Treasurer. Please ensure your check is payable to Software in the Public Interest, Inc.

Mail your donation to the following address:

Software in the Public Interest, Inc.
1632 1st Ave #20327
New York, NY 10028
United States

Note: The SPI mailing address may change from time to time. Please do not copy the address, but instead refer to this page <> to ensure that donors will always see the most current information.

Note: Check donations are processed in batches once per month. Please reach out to the SPI Treasurer if your check donation has not been deposited in approximately six weeks.

If you have a credit card you can donate via Click & Pledge:

Online donation system by ClickandPledge

Because information posted to SPI's website was used to defraud one of our checking accounts years ago, we do not publish information about our accounts sufficient for donors to initiate wire transfers. (Due in part to our dissatisfaction with the security safeguards of that bank, SPI no longer does business with them.) If you would like to donate to SPI or one of our member projects via wire transfer, please contact the SPI Treasurer to make arrangements.

Donations via PayPal

Many SPI projects can receive donations directly via PayPal. There are dedicated per-project PayPal donation buttons directly on the project pages of the SPI website.

If you want to donate to SPI's general fund, you can use this PayPal button:

If you need more information about PayPal donations or about any form of electronic donation please contact the SPI Treasurer.

Donations via Zelle

Donations can be done via Zelle to the email, make sure to mark which project should receive the funds in the description field (Reason) otherwise the donation will be collected to the SPI general fund, unless you inform via follow-up email.

Donations in various countries

Canadian donors: Thanks to our change of banks in December 2004, SPI is pleased to announce that we can now accept donations via checks drawn on Canadian banks (in Canadian dollars). Our bank forwards these items to a U.S. Federal Reserve bank for processing. It may therefore take a little longer than SPI's usual check processing time for you to see a withdrawal from your account. (We are informed that the U.S. Federal Reserve cannot process all such items; if this happens, the deposit will be reversed, and you will likely never see the withdrawal -- please provide a contact e-mail address with your check so that we can notify you if this happens with your donation.) SPI is not registered with the CCRA, in part because our organization lacks any legal presence in Canada. Your donation therefore will likely not be tax-deductible for you unless one of a very few exceptions apply. Regardless, we and our member organizations greatly appreciate any donation you elect to make.

Donations of equipment and services

Given the small budget that most projects run on, they mostly rely on the donation of equipment and services from companies and universities to stay connected to the world.

If your company has any idle machines or spare equipment (hard drives, SCSI controllers, network cards, etc) lying around, please consider donating them to SPI. Contact the SPI Treasurer for details.

Donations made through vendors

Several vendors (of CDs, Books etc.) allow their customers to make donations to SPI or an affiliated project when ordering materials. In order to make these donations tax deductible, several requirements must be observed:

  • The receipt that the vendor issues must contain a separate item entitled "SPI Donation" (or something similar). This receipt is needed to claim the deduction from the IRS.
  • The vendor must not claim this donation as income, since it is income for SPI.
  • Donations made by vendors should be sent to SPI monthly, if possible.

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Donations made through employee giving programs

Some companies allow their employees to make donations to SPI or an affiliated project as part of their annual charitable giving campaigns.

Other information

Money that is donated will be distributed to the various projects and efforts that SPI is affiliated with, and to pay for SPI's operating expenses. SPI has no paid staff, but occasionally retains the services of professionals on a contractual basis (accountants, bookkeepers, etc.) If you intend for the money you donate to be used for a specific project or purpose, please note that in the memo field of your check or money order, or in the body of your email message for wire transfers. Please note that while SPI does communicate donors' earmarks to member projects, and sets aside funds for each project's use, the disposition of funds allocated to a given member project is the prerogative of that project. Member projects are free to use the funds allocated to them at their discretion, as long as such usage is consistent with U.S. laws and regulations, and within the constraints of SPI's certificate of incorporation and bylaws.

Note that the identities of donors are kept confidential to SPI, and only disclosed to members of SPI. Some additional information, such as the donor's city and state of residence, and amount and type (e.g., check or money order) of donation may also be disclosed to members of SPI. Donors' full mailing addresses are retained by the Treasurer but may be disclosed to the SPI Board of Directors if circumstances require such disclosure. SPI does not sell the names or addresses of its donors to any party. SPI does not circulate the names or any identifying information about donors except among its own membership (which includes member projects). Members of SPI are expected to keep such information confidential. All of that said, these are statements of SPI policy only, and do not constitute a guarantee or legal contract of any sort between donors and SPI. If you have concerns about this policy, please contact the SPI Board of Directors.

If you would like acknowledgement of receipt of your donation via electronic mail, please note this fact in a letter enclosed with your check or money order. Be sure to include the email address at which you would like to receive notification of receipt. Please allow 1-2 weeks for email acknowledgement. Note that this period is above and beyond delivery time for your donation via postal services. SPI accepts no responsibility for temporary or permanent delivery failures when electronically mailing acknowledgements of donations; please ensure that the email address you provide is reliable and in working order.

If you require a letter from SPI documenting your donation for tax purposes, please note this fact in a letter enclosed with your check or money order, and include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Please allow 3-4 weeks for paper mail acknowledgement. Note that this period is above and beyond delivery time for your donation, and for return mail delivery time via postal services. SPI accepts no responsibility for failure of postal services to deliver your tax information. You may wish to request email acknowledgement in conjunction with tax information letters (see above).

If you have special needs or questions, please feel free to contact the SPI Treasurer; however, please keep in mind that the duties of the SPI Treasurer are at present undertaken by a volunteer, not by a paid employee of SPI. Furthermore, communications with the SPI Treasurer may be shared with the Board of Directors and/or membership.