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Re: VMs: "The VMs Research Foundation"...?

Location is a key issue when considering fund raising. If there are major research funds that might be available in the USA, then a USA based foundation makes sense. The manuscript is housed in an American Institution, and anyone doing physical studies of the manuscript would have to be located in the USA. But how many interested people are located in the USA? As far as I know, it is quite easy to set up foundations in any western nation. The questions should rather be, is there a location where we can get 5 - 8 people together, to sit on the board. The board of directors will be the key to getting a foundation going. The board will have to meet several times a year during the initial stages of setting up a foundation. After that, it might suffice for the board to meet once a year. The board members will all have to operate at "arms-length" from the foundation. That means that none of them can receive any financial or other benefits from the foundation. In essence, the board members need to have enough interest in the VMS to give time to running the foundation, but they cannot be the researchers. Researchers need the time and resources that the foundation supplies. The board members are the trustees for the resources, and they are the ones responsible for raising funds.

I've been involved in a number of these, and you need to know that there is a lot of work that needs doing. Several hurdles need to be crossed.
1. Find a location where 5 - 8 people can function together as a board.
2. Find the 5 - 8 people
3. Discuss how and where funds can be found
4. Register the foundation
5. Find a volunteer accountant who will get payment once funds start pouring in.
6. The board members start raising funds, applying for grants etc.
7. When enough money comes in, an administrator is hired (usually part time at first)
8. Brochures, Website, etc., are put together
9. Researchers apply to the foundation to get funds for their research.

There are several ways of getting funds. The first one is the list-group. How many of us would cough up $30 - $50 a year for membership/subscription to info etc. This membership or subscription should have some benefits, such as access to the member's side of the website, and perhaps first dibs on applying for a research grant. And also access to the information that the research reveals. Once membership/subscription fees start, then the money can be used by the office to research other grants or funds that may be available. There are people out there who will give funds to research, but they want to make sure that we are serious, and that we are accountable.

After all this gets started, the board will have to figure out where to put their resources first. For instance, not all of us are convinced that the VMS needs "deciphering." But I think all of us are interested in the history of the manuscript, and who had it when. So research needs to be prioritized, and someone needs to collect the research together and post it in one specific location. A website available to members is probably the best place. It might even be possible to have members post their research papers there for other members to read. These need not be fully academic papers, but they can be ideas that are laid out for others to read.

Does that mean that this list-service should stop. By no means. This is how we found each other, and the discussion should go on here. But papers that are researched or ideas that are fleshed out need to be posted in a safe environment, where other members can read them. Folk on this list service should be encouraged to become members, so that they can access the information.

A good "first project" might be hiring a student to collect all the information on the list service, and paste it all together under various topics such as:
VMS History
VMS Plants
VMS Pictures
VMS Zodiac
VMS Language Ideas
VMS Deciphering
VMS Physical Manuscript

There is lots to be done, but most of us have little time and money. However, if we collected a bit of time and money from everyone, do we have enough to get a foundation off the ground and rolling?


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