WordPress Community Support & WordPress Foundation Entity Structure

TL;DR: This page clarifies how WordPress’s operating business & nonprofit entities are set up, and to address some misconceptions.

The key takeaway is that WordPress Community SupportWordPress Community Support WordPress Community Support PBC is a Public Benefit Corporation, created specifically to be the financial and legal support for WordCamps, WordPress Meetup groups, and any additional “official” events organized within the WordPress Community Events program. (WPCSWPCS The collection of PHP_CodeSniffer rules (sniffs) used to format and validate PHP code developed for WordPress according to the WordPress Coding Standards. May also be an acronym referring to the Accessibility, PHP, JavaScript, CSS, HTML, etc. coding standards as published in the WordPress Coding Standards Handbook.) and WordPress FoundationWordPress Foundation The WordPress Foundation is a charitable organization founded by Matt Mullenweg to further the mission of the WordPress open source project: to democratize publishing through Open Source, GPL software. Find more on wordpressfoundation.org. (WPFWordPress Foundation The WordPress Foundation is a charitable organization founded by Matt Mullenweg to further the mission of the WordPress open source project: to democratize publishing through Open Source, GPL software. Find more on wordpressfoundation.org.) are two completely separate entities. WPCS is also sometimes referred to as WordCamp CentralWordCamp Central Website for all WordCamp activities globally. https://central.wordcamp.org includes a list of upcoming and past camp with links to each.. All WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more.-related activity is managed within WordPress Community Support and has nothing to do financially with WordPress Foundation. WPCS is set up as a for-profit public benefit corporation, and WPF is a non-profit charitable organization.To keep these two entities in good standing, great care is taken to ensure that all WordCamp activity and finances are conducted through WPCS, not WPF.

Public-Benefit Corporation

It’s important to note that WPCS is a “public benefit corporation” (PBC or B-Corporation), which has several important differences from a traditional C-Corporation. While none of the following points are monitored requirements of PBC organizations, WPCS is managed in a way that is very financially cautious and follows the same transparency guidelines that most non-profit organizations observe.

WPCS is committed to supporting a specific public benefit. WPCS is solely focused on WordCamps, MeetupsMeetup Meetup groups are locally-organized groups that get together for face-to-face events on a regular basis (commonly once a month). Learn more about Meetups in our Meetup Organizer Handbook., and the sponsorship of WordCamp Central’s operations.
WPCS offers more transparency than traditional corporations. Each year, after the annual audit concludes, financial data for both WPF and WPCS is posted on wordpressfoundation.org for anyone to review.
Whereas normal C-Corporations have shareholders, WPCS differs in that WPF is the 100% sole shareholder of WPCS. No individual person or company benefits from profits generated within WPCS. This ownership structure doesn’t change the fact that WPCS is a tax-paying entity. It is in no way considered a non-profit.

Top ↑

Income Taxes

Income taxes are another area of misunderstanding. WPCS does pay income taxes on any net profit generated during the year. Unlike WPF, which is considered a non-profit or public charity that needn’t pay income tax, WPCS will pay the federal corporate tax rate on any net income at the end of the year.

The goal in a given year is to operate as close to net zero as possible. WPCS wants to ensure that community sponsorship grants are available to WordCamp organizing teams around the globe, and that all of WordCamp Central’s overhead expenses are covered (insurance, meetup.com fees, software subscriptions, bank fees, etc.), without there being a large deficit or surplus at year end. It’s a tricky thing, but it’s also why the WordCamp budget review process is so important.

Organizing teams should focus on budgets that allow for meaningful events, and there should never be a goal of earning excess income for the organization.

Top ↑

WPF and Non-Profit Rules

WPF’s reporting and operating requirements are very strict, so it’s extremely important that certain rules are followed and that WPF is not brought into the realm of WPCS operations. As stated earlier, WPF and WPCS are completely separate entities and only WPCS is involved with WordCamps. Because of how WPF was set up, it can in no way be referenced for discounts associated with WordCamps or meetups, and WPF funds should never be used for expenses related to WordCamps. The ultimate consequence of any misuse of WPF’s funds is the revocation of non-profit status. Organizers should never state that WPCS is a non-profit entity or that WordCamps are events organized by a non-profit, as neither is true.

WordPress Foundation is involved in funding Charity Hack-a-thons, Introduction to Open SourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL. Workshops, the Kim Parsell Scholarship program, and grant-making to like-minded organizations focused on providing technology based education to disadvantaged groups. The organization operates with the welfare of the general public in mind and no business or group of individuals benefit from its existence. This is the main requirement of any public charity.

These points are all important things to remember as in-person WordCamp activity increases in the coming year. As always, WordCamp Central is here to help guide and support the planning process in any way possible, so never hesitate to reach out with any questions.

The content on this page was originally published as a blog post on Make/Community by @harmonyromo.

Last updated: