I'm going to give this a try:

Suppose a group of people want a kind of non-profit, open-source company that anyone can donate to or derive assets from, that no singular person owns but still has some level of organization, similar to communal housing.

What is the best kind of organization for this which is legally able to be registered in developed countries?


This would be a co-operative society, or a 'co-op':

A Co-operative Society is a membership organisation run for the mutual benefit of its members – serving their interests primarily by trading with them or otherwise providing them with goods, services and facilities – with any surplus usually being ploughed back into the organisation, although profits can be distributed to members. A Co-operative Society may or may not be a social enterprise, depending on its activities and how it distributes its profits.

From A GUIDE TO LEGAL FORMS FOR BUSINESS, UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

What you describe would be known as a Housing Co-operative which are common in many countries.

The NCDA are the US associated for Co-operatives.

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  • That sounds promising, but the "housing" aspect isn't what I am going for, just a federally recognized entity for formally handling funding and management. Does this kind of entity allow the ownership to be continuously changed between a varying number of members who each hold a technical but non-profit stake in the entity? – John Joe Mar 23 '18 at 17:45
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    Depends on the jurisdiction, but yes, generally they are owned by their 'members'. The benefits of membership vary. I've added a link to a US-centric site to my answer. – JeffUK Mar 23 '18 at 17:52
  • Alright thank you, I'll look at it more closely. – John Joe Mar 23 '18 at 17:54

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