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(2005; 165 pages)
11.3.2 A foundation
A foundation does not have members. In general a foundation is more focused on the aims it wants to achieve than on the process. A foundation has only one obligatory body namely the board with, minimally, a chairperson, secretary and treasurer. The board of the foundation is responsible for the daily running of the organization, legal representation and financial management.
A foundation also has governing rules. These may include the aims, the way board members are appointed and dismissed, and how the organization is financed. Requirements for what should be included in the statutes differ per country.
Case study: Mieux Prescrire - an association
The “Association Mieux Prescrire” is the publisher of the French drug bulletin la revue Prescrire and its English edition Prescrire International. “Mieux Prescrire” means “Better Prescribing”. The aim of the association as described in the statutes is: “to contribute, fully independently, to quality of health care, in the patients interest, by dissemination of knowledge and training of care givers (…)”. It is a non profit association.
The founders of the bulletin chose to set up an association with a maximum of 70 members forming the General Assembly. Since 2005, all members sign a pledge for independence called “Charte Non merci” (like “No thank you” in the same spirit as “No free lunch”, USA and “No grazie, pago io,” (No thank you I'll pay) Italy). The membership is made up of four groups, which are called ‘collèges’ elected by the General Assembly. Each collège makes up a set percentage of the membership:
The founders. This group consists of people who have contributed considerably to the creation and development of the organization. The founders make up 20% of the membership.
The permanent advisory group. This group consists mainly of people from the scientific community (from France and other countries) who support the work of the association. This group makes up 20% of the membership.
The editors. This group is made up of editors of the bulletin who have been with la revue Prescrire for more than one year. They are elected by the other editors and make up 35% of the membership.
The readers. This group consists of readers of the bulletin, in total 25% of the membership.
The administrative council, the board of the association (20 members), is elected by the general assembly and consists of representatives of the four groups mentioned above. Members of the administrative council, of the directorate general and of the editorial team must have no conflict of interest, and sign a declaration confirming this point.
A bulletin for exchange of news among the members of the association is published for internal use and called Les Nouvelles du Moment.
Contributed by Danielle Bardelay, la revue Prescrire [http://www.prescrire.org].
Both associations and foundations can have working groups, committees, an advisory board, etc. Most countries require registration of the association or foundation with the appropriate authorities. Payment of a fee is usually required to register an association or foundation. Different countries have different registration requirements. In Finland, for instance, certain members of a foundation can be held liable for their actions.