Email from Clémentine Deliss to Elhadj Abdoulaye Sène and Response from Elhadj Abdoulaye Sène in blue
We have two issues at hand.
1. How to persuade five-six private individuals in Berlin known for their collections and for purchasing art, but known for experimental philanthropy! How can we convince them to invest in developing the MM-U, and more specifically to cover around 8-9000 Euro per Debating Chamber? The faculty honoraria together, per DC, is a big hit of nearing 7500 Euro. Then one needs to add all the other costs, transport of works, insurance, event, documentation.
That is quite a lot for one night. What could we propose to the ‘patrons’ of the MM-U? Is it patronage? What are the benefits they might get? How can we persuade them to invest this money into something that we can prove convincingly to them to be much more than just a night’s event? What fiscal returns to they get? Does this money enter into a secondary share system – can it be speculated with? As far as I understood your plan, then no, right?
I understand from this point 1. that you are targetting a smaller group of collectors (I initially assumed a wide crowd) and I think this actually makes sense for the activities of the Debating Chamber.There are two general financing forms: “funding” and “investing”. In the first form, the fund provider is not expecting any material return on investment, thus, it is a form of donation (“Spende” or “Zuwendung”). This is eligible for fiscal advantages for the donator in contrast to investment stricto sensu. However, a funding kann keep a non-profit character and still entitle the fund provider to certain benefits and rights in return. Now this depends on the nature of the activities in the MM-U and more precisely, we should clarify:
a. What will be the outcome of the Debating Chambers?
(i) does it lead to tangible assets: An art collection. (I guess no as it is about debating not producing or buying?).
(ii) does it generate intangible assets: A paradigme? a “Berliner Schule”? A manifest? A book/video documentation? A series of exhibitions? Other copy rights whatsoever?
b. On the basis of the answer to question a., we can brainstorm on what stake/share we want to reserve/grant for the “patrons” with respect to the outcome? What stake/share are they interested in?
My legal and fiscal task will be, then, to make sure that this will be no business activity. Moreover, even if there is none of these options, which would mean the patrons are just donating, this should be eligible to tax deduction for non-lucrative funding. However, a stake in the outcome, where possible, 0would make the financing of the Debating Chamber more interesting and convincing.
2. The MM-U Faculty. There is every reason to believe that many are curious about what a collective investment fund might generate individually and for the group. Thank you so much for all the fine-tuning of the German legal parameters regarding formalising institutions, however small.
In short, my question is, how can we mirror these two collective agencies? And how could we persuade the private collectors of the value of investing money into the collective fund?
Indeed, I shared from the beginning your view that we have here two different needs, which are related to different interests and assets. For the Debating Chamber, we need to clarify the points set forth above under 1.a. (i) (ii).
As regards the MM-U Faculty Investment Fund, in contrast to the financing of the debating chamber, I am still thinking that a crowdinvesting-like structure, i.e. wide public would be more adapted. In this regard, I need you to express your opinion, if you also would like to focus here on a shortlist of private sponsors. So the question ist : Big crowd with small scale contribution or few private investors with considerable contributions?
I wonder if you could possibly send us a few lines on how you imagine this collective investment fund working with the MM-U? What is the art property we would be aiming to acquire or creating together? How material or immaterial is it?
How would you evaluate it? It could be that we need to head into another type of language:
eg. Protocols. – They are funding the establishment of new protocols? Is this word, which comes from online systems of open source governance, is it recognised as a legal term?
Structure of the fund:
a. The MMU-Faculty should define, maybe at the end of a series of works of the Debating Chamber, a collection project. The collection would for instance be constituted of artefacts belonging to the same class or to the same location or according for example to a paradigm elaborated by the MMU Faculty. In any case a collection programme should be elaborated with the definition of clear objectives.
b. The MMU-Faculty would offer to the public the possibility to acquire a share interest in the fund’s collection. Any interested person can acquire share certificates by making a down payment in the fund. The certificate reflects the amount contributed as a percentage of the total amount contributed in the fund.
c. The total amount paid in the fund will serve the acquisition of artefacts according to the collection programme and objectives. The artefacts will be in the legal ownership of the MMU-Faculty but exclusively for the account of the holders of the share certificates. They can be used for exhibitions of the MMU-Faculty, for work sessions of the Debating Chamber, leased to museums (however, non-profit restrictions) or serve (ethnological or other kind of) studies. The money amounts in the fund also serve the management and storage of the artefacts in the collection. In no event the MMU Faculty should be paid for the management services, otherwise it would qualify as business-oriented.
d. This requires that the MMU Faculty becomes a legal personality or a parallel entity is established.
e. The MMU will constitute with elected certificate holders and external experts a committee, in which important decisions (acuisition, sale of artefacts, contracts with museums, exhibitions etc) must be taken.
f. To this extent, I consider that the assets of the Fund (the artefacts) will constitute tangible assets. However, it can be discussed that the artistic dimension is intangible and therefore, hard to evaluate from a monetary perspective. But this could also include art auction experts. The Valuator must anyway be external and neutral third person.
g. Please do not hesitate to give me more feedback and orientation, in order for me to provide more material and ideas.