Administrivia: plan to use non-profit umbrella to handle openmod forum running costs

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Robbie Morrison

Feb 13, 2021, 3:32:39 PM (13 days ago) Feb 13
to openmod list, Max Parzen (Edinburgh Uni), Leonhard Hofbauer (UCL)

Hello all

A short note on a suggestion to use a non‑profit umbrella organization (explained shortly) to handle donations and payments for the Open Energy Modelling Initiative forum.

As you might recall, the forum recently shifted from Tom Brown's private shell account to, a commercial discourse hosting service headquartered in the Netherlands.

The new cost is €290.00 per annum.  And a number of people have already kindly offered to contribute.   But I am reluctant to run those transactions through my personal bank account.  For one thing, this looks a little unprofessional.  And for another, the transactions would be hard to audit.

So yesterday I approached the Center for the Cultivation of Technology (CCT) based in Berlin, Germany.  CCT are constituted as a non‑profit limited liability company or specifically a German gemeinnützige GmbH.   And they offer, among other services, a point of contact for donations and grants.  CCT will discuss my so far informal application at a management meeting on 23 February 2021.

If successful, the following would prevail in respect of the openmod forum alone:

  • CCT would become our legal point of contact with the tax department and so forth
  • I would sign a written agreement as lead administrator for the site
  • we would get an IBAN and our own subject line code for incoming donations
  • CCT would pay our annual invoices after being forwarded the details by email
  • I believe donors would be issued with documentation so they can claim charitable tax deductions should they so wish
  • CCT levy 10% to cover their overheads

Please contact me offlist if you have comments on or issues with this proposal.  Preferably within one week.  Otherwise myself, Max Parzen, and Leo Hofbauer, as the forum admins, will proceed as indicated.

See here for the full list of services run by the openmod:

with best wishes, Robbie

Robbie Morrison
Address: Schillerstrasse 85, 10627 Berlin, Germany
Phone: +49.30.612-87617

Ingmar Schlecht

Feb 14, 2021, 5:59:53 AM (12 days ago) Feb 14

Hi Robbie, list,

I have never heard of the CCT, but personally that way to got is fine with me, as long as you think the CCT is a trustworthy entity for this matter.

I liked the fact that so far openmod was kept going with basically zero administrative overhead so far, but I also see the need to try new ways when money needs to be collected to pay for such things like hosting. And by the looks of it, this is a solution that still works with hardly any overhead on our side, which is good. So I'm fine with the proposed solution.


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Robbie Morrison

Feb 14, 2021, 11:41:49 AM (12 days ago) Feb 14

Hi Ingmar, all

Some due diligence on CCT is in order.  Moritz Bartl tells me they process about €1 million per annum, including grant funding from the European Commission.  In addition, some of their partners are listed here:

The ability to process income from public funders as well of from private donors could perhaps be useful in the future.  In which case, CCT can take on some of the project management responsibilities too.  Although I am not sure what that would exactly mean in practice.

Finally, just to stress that this exercise relates solely to the openmod forum.  If other projects from this community arise, then they should occur under different agreements and with different points of contact.


Robbie Morrison

Feb 23, 2021, 1:19:06 PM (3 days ago) Feb 23

Hello all

The Center for the Cultivation of Technology (CCT) have agreed to act as a staging post for collecting financial contributions to cover the Communiteq hosting service we now use to run the openmod forum.  Our hosting fees are currently €290.00 per year.

Next week I will obtain an IBAN/BIC for EUR transfers and also details for an intermediate bank in the United States for USD transfers.  And I will be in touch thereafter with those who earlier offered to contribute.  I believe donations from Germany, at least, would be tax deductible and that suitable documentation would be issued at year end on request.  More information soon.

with best wishes, Robbie

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