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Should a "Broad Public Charity" Be Required, By Definition, To Serve The Middle Sector ?

Petition Maine Technology Institute to offer Fiscal Sponsorship

§15309. Liberal construction
This chapter must be construed liberally to effect the interest and purposes of the institute for an improved science and technology capacity-building effort in the State and must be broadly interpreted to effect that intent and those purposes. [1999, c. 401, Pt. AAA, §3 (NEW).]SECTION HISTORY
1999, c. 401, §AAA3 (NEW).

I am still at only 3 signatures supporting this petition !

The Maine Technology Institute is a public non-profit charity with the non-profit purpose of supporting companies that develop products for the commercial market.

2Purpose The institute, through a public and private partnership, shall encourage, promote, stimulate and support research and development activity leading to the commercialization of new products and services in the State's technology-intensive industrial sectors to enhance the competitive position of those sectors and increase the likelihood that one or more of the sectors will support clusters of industrial activity and to create new jobs for Maine people. The institute is one element of the State's economic development strategy and will contribute to the long-term development of a state-wide research, development and product deployment infrastructure. [ 1999, c. 401, Pt. AAA, §3 (NEW).]

When our ceramic slip casting company was rejected as a social enterprise by a fiscal sponsor, the language used on the application was cited as the reason. The board interpreted the word, "production" as signifying that we are only in it for the money, I recalled that the non-profit charitable purpose of MTI uses the words "development activity leading to the commercialization of new products".  I knew such words would not have helped my situation- Not indeed. In that situation, I should have used the words "making process" instead of "production" and it could have made all the difference in having our vision of an American ceramic slip-casting network granted access to foundation funding. However, I used the word "production" and so the board decided we are only in it for the money- as if a Western ceramic design company, which is only in it for the money, would even consider manufacturing in the USA!

Fiscal Sponsorship means that the fiscal sponsor can sponsor as projects, other organizations which do not have 501(c)(3) status, providing that the purpose of the project is consistent with the 501(c)(3) status of the fiscal sponsor. Then the projects are qualified to accept tax deductible contributions, which means the project can apply for foundation grants. There is no cost to the taxpayer, which cannot be said for the current only function of the MTI, public non-profit charity, serving as an instrument of the State of Maine.

In our case, when I was rejected by another fiscal sponsor for my inappropriate language, I knew that what was inappropriate for one fiscal sponsor is not stated strongly enough for another. Our company's purpose is a direct match for MTI's non-profit charitable purpose. However, MTI, as "broad" a public charity as it is deemed to be by statute, does not offer any services to benefit the broad economy of Maine and specifically to benefit all Maine made products, which all fit the non-profit purpose of MTI, provided they are continually developing new products for the commercial market, and continually improving their technology, whatever that technology may be.

The only service offered by MTI is to grant matching funds to companies which are already significantly capitalized. While Maine Made Products is a state program and MTI is a state non-profit charitable corporation, one side of the state does not offer services to the other.

Could this be because the special act of legislation that chartered MTI as a non-profit public charity, also authorizes its board to own intellectual property rights and to make a profit?  The board governs the charity. If there is no profit to be made for the board in serving the broad economy of Maine, why should it do so?

 2.Organization.The board has all the powers and authority, not explicitly prohibited by law, necessary or convenient to carry out and effectuate the functions, duties and responsibilities of the fund, including, but not limited to:
G. Owning intellectual property, licensing intellectual property and negotiating for and collecting royalty rights or otherwise realizing a return on investment made under the fund and all programs of the institute when appropriate in order to promote the interests and investments of the State in furthering science and technology; and [2003, c. 20, Pt. RR, §7 (NEW); 2003, c. 20, Pt. RR, §18 (AFF).]

While Fiscal Sponsorship is not enumerated under Powers of the Institute, it is permitted under "Other Powers" . Since Fiscal Sponsorship does not cost the taxpayers anything, there is no reasonable argument why a function which expands the services of the Maine Technology Institute to the broad public should not be offered under the prevailing terms of its charter:
§15304. Powers of institute
14. Other powers.  Act or do anything necessary or useful for carrying out any of its powers, duties or purposes.
As in serving as a "broad public charity"

I am not supposed to say what I just said! Incredulously, it has not been spoken anywhere that I know of, since MTI was chartered under the Angus King Administration.  Everywhere in Maine, the code is that no one speaks out in criticism of the hegemony.

To date, I have only 3 signers of my petition. Who will provide two more signatures so that this petition can be listed publicly on You don't have to be from Maine to sign this petition. Just remember the saying goes "As Maine goes, so goes the nation" and with a public private hegemony established in the US administration- You betcha,it does!

Now is the time to take action to redirect the course in which we are headed!  This policy grants the same "relief from hardship" to the middle, which the Longley Doctrine granted to the upper crust four decades ago, as it "increased the burden on the state"- which meant "increased the burden on the middle sector.


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