Matthew 25:14–31 provides the backdrop for Malawi Talent Fund’s (MTF) approach to raising “Investment Capital.” Jesus’ parable of the talents is familiar to most. This is the story, paraphrased in a nutshell:
A boss who was going on a journey gave money (talents) to three of his employees. One employee received five talents, another received two, and the last received one. The boss decided how many talents to give each employee based on his ability. Everybody got something. The boss expected each employee to invest the assets with which they were provided in order to realize an increase.
The employee who received five talents successfully invested and gained an additional five. The second employee had similar results and doubled his investment. However, the third employee was afraid to take a risk and, due to fear of losing, did NOT invest. Rather, he played it safe and hid his talent. The boss was happy with the employees who took a risk, but not happy with the one who played it safe. You cannot gain if you don not invest. This is not only a spiritual principle, but a key business principle as well.
Luke 12:48 says “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded, and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” We are clearly directed to take a risk and invest what God has given us…And the more we have the more we are required to invest.
Based on these Biblical examples, we have developed some basic principles for investing in MTF, all within a 501(c) (3) charitable, tax-exempt structure.
Principle #1: We will use the term “Invest” vs “Donate.” Please understand that legally your investment is a donation to a charitable organization. There can be no expectation of monetary return in the form of dividends or equity participation. So when we refer to investing, you should understand the background and meaning behind the term.
Principle #2: We are soliciting discrete investments, not recurring donations. The entire objective of MTF is creation of sustainability. Sustainability does not require the giving and/or receiving of funds in perpetuity.
Principle #3: Since we are operating under the concept of investing, we will utilize techniques and metrics investors use to evaluate equity market investments. However, ideas like ROI (return on investment) will be measured in terms of the return to communities in Malawi and not to our US investors.
Principle #4: No funds raised for capital investment will be used to support Chris Weaver in regards to personal expenses incurred while living in Malawi. During the first two years, Chris will not draw a salary but will be supported by a combination of his personal assets and private donations. Our goal is that after two years, he will draw a salary funded by the local businesses.
In line with principle one, we want to clarify our use of specific words or phrases.
The Talent: We created an investment instrument called a “Talent” in contrast to a typical “share.” A “talent” requires a minimum investment of $1,000. We will consider a payment plan, not to exceed 12 months, for investors to purchase a talent. Of course, an investor can invest in as many talents as they wish.
The Metric: Investors in the equity market use earnings per share (EPS) as a primary measure to value a stock. In our process, the EPS metric will be jobs per talent (JPT). JPT represents how many actual jobs were created (the objective of your investment) per talent.
The Return: Many stocks return value to their investor’s account through dividends. In a similar fashion, MTF investment returns are also “credited” to their account. If you read the last ten verses of Philippians, specifically verse 4:17, you will see that Paul said, “Not because I desire a gift; but I desire fruit that may abound to YOUR account.” You will be “investing” in God’s kingdom here on earth and storing up your treasures in Heaven.
We will however, provide you with feedback regarding your investment. We will provide each investor with an annual report, as well as quarterly reports when appropriate. The annual report will highlight the activities of MTF, the businesses that have been formed, progress of existing businesses, and personal stories of the lives that have been impacted.
How much do we need?
MTF needs $200,000 to get started, set up the infrastructure, and build the Shared Service Center. An additional $300,000 will be needed to start launching scalable businesses. The more capital there is, the greater the number of businesses that can be started, and the more lives that can be changed!
The Board of Directors has determined that a minimum $200,000 investment pool is required prior to Chris Weaver moving to Malawi. In the unlikely events that the $200,000 investment level is not achieved by January 2016 or that Chris Weaver, due to divine intervention, does not move to Malawi, there are several options available to the investor. Any questions regarding the options below should be directed to our CFO, Dave Kirkey.
If, and only if, a liquidation of Malawi Talent fund assets is declared by the board of directors:
- MTF investors may direct the MTF board to send their investment donations to another 501.c.3 of their choosing. Our primary recommendation would be to the PCC, however the investor may make the final determination.
- Also, we can return your money if you have not taken your donation as a tax write-off with-in the tax year.
- There is a third provision for a refund if you have taken a previous tax year deduction for your MTF donation. You would need to amend your previous year’s tax return and remove the deduction.