Umbrella model of the ufaFabrik

Sigrid Niemer

So if we think about the income or the financial resources of ufaFabrik I have a story to tell. The story of beginning and how it is today. So in the beginning we were people without any big money to invest and the only possibilities we had were our ambition and our hands to work with. So we managed to collect all money we could earn in one pocket for the money. Everything that was spent or what was needed came out of this one pocket for the money. And only by collecting our small resources we managed to start renovating the buildings, we opened the first café and we started with the bakery. And after the bakery came the shop. So our resources or possibilities to earn money grew slowly step by step.
And this went quite fine for about the first three to four years. Then we got the structure problem with the tax office. We discussed quite a lot out of this and this had no idea about this form of creating financial benefit. And after a long discussion it lasted for about one and a half a year we had to find the compromise. And this means we had to change the whole structure of the ufaFabrik.

So today you have a kind of umbrella organization this is called ufaFabrik Berlin e.V. And this organization is responsible for the lease, for the contract with insurances, with the garbage, all the overall costs are collected in this umbrella organization. And below this we have 12 to 14 different branches of activities and they pay partly into the roof organization what they have a space or what they expenses are.

And when you compare these two models, one fits perfectly in our society the other was more open, more creative. The first model we had one office for all the bureaucracy. Today we have 15 offices and we still try to manage to build these links between these different activities and companies and associations.

So the amount of the bureaucratic work is really much higher. The first eight years we stayed completely independent. We had no public funding and even we resisted. We said, we are very strong, we can manage by ourselves, we can do by ourselves, we will do it internal, deal with our financial problems.

But after this restructuring we said, okay now it is not possible anymore. If we pay taxes we need something back for our social and cultural work. And this happened. So today we get public funding it is just a basic funding, structural funding for culture and for the social work. But this is maybe about one third of the total income of the ufaFabrik. All the rest we have to earn independently like the café, the circus school. The circus school gets a small amount of subsidies. But the bakery, the café, all these public events we have to finance by ourselves.

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