Mudgeeraba Foundation
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(Owner, founder,sponsor, director: Dr Peter Ochsenbein)

Legal and historical details (update Nov. 2015)

“The Mudgeeraba Foundation” is a Private Charitable Trust Fund with Dr Peter Ochsenbein (PO) as founder and sole owner. The Trustee managing the fund with PO as sole director is “Mudg Pty Ltd” which was registered as a company by ASIC on 11 June 1999 (ACN 088 048 337), based on a submitted Constitution. The other basic document, the Deed, was settled and lodged on 17 & 18 June 1999. On 01 November 2004 the ATO registered the Foundation with ABN 72 030 561 388 (effective as of 09 June 2000). One can say that the Foundation’s birthday is in the last financial year of the last century or even millennium.

In the first seven years after arriving in Australia (16 January 1992), PO assimilated into his new environment, made friendships and in 1997 received Australian citizenship (becoming a "Swaussie"). His intention was also to remain active as a pensioner. His wish was to have a Foundation which, like his last job and his broad range of interests, had to be active worldwide. PO then found a brilliant international tax planning agent who structured one.  However, he soon realised that his ambitions had led to a much oversized result, structurally too complex and financially incompatible with his strict ideas of transparency. After intensive deliberations he decided to make a complete turnaround and instead established a modest, strictly local / regional Foundation (1999). Originally he called it ‘Mudg Foundation’ but changed to “The Mudgeeraba Foundation” in 2007.

Step by step, PO transferred all his savings to Australia and finally closed his two Swiss bank accounts (which at that time many considered to be unwise). Coming from a mid-class family and never owning land or a house, he was used to modest standards. He also disliked luxury by nature, probably due to his alpine origin.  Born in Meiringen (11 March 1928) he visited all schools and the University in Bern and completed his studies in 1959 with a PhD  “summa cum laude” in natural sciences (chemistry, physics, mineralogy). In the army he served three years during 1947-83, first in the artillery and then in ABC weapons.  After reaching the rank of Captain in 1962, his military ambitions came to an end. His father died in 1952, shortly after PO began studying and his mother (who wrote books in Bernese dialect for children) in 1970. His brother (*1926) died in 2011.

His professional life began 1960 in Basel. He worked in various functions for a multinational company, and his last position (1982-91) was that of Secretary General of an industry group of 28 top European companies (oil, chemistry, pharmaceuticals and electronics) which he also represented as an NGO accredited at the United Nations (WIPO /Geneva). He retired in 1991.

PO continued living as a tenant during his professional life as an employee. To own a “dream house” in expensive Switzerland was not realistic, not least because he spent all his holidays travelling around the world with the original ambition to visit all UN countries. That turned out to be an illusion because their number doubled from approx 80 (the number he finally reached) to 160 between 1960 and 1990. However, he saw enough to choose the Gold Coast with its subtropical climate as the ideal place for his retirement and in particular the lovely heritage village of Mudgeeraba.

Being a bachelor with no children and sticking to his unpretentious lifestyle he had made some savings. This simplified his resettlement “Down Under” and the creation of a foundation. He defined the areas of charity with a few simple terms (but allowing rather broad interpretation). He started with purchasing a vacant block and building a community centre. The aim of the Foundation was (and still is) to support community groups by a) offering them the centre (in which a resident Caretaker is living) to practice their activities for very low hourly fees, and b) annually awarding them donations (in form of tied grants).

There was, as usual, initial suspicion and resistance against the project, but soon his Foundation was operating successfully and well accepted by the community. The perfectly maintained “Mudgeeraba Foundation Centre” (MFC) is almost booked out by regular Users (up to 20) and the total amount of annual donations has surpassed $50,000. Since 2013 the Mudgeeraba Foundation has been registered as a small charity (annual revenue less than $250,000.-) with ACNC (Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission). Its registry number is 72030561388 (identical with ABN).

Some Facts and Figures About Activities (update Nov. 2015)

(a) Mudgeeraba Foundation Centre (MFC)

Since the opening of the MFC (Feb 2004) more than 60 groups have been using it. Of the presently 18 regular groups, four have been users for 10 or more years and 11 for 5 or more years. The spectrum of activities is broad and reaches from games (Bridge, Chess) and different Yoga styles to classical ballet and traditional dancing, including Pilates, Zumba, Nia etc. and various kinds of meditation. About 80% of the teachers and an estimated 90% of the students are women. In addition there are casual groups using the hall for one off events. Reasons for the popularity are the low fee ($10/hr) and the warm ambience.

Importantly, the Caretaker in residence ensures that the strict regulations are observed and that the facilities including garden and undercover parking with 16 spaces are clean. He also reports to PO necessary repairs or renovations in- and outside, which are then immediately performed. Any surplus remaining from the fees after deduction of the cost (including insurance) is reserved for potential future major outlays and can’t be used for donations or sponsorships.

b) Donations, Sponsorships, Loans

The first donation ceremony was held on 29 June 2001 in the Mudgeeraba Old Post Office in the presence of Mayor Garry Baildon and Cr Ted Shepherd. This memorable event was organised by a “Board of Governors” who advised PO in the selection of the 9 Beneficiaries (local schools and community organisations) who received a total of $12,000. The MFC was still in the application process which was rather protracted due to necessary re-zoning. The second ceremony took place on 26 June 2002 at the same location with a reduced donation total of $5500 to 4 community groups. In financial years ending 2003 and 2004 there were no donations. All available money (no loan!) was used for the construction of the MFC (opened in February 2004).

Soon, a new era began when, in December 2004, the first d’Arcy Doyle Art Award exhibition took place in the MFC. It was decided to combine this gala event with the MF donation ceremony 2004/05 which included donations of $27,300 to 5 beneficiaries. In addition $3168 was contributed for a flagpole and Mudgeeraba flags, $1133 for awards plaques and $10,000 to start a collection of art prints. The total of $37,301 compensated the missing donations in 2002/03 & 2003/04. Last but not least, an interest free loan of $120,000 was granted in early 2005. The grand total spent in 2004/05 was $157,301.

The experiment turned out to be a success and the December gala event was held annually from 2005-2011. In 7 of the 8 years Mayor Ron Clarke participated together with other local/regional politicians. Donations were $11,000 to 6 Beneficiaries (05/06), $11,500 to 6 B (06/07), $18,900 to 6 B (07/08), $33,900 to 5 B (08/09, $31,300 to 11 B (09/10), $34,700 to 9 B (10/11), $30,000 to 10 B (11/12). Directed by its creator Earle Hinschen and organised by him and his team the exhibition grew rapidly and so did the prize money which was taken over by PO’s Foundation, thus becoming the principal sponsor.

Sadly, the exhibition had to be relocated to a bigger venue and its date changed to Winter time. Its 9th & 10th editions took place in June/July 2014 and 2015 in the Mudgeeraba Memorial Hall with the MF stepping back to a normal sponsor. In all these years it also became evident that donations (which always had to be tied grants) often needed to be received before certain meetings took place or projects were realized. Therefore, as another major change the system of annual ceremonies had to be given up, although the events had been very popular. Now donations are spread over the whole financial year. They were $27,500 to 8 B (12/13), $48,500 to 14 B (13/14) and $51,200 to 15 B (14/15). Each cheque is handed over with a donation letter.

The grand total of the above 13 (underlined) totals is $343,300, which does not include a loan of $120,000, spontaneous contributions, heavy bronze MF award plaques and a collection of 220 framed art prints (famous Expressionists) with detailed software and in transportable timber boxes. Offered to Qld public hospitals it found no interest. All these items added together will exceed the sum of $500,000 during the current financial year 2015/16. Note that the term “sponsorship” is used for repeated donations, and that the appearance of the MF logo has no commercial advertising effect.

More detailed financial data of “The Mudgeeraba Foundation” for 2013/14 & 2014/15

The main principle is 100% transparency. Moreover, MF tries to be a model of absolute voluntariness. The detailed figures for 2013/14 & 2014/15 have been submitted to ACNC, incl. the 9 existing accounts which are all in Australia and at the same bank in Mudgeeraba. 3 belong to PO (private) and 6 to MF (Mudgeeraba Foundation). Strictly no money can flow from MF to PO, but PO may transfer money from PO to MF as donations or interest free loans. There are no debts anywhere and no donations are accepted from third parties, except indirect support from governments based on law. Highly appreciated are the considerable contributions of the GCCC to the MFC running cost.

It is planned to publish more detailed revenue data also on this website. The outcome is the same as stated in earlier documents, namely that almost exactly two thirds of PO’s overall revenue (approx. $260,000.-) goes direct into MF, i.e. he lives on one third. Only his main working tool (computer) is paid for by MF also when used for private matters which, however, make up only a few percent of the software.

An increasingly realistic question concerns what will happen in the "post PO era", when the two income streams from overseas (age pension and superannuation) are cut. This question will soon be tackled as Project “MF-QV” (Mudgeeraba Foundation – Quo Vadis).


Latest Updates for 2014/15, 2015/16 & 2016/17

Donations in fiscal year 2014/15 : $51,700 -- to 13 beneficiaries.

Donations in fiscal year 2015/16 : $50,100 -- to 14 beneficiaries.

Donations in fiscal year 2016/17 (to 31/12/16) : $24,000 -- to 7 beneficiaries.


THE MUDGEERABA FOUNDATION   -   Trustee: Mudg Pty. Ltd. / Director: Dr Peter Ochsenbein
Phone: 07 5530-4907      
©2017 Mudg Pty Ltd