Discover le Grand Costumier
Special issue on “Community bonds’’
This article is the first of a series of 4 testimonials by organizations that are currently issuing community bonds as part of a pilot-project coordinated by TIESS (Territoires innovants en économie sociale et solidaire).
What is a community bond?
The issue of community bonds allows non-profit organizations to mobilize new sources of private capital within their support community, ensure their development and strengthen their territorial anchorage. Community bonds are offered to the community without any intermediary and constitute a model of peer-to-peer participative financing, enabling citizens to invest their savings in projects that are important to them.
Community Bonds are debt securities and their characteristics are similar to any bond: a nominal value, a maturity, a remuneration (interest rate), etc. They are accessible to any type of investor, but may be issued only by non-profit organizations.
Used for many years in Ontario, notably by the Center for Social Innovation (CSI) or Solar Share in Toronto, and on a smaller scale in Quebec, they are still poorly known and underexploited. This is why TIESS, an organization of liaison and transfer in social innovation, follows and documents the issuing process of 4 pilot-enterprises to develop tools that will allow the deployment of this new avenue of financing and solidarity investment .
Le Grand Costumier’s community bonds: an opportunity to invest for the preservation of Radio-Canada’s costumes collection
Following the closure of Radio-Canada’s costumer in December 2014, a lot of people, from a variety of sectors and sharing the same desire to preserve this cultural heritage and maintain its accessibility for the artistic community, joined forces in an unusual demonstration of solidarity to save the collection.
Le Grand Costumier is a social enterprise and an non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve the integrity of the costume collection it received from Radio-Canada, to expand it and to manage it for the creative community. Its intent is to share the priceless cultural heritage the collection represents and promote the costume professions through a variety of activities aimed at the community.
Le Grand Costumier offers a costume rental service to professional producers. Its clients are costumers and designers working for media production (television, cinema, advertising and digital media) and the performing arts (theater, dance, cultural events).
Community bonds to finance the restoration of Le Grand Costumier’s costume collection
Emblematic of Quebec’s creativity, le Grand Costumier’s collection includes 90,000 costumes and accessories and is a remarkable showcase of costume design. It is a collection of superior quality, made according to the rules of the art; most fabrics and fittings are natural fibers (sought after by designers for their quality and realism), many accessories are made of genuine materials that are long lasting and can serve a wide range of eras and styles.
However, the quality of the collection requires constant maintenance. Money invested through community bonds will be used to provide human resources and materials needed to restore costumes that need this maintenance to extend their useful life. As Le Grand Costumier already has a fully equipped clothing-shop, work can be done on site and money will be mainly allocated to the hiring of the best costume designers.
The campaign in brief
Le Grand Costumier wants to raise $ 20,000 by issuing 20 bonds worth $ 1,000 each. Bonds have a term of 5 years, are transferable (after 3 years), and offer an annual compound interest rate of 2%. The bonds are non-redeemable before term, so they are illiquid. Bonds are redeemable at maturity to the extent that the repayment does not adversely affect the financial stability of the organization. To manage this risk, Le Grand Costumier will establish a contingency fund with the Caisse d’économie solidaire Desjardins (guaranteed term deposits) to raise at least 35% of the total amount of bonds in 5 years. Launched on October 1st, the campaign ends on November 30th, 2016.
The project will generate several impacts:
- Create added value
The project will make it possible to propose to clients restored costumes, stimulating rentals and reinforcing Le Grand Costumier’s trademark, which is based on quality and diversity. This will also attract new customers looking for a high level of quality and maintenance.
- Ensure the sustainability of the collection and the organization
If the pilot-project is successful, a community bonds issuance could be launched annually to restore lots of costumes and to ensure a high level of quality for the collection, resulting in a positive impact on rentals.
- Consolidate a supporting community
Beyond mobilizing funding, the impact of community bonds is the creation of a supporting community that nurtures the vision of the organization. Investors are stakeholders in the project and will take part in the business discussions of le Grand Costumer. Although no voting rights are granted, investors will be called on an annual basis to share their vision and ideas.
Le Grand Costumier decided to issue community bonds to offer an opportunity to the community to support its mission and to invest in preserving the priceless costume collection of le Grand Costumier, a jewel for Quebec’s culture.
You want to invest ?
Contact Le Grand Costumier before November 30th to obtain the information document and be able to proceed with the purchase of bonds
Marie Houde, executive director
Marie is the executive director of Le Grand Costumier. She worked in the international development sector for nine years before switching to the cultural sector. Driven by a keen interest in the human side of management, she has worked in NPOs for the last 13 years. After receiving a Bachelor of International Studies from Université de Montréal in 2003, Marie did an international cooperation internship in Peru, which strengthened her resolve to contribute to a more equitable world without poverty. She began a career in public education at Oxfam-Québec and began working toward a Master of Administration at the École nationale d’administration publique (ÉNAP) in 2010, receiving her degree in 2012. Marie joined the École nationale de l’humour team in the spring of 2012 as Director of Operations and Financing, where she discovered the wealth offered by, and the need for, artistic creation. She contributed to the comedy school’s structuring and financing efforts, forming a philanthropy committee made up of young businesspeople from Montréal. Her role as general manager of Le Grand Costumier provides a wonderful opportunity to combine her passion for social commitment and culture.
Organization of liaison and transfer for social innovation recognized by the Ministry of Economy, Science and Innovation (MESI), TIESS identifies, inventories, clarifies and systematizes the innovations experienced by social enterprises and social economy organizations in order to promote their dissemination and uptake. TIESS allows a transfer of practical and theoretical knowledge and contributes to the development of Quebec’s territories.