On Friday, May 20th, 2016, the president of the administrative region Middle Franconia in Bavaria, Dr. Thomas Bauer, signed the certificate of recognition of the FEAT foundation, therefore granting it a legal personality in its foundation statutes from May 11th, 2016, FEAT commits to the individual nurturing of young, highly-gifted talents.
It is headquartered in Nuremberg. Its full name is: Foundation for Exceptional Abilities and Talents (© FEAT-Stiftung).
FEAT helps exceptionally gifted children and teenagers in the area of natural and social sciences, technology and economy, arts and culture put their abilities and skills to the service of the common good by providing them material and incorporeal support. Its talent development goals notwithstanding, FEAT intends to donate the necessary pedagogical material to schools as part of its social mission. In doing so, FEAT relieves some of the burden of individual parents with below-average income in order to help their school-age children embark on a path towards stable development.
The highest-level administrative organ is the Foundation Council, which, together with the Board of Directors, is authorized to manage and conduct all foundation business and represent the foundation with regards to third parties and national as well as international authorities without restrictions.
Board of Directors
LP is appointed as president of the Board of Directors. Dr. Schmitt is appointed vice-president. Based on the project description, both determine the main focus of the foundation in terms of concept, content and methodology as well as the beginning and end of individual measures and the necessary budget for such measures.
Project Advisory Council
The scientific advisory council will convene in a meeting chaired by LP to support all project stakeholders once per year.
FEAT appoints Dr. M. Norbert Schmitt as fund manager, who, in his capacity as attorney of law, fiscal consultant and business graduate will manage and monitor all investments and financial assets (where necessary in cooperation with auditors), thus ensuring sustainable fulfillment of the foundation's objectives. The imperative of capital stock preservation is the main objective. This imperative is as follows: "The endowment capital must be preserved in its undiminished total amount!"
The professed responsibility of the fund manager includes the critical ascertainment of the theory and practice of sustainable investment options to secure the economic goals of FEAT by investing in sustainable financial assets according to the principles and goals of the foundation.
Context of the Foundation
Especially in Central Europe, demographic change has led to an increased brain drain and emigration of skilled professionals. At the same time, there is an influx of millions of refugees without prospects. Moreover, there is a political unwillingness to invest in the talents of the highly gifted.
"There have always been highly gifted children in all walks of life. In the Federal Republic of Germany, the opinion has prevailed for many decades now that it is not necessary to cater to their needs." Dr. Annette Heinbokel
(European Council for High Ability).
This results in an 'intelligence void' that is in stark contrast to the invisible bevy of brilliant minds scattered among the masses or our society Undoubtedly, it is easier to devote resources to the disabled, which ultimately is the result of the machinery of domination of our social structures.
Akin to how knowledge of the traditions and defining achievements of other peoples are key to understanding different cultural groups, successful communication can only take place with deference and respect for each individual. Businesses can only succeed and yield profit if they grow on soil interspersed with intercultural competence, the indispensable prerequisite for cooperation free from stereotypes and rivalries.
Among others, the FEAT Foundation cooperates with foundations, institutes, companies, schools and universities, public and private individuals, LP seeks dialog with engaged partners and further solicits financial commitment. Sponsors, donors, and contributors can then see the results FEAT was able to achieve with their support.
Framework for Action
Already during the inception of the foundation, the issue of which affirmative actions are appropriate has been a core issue. They continue to be in the focus to this day. For example, authorities, ministries, and governments are informed about new insights to secure their goodwill. In other words: FEAT actively participates in all social reformation processes by multiplying experiences and knowledge with the aid of new education initiatives to later forward them to key stakeholders within the respective public authority.
Code of Conduct
This concept is based on the respect for the individuality of each person. Respecting human dignity also implies the acknowledgment of both exceptional talents and also personal weaknesses.
Already at birth, a highly gifted child stands out with its unique personality. During childhood, this divergent behavior and way of seeing the world becomes more and more apparent. To date, however, highly gifted, exceptional talents are completely misunderstood, resulting in social isolation and misguidance. FEAT, on the other hand, explores and caters to all development possibilities: physical, psychological, cognitive, social, emphatological, sensomotric and emotional! Here, striving for integration is as much a priority as nurturing these exceptional talents themselves. FEAT does not see itself as a boot camp for brainiacs focused on top performance; it is not an institution that breeds a highly intelligent elite of eggheads. FEAT is the first and to date only place new young Einsteins, Galileis and Archimedeses, who would otherwise be deprived of opportunity, can turn to. It is a school for unique individuals in which the juvenile talents with their fragile souls - and dignity - are, with the greatest adamance, the top priority!
The rich variety highly gifted people carry in themselves, not the least shaped by their social, cultural and religious environment from birth, requires highly individualized attention. Young people and children with a different degree of exceptional talent, from different backgrounds, at different stages of development, with different interests, preferences and disinclinations can only live, learn and work together in an environment based on highest differentiation and optimal individualization. "Learning is not a passive activity, but an active process during which the brain of the student changes constantly" (Manfred Spitzer, brain researcher). The conventional school system however, is focused on the passive nature of learning as the external pressure to perform merely stifles and, consequently, deforms those 'exceptional minds' trapped within the standardized curricula of the system aimed at 'forcing them into line'. No one can grow a giant bamboo in a greenhouse laid out for vegetables! In nature, development cannot be accelerated, only inhibited. (Clover does not grow faster if you pull it- at most, you will damage them. Similarly, fertile soil will not become more fruitful by overfertilizing it - quite the contrary!). The acceptance of such natural conditioning is the standard gauge that measures all nurturing. Wherever the laws of nature are not heeded to achieve larger gain, whenever someone tries to outwit or strain it beyond measure, damage will be the result - never benefit! Consequently, the bar for the proper promotion of the highly gifted has to be set even higher. There are two reasons for this:
Their god-given exceptional talent has to be acknowledged by enabling due aspirations.
We should be grateful for their humble existence among the about 7.5 billion humans that walk the face of the earth.
If one considers that during the whole of the 20th century only half a dozen brilliant minds, that is,a mere 6 scientists!, laid the groundwork for today's prosperity, one will be quick to understand the significance of the mission that FEAT has commended itself to.
FEAT only employs qualified teachers who, on the one hand live up to the standards of education for the highly gifted and, on the other hand, who see themselves as a supporting accompanist under the premise, that the student may well prove to be wiser than the teacher. This teaching methodology accommodates the natural learning processes of highly gifted students, who will concentrate on finding a solution to the problem at hand in such a relentless way that they will only 'take a break' once it has been solved without further doubt..., only to delve into the next challenge soon after. This is much more than mental acrobatics, it is work in the truest sense of the word. If polarization of attention can already be observed in 'normal' children with regards to their pursuit of their own interests or desire to quench the thirst for knowledge, how much less forceful assertion will be needed with a highly gifted child, who learns and lives with great determination and zeal from the onset.
Rejection of Stereotypes
Highly gifted people are not as difficult as their stereotype has made them out to be. If a highly gifted child is given the opportunity to find complete expression of its intellectual abundance, one will be quick to discover that it also has above- average empathy and social understanding. Even the well-known proverb "The wiser head gives in"implies this misconception. Giving in often ends inresignation, which is the result of the lack of acknowledgment. It is, after all, the one who is underestimated who is the wiser one!
FEAT sees its highly gifted students as architects of their own knowledge as they mobilize their exceptional intellectual talents on their own initiative, steering them in the right direction and putting this talent into good use themselves - provided they are allowed to do so in an adequate learning environment. Their place of learning and intellectual development is free from pressure and fear. Persistent power relations from the olden days are given as little space as nepotism, greed for gain and destructive jealousy - which is none. By successively dissolving normative & pedagogic patterns, FEAT pursues a postulate focused on enabling a teaching method that embraces learning from within, based on self-initiative.
Dimidium facti, qui coepit, habet; sapere aude, incipe!(Horace)