ANST - SCA Status
eilis at haas.berkeley.edu
Tue Nov 11 10:19:42 PST 1997
At 10:45 PM 11/10/97 -0600, Modius wrote:
>Here is a pass along from Dona Teresa the Society Chatelain
>"We are a 501(c)3 organization as classified by the Federal Government
>through the Internal Revenue Service. That is what gives us non-profit
>status with the IRS. Many, many other organizations in the United States
>also have this status, and it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with
>education. We, as an organization, could never hold another demo ever and it
>would not jeopardize our non-profit status EVER with the IRS! I am a
>Development professional for a living now, and I can assure you that that is
>the case. The BoD and several of the Society officers that I have had the
>good fortune to work with also can confirm this. The many church groups,
>famliy foundations, and service organizations - all of the myriad types of
>organizations that are 501(c)3 organizations - are not required by law to
>perform educational activities, and neither are we.
>However we, as an organization that has at it's core the ideals of sharing
>our love of history with others, have made it an almost moral obligation on
>the part of our members to participate in the educational aspect of what we
>call the Society for Creative Anachronism. That is what is true and right
>for US within our organization. The IRS, I assure, doesn't give a damn one
>way or another. But we sure do - and that is a Good Thing."
>Thus ends the pass along.
I would not ordinarily jump in and contradict someone, but there is serious
misinformation contained in the above statement.
The SCA is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. These are classified as
educational non-profits by the IRS. Religious organizations, family
foundations, and service organizations are also classed as 501 corporations
-- but they are not all 501(c)3. For instance, religious organizations may
be 501(c)3 (religious), but may also be 501(d) and service organizations
(Elks, Moose, etc.) are 501(c)8 or 501(c)10. They are classified
differently from us by the IRS. There are many different classes of
non-profit, and educational is only one of them.
The SCA is organized as an educational corporation -- Section II of our
Articles of Incorporation states: "This corporation is a nonprofit public
benefit corporation and is not organized for the private gain of any
person. It is organized under the Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation Law
for charitable purposes. The purposes for which this corporation is formed
include: a) Research and education in the field of pre-17th-Century Western
Culture. b) Generally, to engage in research, publish material of
relevance and interest to the field of pre-17th-Century Western Culture; to
present activities and events which re-create the environment of said era,
such as, but not limited to, tournaments, jousts, fairs, dances, classes,
et cetera; to acquire authentic or reproduced replicas of chattels
representative of said era; and to collect a library." Our primary purpose
is education. This does not oblige us to demos -- the main education done
by the members of the SCA is the education of other members.
Therefore Teresa is right when she says that we do not have to do demos to
keep our non-profit status, but she is wrong about exactly why that is true
and wrong in some of what she says about non-profit status. I hope that
this is helpful in getting things straight.
--- eilis o'boirne
ex-Director, SCA Inc.
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