Bulletin September 2006
THE
BULLETIN
Volume 74 | Issue 5
September 2006

Foundation to merge with ACUI

In a move designed to maximize funding for research, scholarships, and other programs, the ACUI Education and Research Foundation’s Board of Directors voted Aug. 2 to dissolve as a separate entity and to move under the organizational structure of ACUI.

“We’re confident that ACUI members will understand and support this change,” said Foundation Board Chairperson Daniel Maxwell. “It’s never easy to admit that your original plan was overly optimistic, but I truly feel that the right thing to do now is to focus on the greater good and to move on.”

ACUI President Bob Mindrum echoed Maxwell’s sentiments, stating: “This was a difficult but wise decision made by veteran ACUI volunteers who understand that ultimately, the goals of the Foundation are much more important than the vehicle used to attain those goals.” 

Background

The ACUI Education and Research Foundation was established in 2003 and kicked off its inaugural year at the annual conference in 2004. The Foundation sought to enhance existing ACUI development activities (e.g., Silent Auction, Fund Run, etc.), while also generating significant new income through corporate support, grants, and an annual giving program. Although ACUI was already an established 501(c)3 organization, it was felt at the time that creating a second, separate 501(c)3 entity would provide the best opportunity for members, corporate partners, and other supporters to give back to the profession and ACUI.

The Foundation did in fact receive some strong initial support, most notably in commitments made by members of the “Founder’s Circle.”  Through the efforts of many dedicated volunteers, and with support from the Central Office staff, there has been increased participation in the annual fund run/walk, the return of the golf tournament, and increased donations in the silent auction program. We have maintained interest in our scholarship programs, explored potential extended relationships with our corporate partners, and focused our energies on potential research in the area of sustainability.

Despite these efforts and the continued enthusiasm surrounding the goals of the Foundation, projected income from corporations and grants simply did not materialize, and donations from members could not make up the difference. After three years of operation, the Foundation Board of Directors concluded that they could not achieve their programmatic goals while also covering their operating costs. After thoughtful review of the facts and the commitment to meeting their overall goals, the Foundation Board of Directors voted unanimously to dissolve as a separate entity and to move under the management and leadership of the Association and the Board of Trustees. In this way, the Foundation’s mission can be more effectively fulfilled by minimizing overhead costs and maximizing the flow of funds to scholarships and other critical activities.

ACUI Executive Director Marsha Herman-Betzen said: “I see this as yet another example of ACUI’s willingness to establish aggressive goals, take calculated risks, monitor performance, and then make changes as necessary based upon actual results. I think this change will allow us to more quickly fund scholarships and pursue important research initiatives.”

What now?

Effective immediately, the assets of the Foundation will transfer to ACUI, as stipulated in the Foundation bylaws. Those assets will be tracked separately from the operating funds of the Association, and will still be used to fund scholarships, research, and other important initiatives. All current scholarships and awards will continue to be supported. In fact, because of the decreased overhead costs, funds will immediately be available to create a new endowed scholarship.

Future contributions will be made payable to “ACUI”; however, these monies will be deposited into the Education and Research Fund and disbursed for scholarships, research, and other designated priorities. Additionally, because ACUI is a 501(c)3 organization, as was the Foundation, future donations to the new ACUI Education and Research Fund may also be tax deductible. Note that each individual’s tax situation will be different based on the allowable level of contribution and other factors. Check with your tax advisor to determine your personal eligibility for tax deduction.

The way in which the development activities for the Association are accomplished will change very little. Members of the Foundation Board will be invited to sit on the Education and Research Fund Program Team. This team will conduct the traditional events at the annual conference, award scholarships, work to establish an annual fund drive, and investigate research opportunities.

In terms of ACUI’s ability to carry on the work of the Foundation, Mindrum stated: “ACUI, like the Foundation, was established as a 501(c)3 corporation, and as such, we can legally do everything that the Foundation could do as a separate organization. While everyone hoped that the Foundation would quickly flourish, the reality is that ACUI is in a much better position to provide the stability and support necessary for the long-term success of the Foundation’s objectives. The dream of endowing awards, establishing scholarships, and funding important research is alive and well. This change merely represents our desire to find the most efficient and effective way of realizing that dream.”

Questions regarding this change may be directed to Maxwell (maxwelld@iupui.edu), Mindrum (mindrum@purdue.edu), or Herman-Betzen (mherman@acui.org).