The Washington Society of American Foresters Foundation
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Common Questions and Responses
What is the WSSAF Foundation?
The Foundation is being created to provide scholarships for forestry students and as a source of funds for other purposes related to forestry education. A gift of $4,500 was made to the WSSAF Executive Committee in 2002. Rather than using the funds as a resource for a one-time project, the Committee believes WSSAF will be better served by using the funds to establish a forestry eduction and information trust account.
Will it be necessary to change the by-laws for WSSAF or undertake other legal steps to establish the Foundation?
The Foundation Scoping Committee met with legal consultants to determine if all legal requirements in Washington State for charitable foundations and trusts are met. WSSAF's status as a 501 (c3) entity met the obligations within this state for establishing such a foundation. The current WSSAF by-laws permit the Executive Committee to create a foundation without any statute changes. The Executive Committee must adopt a charter.
Will this foundation conflict with the national Foresters' Fund?
We do not believe so. Oregon SAF has successfully dealt with this question for 17 years. Their fundraising efforts include both the national foresters' fund and the OSAF Foundation. For example, at their annual meeting they have raffles and auctions for the national foresters' fund the same way as WSSAF currently does. They also have a specific raffle or auction item for the OSAF Foundation. Neither Oregon nor the National SAF office has observed conflicts between the two funds. The sources of funds for the Foundation are in the nature of long-term annuities as well as annual cash contributions.
What types of projects will the Foundation support?
As per the charter, the Foundation will be used to support scholarships for students attending forestry schools and to provide funding for other educational projects.
Scholarships will be provided to students attending forestry schools accredited under SAF guidelines. The focus will be on schools in Washington State. However, the Charter is broad enough to allow the Trustees to recognize and support students from Washington State who may be attending non-Washington schools, for example, for an advanced degree not available within Washington state. All SAF-accredited Washington state institutions of forestry education will be invited to make this opportunity known to their students including those offering bachelor degrees, forest technician certification, and advanced degrees.
The Foundation Charter places the responsibility with the Board of Trustees to make equalized distributions of scholarships between grade levels and types of schools No scholarships will be awarded until the fund balance has reached $20,000. The scholarships will be paid from the earnings or revenue from the Foundation assets; the principle may not be used for scholarships. Scholarship payments will, in most instances, be made directly to the schools at the time tuition payments are due. The Charter and draft by-laws give the Board of Trustees latitude to make payments to students when that is the more effective or efficient form of payment.
Educational grants will be provided to WSSAF chapters, the Executive Committee, or other entities for educational projects. The WSSAF Fair Display is one example of a project that could apply for a grant. Assistance with expenses for Chapter student field days or other such projects would also be eligible grant types. The Board of Trustees will have the responsibility to set the criteria for grants. The WSAF Executive Committee believes that scholarships should have the priority over educational grants. Therefore, educational grants will not be offered until the fund reaches $30,000.00 The grants would be paid from the earning or revenue from the Foundation assets; the principle may not be used for grants.
Where and how will the Foundation assets be managed?
The Foundation Charter puts responsibility for management of the Foundation assets under the oversight of a five-member Board of Trustees. They will have responsibility to determine a safe investment strategy for the Foundation assets. Once the Foundation is underway regular reports will be available on the fund balance and performance.
The draft by-laws clarify some of the responsibilities and provisions for management of the assets of the Foundation. for example, Article Six speaks of the sub-committees that the Board may establish to manage the Foundation. No number of sub-committees is set, giving the Board latitude to use the most advantageous assistance in managing the asset.
What is the Foundation's fund balance?
On July 26, 2002 the WSSAF Committee Treasurer was instructed to move the funds to the society's money-market reserve account and note the interest for that amount separate from the reserve account's general interest income. As of November 1, 2003 the Foundation balance is $4,540.00. Small beginnings but higher than the $3,000.00 OSAF started with 17 years ago and their current balance is approximately $216,500.00 with average earnings of $12,000.00 for scholarships and grants.
How can I contribute to the Foundation?
You can contribute to the Foundation in a variety of ways including donating appreciated assets such as stocks; giving annual cash donations; donating land or other assets or bequests made through a will or an estate; and encouraging others to support the Foundation. If you are making a cash donation, don't forget to ask your employer if your contribution is eligible for matching funds. All members of WSSAF are members of the Foundation.
I'm not a member of WSSAF. May I make a contribution?
Absolutely. Please contact the Northwest Office at the address or phone listed below.
Are my donations tax-deductible?
Your gift to the WSSAF Foundation is tax-deductible and may have other tax advantages.
Whom do I contact for further information?
Contact any member of the WSSAF Executive Committee or the SAF Northwest Office, 4033 SW Canyon Road, Portland, OR 97221; 503.224.8046.