April 2017

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April 2017

News & Notices

Regional Section Agreements

Mark Shanda & David Grindle

USITT is happy to announce that after more than a year of working with the leadership of our Regional Sections, we are close to finalizing Affiliate or Licensing Agreements with each of them. Why is this important?

As USITT has changed over the years, so has the law. Our legal counsel, in a general review of operations, noted almost three years ago that we needed to develop a legal agreement between the National organization and the sections. USITT sections go back almost to the founding of the Institute and have been and remain a vital part of our organization. Currently legal minds believe that if there is an affiliate organization using the name of a larger national organization, there must be a formal agreement between the two.

In an effort to accommodate the needs of our sections, USITT worked with our legal counsel to develop two agreements known as the Affiliate Agreement and the Licensing Agreement. Both Agreements have in common the biggest requirement, that anyone using the name USITT use it for the tax-exempt purposes that USITT was founded on. This was the largest legal issue. Both Agreements allow the sections to use USITT logos and name in marketing; again, something that has been going on for a long time, but legally protected by a formal agreement.

The Licensing Agreement stops there. It was designed for our sections that have a large structure and the ability to handle the financial and paperwork challenges of a non-profit organization. The Affiliate Agreement goes further and benefits our small sections.

In addition to the legal issues, the Affiliate Agreement allows those sections the ability to fall under the umbrella of USITT’s charitable status. This allows them to receive tax deductible donations for their section. Gifts can be made to the section or through the USITT National Office. Affiliates also receive liability insurance in a group policy which makes it much more affordable than purchasing it on their own.

Finally, if an affiliate section wishes, USITT National can file the section’s annual tax return on their behalf. This isn’t a requirement, but an option.

All sections must provide proof each year that they have filed their tax return, which for most is a simple online filing. With that proof we then know that everyone is in good standing with the IRS.

As USITT grows we become, by our very growth, a more complex organization legally. Much appreciation is owed to the leadership of the various sections for their work in aligning bylaws, sheparding agreements, and helping us all stay abreast of the legal issues.