Manchester groups eye merger

The Manchester Community Council (MCC) and Manchester Community Association (MCA) may be merging together for the benefit of Manchester residents, according to Bob Ballard, past chair of the MCC.

Ballard said the executive board of the MCC met in early November to discuss the idea of merging with the MCA to take advantage of its 501(c)3 tax-exempt status.

According to the IRS, “The exempt purposes set forth in Section 501(c)(3) are charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.

“The term charitable is used in its generally accepted legal sense and includes relief of the poor, the distressed, or the underprivileged; advancement of religion; advancement of education or science; erection or maintenance of public buildings, monuments, or works; lessening the burdens of government; lessening of neighborhood tensions; elimination of prejudice and discrimination; defense of human and civil rights secured by law; and combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency.”

However, the IRS also states “The organization must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests, such as the creator or the creator’s family, shareholders of the organization, other designated individuals, or persons controlled directly or indirectly by such private interests.”

Nonprofit corporations cannot campaign or lobby for or against political candidates. Taxes must be paid on any profits the nonprofit organization makes.

The MCC’s current mission states “The MCC will promote a sense of community by identifying, promoting, and conveying community concerns and issues to the Board of County Commissioners, and advise the citizens of the County’s land use plans, policies and actions. The MCC will also work independently to achieve results on issues within the Manchester Subarea.”

Since most of the MCC’s business revolves around land use issues, the Council is ineligible for tax-exempt status on its own. However, the MCA focuses predominately on community and recreation issues and has tax-exempt status which allows it to become the recipient of charitable grants.

Ballard said recent efforts of the MCC have expanded to become rather broad-based in nature and fit within the charter of the MCA, which calls for the sponsorship and promotion of events that “benefit the community of Manchester, WA, giving local residents opportunities to get together, have fun and celebrate the culture of their hometown.”

Ballard said the MCA would become a parent organization which managed the treasuries of the individual sub-groups, possibly including the MCC, Crime Prevention Committee, Historical Society, Recreational Activities Group — the former role of MCA — and any other groups as appropriate. Regular dues collections from both groups would support administrative needs such as room rent and office supplies for each group.

Special events would need to be funded by the individual groups. The parent MCA organization would be composed of representatives from each sub-group and would carefully administer the allocation of monies using separate budgeting/accounting for each group, with funds held in one overall account and one treasurer.

A showing of hands in consideration of the general concept when it was proposed at the MCC’s meeting in November resulted in the majority being in favor, with one no vote expressing concern over the ability of the groups to individually raise and control funds for special projects.

A formal proposal may be available in time for the next MCC meeting on Jan 24 at 6:30 in the Manchester Library.

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