Why is NESAF incorporating?
The Society of American Foresters is 121 years old and the New England Society of American Foresters is 102. In both cases, a small group of dedicated professionals has grown over the decades into very large and complicated non-profit businesses. What was once a single entity, now is composed of state societies, divisions and chapters. Even though NESAF has grown and evolved and is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit, we are not incorporated or directly insured. In fact, almost all SAF state societies are not incorporated or insured. During our growth, laws regarding non-profits and business have changed dramatically. Simply put, in the current unincorporated status, NESAF’s assets are exposed to loss AND our volunteers are exposed to lawsuit. Furthermore, the conglomeration of our divisions and chapters does not meet the current laws governing non-profit businesses. And finally, our organization and our volunteers are not insured against liability lawsuits.
Click here to review a SAF briefing paper on incorporation and insurance
What is happening to rectify the issue?
Within the last 5 – 10 years the national SAF began to recognize that there were significant issues with how the non-profit “child” organizations (state societies) were operating financially. Some state societies and their subunits, including NESAF, were having issues with simple tasks such as opening bank accounts. In July of 2021 Terry Baker, SAF CEO recommended action to the SAF Board. The Board subsequently recommended to the House of Society Delegates (SAF State Society Chairs) that all state societies become incorporated and insured and that the process be shepherded and initially paid for by SAF. At the September 16, 2021 NESAF Executive Committee meeting the issues involved were discussed and it was unanimously agreed that NESAF should “continue to work with national to implement recommendations on incorporation and directors/officers’ insurance”. In November, then Chair William Hill, Chair-Elect Diana Frederick and Treasurer Donn Downey met with SAF personnel to begin the process of incorporation. It is estimated that NESAF will be incorporated sometime in 2022. Bylaw changes to reflect incorporation will need to be voted upon by the membership.
Click here to view a video about the Appalachian SAF journey into incorporation (16 min)
Who is paying for this?
The SAF will handle all of the legal machinations of incorporation and will pay the initial costs. NESAF will be responsible for continued annual costs. Directors and Officers insurance will be purchased by the national SAF for each state society such as NESAF who then will be billed on a membership prorated basis.
How will this all happen and what are the steps?
As noted above, NESAF leadership has met with and will continue work with SAF national to implement incorporation. There are specific steps that SAF has mapped out for the process to take place.
Click here to review the steps involved to bring NESAF and other state societies into incorporation.
The NESAF Executive Committee will keep you updated on the development of incorporation. If you have questions contact: