Friday, November 30, 2012

Members Only grants?

Our local unit offers grant program for teachers to provide some additional funding for their classrooms.  Can we require that the teachers be members as a condition of the grant?
I recommend against such a condition.  Under the Internal Revenue Code, organizations that are tax exempt under either Section 501(c)(3) or (c)(4) of the code are supposed to operate for the benefit of the public at large and not for their members. 

Accordingly there’s a risk that if the IRS were to audit your local unit, the grant program would be viewed asan “inurement” or benefit to the member and not a benefit for the general public. Of course you can certainly encourage the teachers to join, pointing out among other things that more members increases your unit’s capacity to provide the grant program, but I’d recommend against including membership as a requirement. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

PTA liability for accident?

Our local unit recently sponsored an event that wasn’t at the school, and unfortunately a child was injured.  Is the PTA still liable for the injuries?  If the PTA is liable will our insurance still cover us even though the event was off school grounds?

Whether the PTA is liable for the injuries will depend on exactly what happened.  For example, if PTA volunteers were not providing proper supervision and children ran into each other causing the injuries, the PTA might be liable. 

On the other hand, if the injury resulted from a defect at the facility where the event took place, the owners of the facility are more likely the liable party.  In any event, your question illustrates the importance of the PTA carrying proper insurance. 

If this was a PTA sponsored and organized event and the PTA was in fact at fault, the PTA’s insurance company – and not the PTA’s bank account – will be responsible for paying for any damages, regardless of where the event took place.  

It’s also a good idea when arranging an event such as you describe to make sure that the facility has adequate insurance, and if possible to have the PTA named as an additional insured under the facility’s insurance company.  That way you’re covered regardless of which party is determined to be at fault.