Tustumena 200 board adopts new nonprofit status

Posted: Wednesday, May 13, 2009

While the snow is finally gone, organizers of the Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race know that planning for next year's event begins the day after this year's ends. At a meeting held at the end of April, several changes were made to the race organization that officials hope will be for the better.

"The main purpose of this meeting was to seat the new board and officers and make the transition from a 501(c)(4) to a 501(c)(3) corporation status," said Tami Murray, executive director of the T-200.

According to the IRS Publication 557, in the Organization Reference Chart section, a 501(c)(4) is described as civic leagues, social welfare organizations, and local associations of employees, while a 501(c)(3) is described as religious, educational, charitable, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, to foster national or international amateur sports competition, or prevention of cruelty to children or animals organizations.

"We're still a non-profit, we're just a different status. The 501(c)(3) will allow us to approach more sponsors, ones that only give to 501(c)(3)'s. Also, as a (3), people and companies donating can now more easily write off their donations to the race for tax purposes," Murray said.

As would be expected with changing the T-200's status, there is a fair amount of paperwork to be filled out, according to Murray.

"It's a process to get it changed. We had to rewrite our bylaws to state a few things that weren't in there. We had a four-page set of bylaws, now it's 15 pages, mostly legalese that the state and the IRS want, but now that it's done we can refile," she said.

Once the process is finalized, Murray said the new bylaws would be posted on the T-200's Web site.

Under the new bylaws the T-200 board is to consist of nine members, up from seven, and officers will now be appointed by the board and not the members. Murray said the impetus for these changes was to improve the chances of having enough members at monthly meetings to have a voting quorum.

As to the board members for the upcoming season, they include a mix of old and new blood, according to Murray. Doug Ruzicka and Duane LaFluer will continue to serve a second year of their two-year terms, while newly elected members include: Susan Lacey, Dave Wartinbee, Bill Laughing Bear, Johna Beech as treasurer, Todd Stone as secretary, Gary Katsion as vice president, and Brandi Little as president.

For more information on the Tustumena 200, on the new bylaws or on becoming a T-200 member, visit their Web site at www.tustumena200.com.

Joseph Robertia can be reached at joseph.robertia@peninsulaclarion.com.

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