MISSION AND GOALS
The Finance Committee has general oversight responsibility for all of MARAC's financial matters. The committee has the following specific responsibilities:
Act as advisor to the MARAC Treasurer.
Establish and revise MARAC financial policies and procedures, as necessary.
Review quarterly financial reports prepared by the MARAC Treasurer.
Approve major contracts involving the expenditures of MARAC funds.
Review the final financial reports from all MARAC semi-annual meetings.
Request and/or perform an annual audit of MARAC's financial records and have the results reported in writing to the MARAC Treasurer who will, in turn, report all findings to the Steering Committee.
Request an annual federal tax return be completed.
Approve all unbudgeted expenditures in excess of $500 and forward requests to the Steering Committee for final approval.
Maintain MARAC's sales tax exemption in all jurisdictions in our region from which they have been obtained.
Consider all matters referred by the Steering Committee, MARAC Treasurer, or the MARAC membership.
Similarly, the Finance Committee strives to:
- Maintain the tax-exempt status of MARAC as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
- Maintain the sales tax-exemption status of MARAC in all jurisdictions in the region.
- Streamline current accounting practices.
- Maintain a "watchful eye" on the financial structure of MARAC.
The Finance Committee consists of three members appointed by the MARAC Chair, the MARAC Treasurer, who also serves as Chair of the committee, and one (1) Member-At-Large for a total of five (5) members. Committee members shall serve two-year staggered terms and may be reappointed.
The MARAC Treasurer will keep a written report of all activities and submit a combined Treasurer/Finance Committee report to the MARAC Steering Committee prior to each of its quarterly meetings. The Finance Committee may submit a separate report to the Steering Committee if and when it finds it necessary.
In 1996 the Steering Committee approved a document entitled, "Guidelines for Reimbursement and Budget Requests" and has updated this document as needed. These guidelines are used by Steering Committee members and their committees when requesting reimbursements for official MARAC activities and for devising annual budget requests. These guidelines are also used by workshop instructors and scholarship recipients to determine appropriate expenses for reimbursement.
The Finance Committee's budget template is used by the Local Arrangement Committee (LAC) in the preparation of financial information pertaining to MARAC's semi-annual meetings. The budget is submitted to the MARAC Vice Chair and Treasurer for preliminary review seven to nine months before the conference is scheduled.
The Finance Committee highly encourages LAC members to consult the budget sections of the MARAC Meeting Policy Manual and to consult with the MARAC Treasurer on all financial matters associated with the semi-annual meetings.
The MARAC administrative budget for the current fiscal year is available for review on the MARAC website.
Examples are provided in the Appendix for the following:
- Guidelines for reimbursement
- Sample letter seeking reimbursement
- Quarterly finance report.
- Semi-annual meeting budget
- Annual audit procedures and form
The reserve fund was set-up in the late 1980s. The fund was to cover annual operating expenses if needed. The fund has increased as MARAC's operating expenses have increased.
In 1993, the Finance Committee suggested that a percentage (20%) of the profits from the semi-annual meetings be used to finance meeting scholarships. An ad hoc committee was appointed by Lucious Edwards, MARAC Chair, to make recommendations. The MARAC Treasurer, Jim Byers, served as chair of this committee. In 1994, the MARAC scholarship proposal was passed. In 2013, Steering Committee approved a plan whereby 20% of profits from the semi-annual meetings would be deposited in the educational endowment at the conclusion of the fiscal year, and an additional 20% would be set aside for scholarships during the following fiscaly year.
In 1996, the Finance Committee proposed guidelines for requesting reimbursements and for devising committee budgets.
In 1999, the income and expenses of the annual conferences were included in the Treasurer's quarterly report and checks were written out of the main MARAC account instead of each LAC setting up separate, temporary accounts. Conference expenses were not to be covered by the reserve fund.
When the organization hired an administrative services firm to help MARAC manage its accounts, initially all bookkeeping and check depositing functions were turned over to the new firm. After approximately one year, the Treasurer took back these functions from the firm. The MARAC Treasurer began a relationship with the firm whereby the administrator received all monies and credited the payments to individual members using the membership database while the Treasurer double-checked the receipts and credited them to the various accounts in a financial database. All checks received were deposited and all bills were paid by the MARAC Treasurer. Early in 2009, the relationship with the firm handling MARAC administration was ended.
Funds for an endowment fund were first set aside in the late 1990s. The funds were first invested in a savings account and later in certificates of deposit (CDs). After obtaining 501(c)(3) status from the Internal Revenue Service, it was suggested by the Finance Committee and adopted by the Steering committee to broaden MARAC's educational base through the use of the endowment fund. In Fall 2000, MARAC Steering Committee chair Jim Byers appointed an ad hoc Development Committee to look into ways of developing an educational endowment fund and expanding it through the use of investment accounts. The MARAC Educational Endowment Fund was established in 2001. By 2012, the fund exceeded $100,000.
In 2009, MARAC entered into a hosting agreement with Dickinson College, and the official mailing address and administrative functions of the organization were moved to the college. Through this agreement, the MARAC Administrator is an employee of Dickinson College. The MARAC Treasurer receives a quarterly invoice to reimburse Dickinson College for all expenses, including Administrator salary, printing costs, and postage. The hosting agreement is renewed on an annual basis.