MARAC Finance Committee
Mission and Goals
The Finance Committee has general oversight responsibility for all of MARAC's financial matters. The Finance Committee has the following specific responsibilities:
- Act as advisor to the Treasurer.
- Establish and revise MARAC financial policies and procedures.
- Review quarterly financial reports prepared by the Treasurer.
- Approve major contracts involving the expenditures of MARAC funds.
- Review the final financial reports from all MARAC conferences.
- 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.
- Once obtained, maintain MARAC's sales tax exemption in all jurisdictions in our region.
- Consider all matters referred by the Steering Committee, MARAC Treasurer, or the MARAC membership
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 At-Large Steering Committee member for a total of five members. Committee members shall serve two-year staggered terms and may be reappointed.
The 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.
The MARAC Archives holds documentation dating to 1977, written by either the Chair or the Treasurer, that refers to a budget committee. In 1978, MARAC Chair Barbara Hearn expressed an interest in calling the Budget Committee an "ad-hoc" committee; she remarks in a memo that it was known previously as a "special committee." In January 1979, Hearn asked the MARAC Treasurer, Peter Parker, to have the Budget Committee formulate the 1978-1979 budget.
No documentation exists concerning a budget committee from 1980-1984. There is no mention of a functioning Finance or Budget Committee even during the budget crisis of 1984. The status of the Finance Committee as a standing committee in MARAC was not clearly established until May 1985, when a fully revised MARAC constitution was approved by the membership. The Finance Committee has been active since that point in time in developing the annual budget and providing advice to the MARAC Treasurer.
A few noteworthy activities of the Finance Committee:
- 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 conferences 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 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 that continues today with our current administrator. The administrator receives all monies and credits the payments to individual members using the membership database while the treasurer double-checks the receipts and credits them to the various accounts in a financial database. All checks received are deposited and all bills are paid by the MARAC Treasurer.
- 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.
Guidelines and Templates
In 1996, the Steering Committee, approved a document entitled, "Guidelines for Reimbursement and Guidelines for 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.
The Finance Committee's budget template [.xls spreadsheet] is used by the Local Arrangement Committee (LAC) in the preparation of financial information pertaining to MARAC's semi-annual conferences. The budget is submitted to the 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 Spring 2004 MARAC Conference Policy Manual found on pages 7-9 and 43-47.
If a check written to MARAC is returned due to insufficient funds (a bounced check), MARAC's bank charges the organization a returned check fee. MARAC requires the person responsible for that check not only to make payment to MARAC promptly either by replacement check or by credit card for the original charge, but also to pay an additional $15 to MARAC to cover the bank fee. All membership services to the individual will be suspended until payment is received and successfully deposited.
Long-Range Plans and Goals
- To maintain the tax-exempt status of MARAC as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
- To maintain the sales tax-exemption status of MARAC in all jurisdictions in the region.
- To grow and strengthen the endowment fund used for educational purposes.
- To streamline current accounting practices.
- To maintain a "watchful eye" on the financial structure of MARAC.
last revised January 2017