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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - April/May 2005
Thank You, COSCA

I know that there are some skeptics among the clans and societies who wonder what COSCA does for us.  So let me tell you a brief story of the Scottish District Families Association and our link to COSCA.   First, we would not be here at all if it were not for COSCA's support in gathering a small group of us 'orphans' at Grandfather Mountain to see if there was interest in such an organization.

COSCA then assisted us in getting organized with a preliminary constitution, advising us, giving us a corner of their tents at games in our first years, and additionally gave us financial support so that we could start appearing at some of the smaller games and pay for postage, etc, until our membership and treasury was large enough for us to step out on our own.  We have always had the ability to consult with any of the more experienced members of the Council to discuss situations we are not quite sure how to deal with.  Answers to questions and concerns have been given freely and in an extremely timely manner.  Their patience with us neophytes has been fantastic (and there were times I know we required a lot of patience).

The classes and clinics that they sponsor and have sponsored in the past are extremely pertinent to the smooth running of a clan or society.  We've learned about writing newsletters, organizing a 'clan store', district tartans, speaking Gaelic, do's and don'ts in running an organization, etc., etc.  The last COSCA seminar I attended 3 (I believe) years ago was about obtaining a 501(c)(3) for a clan or society.  This status from the IRS is important in that it puts your organization on a level with a charitable organization, and opens the door to all of the rights and priveleges that they have.  It is not easy for an association such as ours to prove to the US Government that we are not simply a social society.  I hadn't even heard the term 501(c)(3) before the seminar, but I followed the instructions given to me (completing the exact paperwork that I needed - which I received at the seminar), getting our members to agree to amending our constitution a bit to fit exactly what the government wanted, on the advise of the seminar instructor, Jim Morton, e-mailing back and forth with him with questions as I completed our application packet, and finally sending our full packet to him, and reworking it with his responses.  Jim had warned me that the IRS would probably send back a list of questions and to let him see what they were before answering them and mailing them back.  And yes, I did get one request from the IRS, which I consulted with him on and returned.  Yesterday I received in the mail a fat letter with the preliminary sentence 'We are pleased to inform you...'

We are a fairly young organization in comparison to most of you, but people running the clans and societies are continually changing, which means people going into positions who also are sometimes not as knowledgeable as their predecessors.  COSCA is a great resource for you, too.  If you have an issue or concern you're wrestling with the Council is there to assist you, and they are always looking for other ways in which they can assist all of us in running and advancing our organizations.

Judi Lloyd

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