Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Nondiscrimination Testing for Employers

Council Services Plus has formed a partnership with Watson and West, LLP to assist employers with nondiscrimination testing requirements. We are following the legislation and updates to keep abreast of the mandate. We have the resources and expertise to provide the testing requirements once the rules and regulations are established. It will be imperative for employers to satisfy these rules to avoid penalties under section 2716 of the Public Health Services Act (PHSA).

You are receiving this email as a courtesy to help you and your organization prepare for compliance with this aspect of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

Employers are familiar with Section 105(h) testing for retirement plans. PPACA includes similar testing for group health plans to ensure that highly compensated employees (HCE) do not receive favorable treatment in comparison to rank-and-file employees. The full picture of the impact is not yet available due to administrative reviews by the IRS and other federal government agencies; however, we can anticipate that employer groups with 100 employees or more will be required to perform nondiscrimination testing similar, but not the same as, Section 105(h). Oversight of nondiscrimination testing for health plans is shared by the US Departments of Treasury, Labor and HHS.

At this time, please be aware that nondiscrimination requirements focus on plan benefits, eligibility, premium contribution, and administration of benefits to prohibit employers from granting highly compensated employees health benefits that are more generous than the general population of employees. We anticipate clarification of regulations to be available around May. If you are interested in learning more details of the legislation, or want us to keep you informed regarding updates to the regulations, please feel fre to contact us.

For more information or questions concerning the above, please contact Cathy Connors, at (800) 515-5012 x131; or via email at cconnorscconnors@councilservicesplus.com

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Free Workshop on Special Education Law for Parents and Professional

March 3, 2011
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Southern Tier Independence Center
135 East Frederick Street
Binghamton, NY

This FREE workshop will cover the following 2 topics:

The New IEP: What Parents & Advocates Need to Know
This workshop will provide an overview of the key elements of the new IEP form, which must be used by all school districts for the 2011-2012 school year. We will look at the new IEP as a strategic plan designed for greater student progress and school accountability. Additional tools to enhance parent participation and understanding of the new IEP will also be discussed.

Bullying & Harassment of Students with Disabilities
We all know that the impact of bullying can be devastating, particularly for students with disabilities. New York State and the Office of Civil Rights have recently taken steps to address the increasing problem of bullying and harassment in schools. Learn about these initiative as well as practical strategies for preventing and addressing bullying and harassment at school, and what to do if your child is the bully.

Our speaker Julie Michaels Keegan, Esq. is a special education attorney who has devoted her practice to ensuring that children receive a high quality, appropriate education.

Pizza lunch included

Kindly register for this event by sending an email to: register@familyrn.org with “JMK” in the subject line and your contact information in the body of the email. For additional information, please call (607)432-0001

Presented by The Family Resource Network, Inc., The Southern Tier Special Education Parent Center and The Early Childhood Direction Center at The Southern Tier Independence Center.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

SCNY ED Group Membership Meeting Minutes

Minutes of Full Membership Meeting on February 9, 2010
Beginning at 8:30 am and ending at 10:30am
The meeting was located at the Red Cross Offices, Endicott, NY

  • First on the Agenda was a brief overview of the information presented in December by the Special Projects Committee outlining the information collected to date through the Non-Profit Economic Impact Study for Broome County. A Summary of the full report is available on the groups information site – Hosted by NYCON.
  • We also distributed to all members present an appeal letter titled
    This letter details our need for additional funding for production of the final Executive Summary and presentation piece that will tell the compelling story of the important role non-profits play in our community. SEE BELOW FOR THE LETTER- Please take time to read and consider this fantastic opportunity for even the smallest of us to take part in making our message heard.
  • Discussion centered on the importance of a professional impact piece that will meet the needs of multiple types of Non-Profits and how information can be broken out to demonstrate the variety of services. Also mentioned was the need to ensure the statement is made that these numbers represent only small percentage of the non-profits operating in Broome County. The Steering Committee will have primary responsibility for the production stages and will bring drafts back to the membership as the project proceeds.

Second we looked at the results of the survey that was sent to our membership in order to help give us a direction for the future. (Attachment #2 SEE BELOW)

  • From the information gathered it appeared that our members feel they are receiving benefit from membership and that there is a future role for the group. There was also general support for moving forward with the proposed plan to take the initial steps toward formalizing and implementing a dues structure.
  • Third a conversation on the topics was facilitated by the Steering Committee Chair -
    Discussed were the benefits of taking the next step to formalization and engaging a fiscal sponsor for the organization that would manage any monies collected so that none of the member agencies would have the responsibility of holding funds on behalf of the group. This protects both our membership and the organization. A vote was called for by the Steering Committee Chair, Deborah Fitzgerald, of the members present and by a majority vote it was decided that we would proceed with engaging Innovative Charitable Initiatives Inc. (ICI) which is an organizational component of NYCON. This entity has been set up specifically to assist organizations like ours to operate independently without the need to form its own 501(c)3. It allows us to write independent grants for future projects without jeopardizing any other organizations ability to apply for their own benefit.
  • The Steering Committee will be in charge of submitting our application for services to ICI and will inform the membership of acceptance of the application.
We reviewed the current organizational document (Attachment #3 SEE BELOW)
  • Discussed was the option to establish membership dues. These dues would be used to help fund future programs and focus projects selected by the membership. Concerns were raised that we might lose some of our 70 members if a dues structure was put in place. The point was also raised that many of the member organizations are not currently actively participating in organizational activities. It is the intent that this change will allow us to grow a more active and engaged membership and increase our ability to be a more effective group for all members.
  • Establishing a dues structure requires a change in the current organizational document. Flat rate dues and tiered dues structures were proposed. Votes were called by the Steering Committee Chair on each option. It was decided by a majority vote to establish a flat rate dues structure for the 1st year in the amount of $35.00. It was proposed that we review this structure next year. A date for the implementation of the dues structure will be determined by the Steering committee and the membership will receive advance notification. The Steering Committee will be responsible for making the necessary modifications to the organizational documents prior to presenting them to ICI with our application form.

For your calendar please note future 2011 full membership meetings are scheduled for May 11th , Sept 14th and Dec 7th . At this point the time is still set for 8:30 am. Watch for more information on Topics and locations. Respectfully submitted by Deb Fitzgerald, Steering Committee Chair.

Dear Member,
The SCNY-ED Group Special Projects Committee has been working for over two years on the collection and evaluation of financial impact and human services, quality of life data from our local non-profit community and constructing a powerful picture of the amazing value that each of us in our diversity bring to the people who live and work in our area.
We have a powerful message to share with public policy makers, business leaders, funders and the community at large. We can now demonstrate quantitatively that non-profits are an integral component in providing the highest quality services in a cost effective manner.
Yes, this is something those of us in the field already know but now more than ever we need to highlight and celebrate what we accomplish even in the most difficult of times. Those times when our services are need most. We need to act and the time is now while the information gathered is still relevant enough to influence the decisions of policy makers at both the state and federal level.
How do you become a part? We need you to make a contribution to completing the final presentation piece of this project. The estimated cost is $4500.00 to prepare and print materials that will then be available to make our case in a concrete, fact based format that cannot be easily dismissed.
This is a fantastic opportunity for even the smallest of our local organizations to make a huge impact with a contribution toward the completion of the last phase of this important project. No contribution is too small, be it $25.00 or $1000.00 it all comes together to advance the message that Non-Profits are critical to the fabric of every community. We are an important service business model.
Please reply to Joe Sellepack Special Projects Chair at jsellepack@broomecouncil.net .
Remember to indicate your contribution pledge and your contact information. We will follow up with you. Thank You for being involved.
Deb Fitzgerald, Steering Committee Chair

On-line survey conducted 1/24/11 – 2/4/11 to assess level of interest in the development of a more formalized structure for the South Central New York Executive Directors Association
Responses in bold. Total # of respondents = 19
1. What features of the current SCNYEDA organization have you found useful? (check all that apply)
Professional development for executive directors=10
Opportunities available through NYCONN=10
Organizational development=9
Information about funding opportunities=5
Participation in special projects=5
Media & community relations=4
Information received on special projects=1

2. What additional benefits would be useful for your organization? (check all that apply)
3. Operational collaboration & shared services=12
More positive promotion/representation of NFPs in media=11
Collaborative funding for broader community issues=11
Web-based informational clearinghouse=9
Cooperative purchasing=8
Joint comprehensive advocacy=7
Policy & legislative investigation/action=6
Generation of reports for your use=4
Facilitation of process to develop collaborations through mission-matching=4

4. What maximum annual association fee would you be willing to pay to have these additional services and features available?
$0= 2
“already pay fee to NYCON”=2

5. Do you support the development of a more formalized structure for the NFP executive director group? Yes=8 No=2 Not sure=8 please note there was an error in the presentation slide on Feb 9th where it stated that there were 8 No’s. Making it appear all levels were equal.
If not, please explain why:
• “My interest is in a simple format for Executives to share and learn from each other.”
• “A more formal structure will not change our outcomes.”
• “Need more input as to what ‘more formalized structure’ means.”

6. Do you believe the officers of a more formalized association should be elected by its members?
Yes=14 No=0 Maybe=4 NA=1

7. What questions would you like answered?

  • “As an individual membership 501(c)(6) organization, our needs are different from many nonprofits. We are interested in cost-sharing/expense reducing opportunities.”
  • “I would find it helpful if the group had opportunities for board presidents and officers to take part in some of the workshops and presentations, not only for educational purposes, but to do some outreach and networking.”
  • “What are the professional development opps that have been offered in the Binghamton area? If any of the NYCON HR and/or Financial seminars could be held closer than Buffalo, Albany, or NYC, it would be good. Maybe I just have not seen them.”
  • “Would group consider meeting late in AM? I commute from Oneonta. I am active in NYCON regional group for Delaware, Otsego, & Chenango and would be interested in participating in your group if later start time.”
  • “What is meant by ‘more formalized structure?’”
  • “Why not reach out more to Tioga County (i.e., in the nonprofit survey)?”

South Central New York Nonprofit
Executive Directors Group
May 2008

  • Mission: The mission of the South Central NY Nonprofit Executive Directors Group is to individually and collectively strengthen and empower nonprofit organizations; and to foster a highly valued recognition of the economic and social benefits of the nonprofit sector.
  • Vision:- The vision of the Group South Central NY Nonprofit Executive Directors Group is that there will be a place where nonprofit directors look for professional support and will be the place where the community goes to seek answers to questions about the impact of or the impact on nonprofits
  • Membership: Group membership will consist of 501(C)3 and organizations with similar missions and philosophies. ◦Other types of nonprofits can attend meetings. Membership is limited to Executive Directors.
  • Disclaimer: Group membership does not mean endorsement of a specific position of other members
  • Structure: The South Central NY Nonprofit Executive Directors Group will be guided by a steering committee that will be made up of no more than 8 members selected by the entire group. The steering committee will select a Chair and a Vice Chair from the steering committee group.
  • Terms: Steering Committee members will serve a 2 year term. The group will have governing principles that will guide the steering committee, membership, and meetings
  • Dues: There will be no membership dues but may charge program fees to cover expenses
  • Steering Committee Meetings: The steering committee will meet bi-monthly.
  • Group Membership Meetings: The group will meet as needed and be invited to all program meetings.
  • Group Committees: Standing and ad-hoc committees will be established as determined by the steering committee.
  • Meetings Location: The meetings will rotate among member facilities (including other counties) with opportunity for the host organization to spend 5 minutes learning about that organization
  • Minutes: Minutes will be taken at every meeting and distributed to the group membership.
  • Governing Guidelines: The South Central NY Nonprofit Executive Directors Group will provide an opportunity for networking, sharing, learning, resource development, educational opportunities, community visibility, outreach to elected officials and teamwork.

Steering Committee Membership:
• Annette J. Schweiger, Tioga County Council on the Arts
• Darrell R. Newvine, Family Enrichment Network
• Deborah Fitzgerald, Recess Resources, Inc.
• Dick Squire, ACCORD, A Center for Dispute Resolution, Inc.
• Jennifer Lesko, Broome County Urban League
• Joseph Sellepack, Broome County Council of Churches
• Keith W. Leahey, MSW, Mental Health Association
• Martha C. Brennan, REAP
• Ralph E. Hall, KNOW Theatre
• Robert K. Hanye, A.V.R.E.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

SCNYED Group Important Full Membership Meeting February 9th


Wednesday Feb 9th 8:30
Red Cross, Endicott, NY

This meeting is in response to the discussions at the December 2010 membership meeting regarding the future role of the SCNYED Group and the renewed interest in the group becoming a more active voice/resource for our local Non-Profit community.

The special projects committee was charged with investigating organizational models and options for becoming a more formalized Association. They also prepared a short survey which you were asked to complete this week. Their reports on both the options and the survey results will be presented and the membership will be asked to vote on their preference for future structure of the SCNYED Group.

Together we have already accomplished a significant study that demonstrates the amazing impact that Non-Profits have in our community. It’s time to put that powerful message to work for us. We need to move to the final presentation phase of the study while the data is still relevant. You and your organization can be a part of making it happen. More information on how to be involved will be presented at the meeting.

We WILL be moving forward based on the decision made at this pivotal meeting so be sure that your opinion is heard. Complete the survey and attend the meeting. If you cannot attend the meeting and you have a strong feeling about our future and our structure send an e-mail to Deb Fitzgerald at cubcareus@yahoo.com.

We are only as strong as the commitment of our members and our goal is to represent the interests of those members.