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Merging our PTA & PTO into one organization

9 years 3 months ago #160212 by susanpim
I am the Co-President of our school's "PTO" (Endowment Fund) - which is a 501(c)(3). We also have a PTA. From what I can tell of the history of the school until about 20 years ago, we only had a PFG. At some point, I guess in the early 90s, the PFG split into a PTA and Endowment Fund. The Endowment Fund's charter is to provide a stable funding source for the supplemental staff (Librarian, IAs, etc.) that we have at our public school. We have an operating account and a restricted endowment account.

Over the past couple of years some of us believe that the burden of having 2 parent organizations is too much for our community. Between the 2 organizations we raise about $200K per year for staff and programs - but you see the same core of about 10-12 parents at the two monthly meetings and the volunteer base shrinking.

A small group of us are researching the pros and cons of merging the two organizations and infusing new life into the volunteer community. From what I have read here, it seems that the procedure would be to dissolve the PTA and amend/broaden the Endowment Fund bylaws/charter to include the activities of the PTA.

Can anyone confirm, guide, or share about their similar experience? Also, does anyone know how easy or hard it is to change the name of our PTO? Calling it the endowment fund would not be most representative for a merged organization.
9 years 3 months ago - 9 years 2 months ago #160245 by Rose H
From talking with our editors, I've learned that t's not very common for a PTO or PTA to raise that kind of money to support staff positions. It's more common to have two organizations, an education foundation (like the endowment fund) that focuses on bigtime fundraising, and a PTO or PTA that focuses on building parent involvement and creating a supportive school community. My concern would be that the PTO would be consumed by the fundraising need and the other very important activities would disappear. But if they don't have enough volunteers for both, I can see why they would want to consolidate. It's possible to change the mission statement and name of your organization. It probably would be worthwhile to call the IRS at 1-877-829-5500. and/or consult an attorney who is experienced in 501c3's.

Hope that helps,
Rose C.
9 years 3 months ago #160259 by susanpim
Hi Rose,

Thanks for your comments. I want to clarify the fundraising and see if that changes the position of the admins. The current pto/fendowment fund raises about $120k per year, and 35k of that is a "grant" from our PTA. The other sources of our money are small fundraisers such as book fairs, box tops, etc. and a direct appeal that raises about $80k. On the other hand, our PTA raises about $95k per year from a single fundraiser - the annual walkathon. The pto pays for supplemental staff salaries. The PTA pays for programs and equipment (e.g., assemblies, reading programs, computer equipment).

Again, one of our primary concerns is that our volunteer base is dwindling, even with enrollment increasing. It seems easier to me to have everyone together rather than competing for the same resources.

More thoughts and input appreciated. Thank you.
9 years 3 months ago #160318 by mum24kids
I haven't done what you are thinking about doing. But, I can definitely see where it would seem to make sense for you, especially given how your fundraising is split up. I think there are other PTOs on here that pay salaries as well as do the assemblies, reading programs, etc. all within their single organization.

If you're incorporated, whatever state office handles corporations in your state could guide you in terms of how to change the name. Generally speaking, I don't think it's hard, but there's some paperwork and fees involved. In my state, you would have to file an amendment to the articles of incorporation. Another way of doing it would be to keep your corporate name as it, but file a "DBA" (doing business as) name, which would be the name everyone knows you as. There's a fee associated with both types of changes, though. If you're not a corporation, you're probably an "unincorporated association," and are a little less likely to have to file anything with the state. There's usually a box on your tax return to let the IRS know you have changed your name; you check the box and attach documentation to your return. As long as you are not changing the type of structure (i.e. corporation vs. unincorporated association), it shouldn't be a problem for the IRS.

But, you have to look at the purpose of your organization as originally filed with the IRS and see if that purpose still fits with what the organization will be doing after the merge. You will need to notify the IRS if your mission is significantly different and it may have an impact on your exemption status. As Rose suggested, probably worth a phone call to the IRS.
9 years 2 months ago #160420 by Jennifer W.
Replied by Jennifer W. on topic Re:Merging our PTA & PTO into one organization
We did it last year. We raise about $300-350K per year. We dissolved out PTA and drafted new bylaws and changed the name of the Foundation to reflect is broader mission. It has worked great and we are very happy that we did it!
9 years 2 months ago #160425 by susanpim
Hi Jennifer - are you in California? If so I'd really like to chat more about your process. Any tips or tricks? Filings with Secretary of State?
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