It’s Thanksgiving, a time we hope everyone has a reason to be thankful. It is sadly also a reminder that material blessings aren’t distributed to assure every person has what they need. Yet we have lived with this truth for all of recorded history. Tolerance of these inequities seems to have become part of human nature. Fortunately, acceptance of this status quo is not.
Having everyone like you, and seeing that everyone is happy is not something to expect if you are a leader. This was sage advice I received from a mentor. As she explained, “The job of a leader is to move organizations forward, that involves change, and change always upsets someone. So no matter how well you try there will be some who want your head on spike.
The holidays are almost upon us and I find myself thinking about those in need and what we can do to help. Being a member of Sertoma my first thought is to those who are hard of hearing or deaf. Did you know that there are more than 50 million people within the United States that suffer some kind of hearing loss? So, over the year you are asked to donate to groups like the Cancer Society, your local historical society, Girl Scout cookies, sporting groups who need money and the list goes on and on. So if you donate to the Sertoma Annual Fund what does the Fund fund? With our FDRs (Fundraising District Representatives) out there promoting the Annual Fund this question has always surprised me. Sertoma is about hearing health so it stands to reason that our annual funds go towards this area. But a more in depth answer would be that WE:
- Give 45 $1,000 Scholarships for hard of hearing or deaf students who have clinically significant bilateral hearing loss. Graduating high school seniors or undergraduate students must be pursuing a four-year degree to apply.
- Give 45 $1,000 Scholarships for graduate students who have been accepted into a graduate level program in audiology or speech-language pathology in the United States.
That is a total of 90 $1,000 Scholarships. Sertoman’s should be very proud that we provide more funds for graduate level study in communicative disorders than any other single organization in the nation. Wouldn’t it be great if we could give out more? Each year we have more than 90 applications (last year we had 592). The challenge is on to make this happen.
But wait that isn’t all.
- Every Sertoma Club can establish a relationship with a non-profit hearing and speech facility. This is called Adopt-an-Agency. This program helps support the professional staff and their programs at these facilities. Each facility can submit a grant for hearing health projects between $2,500 and $5,000. They can also apply for a Professional Education Grant ($425 per fiscal year).
- CELEBRATE SOUND Don’t Walk in Silence® is our new national fund and awareness event to promote hearing health in our communities. Half of the proceeds support’s the local community project(s) and the other half goes to support our scholarships, grants and public awareness campaigns.
- Looping is a technology that has taken Europe by storm. Sertoma has decided to help educate and loop America. A Sound Investment is a public awareness campaign that each club can use. Looping allows hearing assistive devices to serve as wireless loudspeakers, delivering clear, sharp, customized sound right from inside the ears.
- SAFEEars!© is an educational awareness program designed to motivate young people and adults to take action against noise-induced hearing loss.
- Through Hearing Charities of America (a subsidiary of Sertoma), we now have a donation center for hearing aids. You can go to www.hearingaiddonations.org.
Our Sertoma Annual Fund is doing outstanding things for our communities. Please consider a donation, participate in a CELEBRATE SOUND Don’t Walk in Silence event or put on a looping demonstration at a local venue like a church.
As Sertomans we need to get the word out about hearing health. Let’s do this together to make a difference!
Sertoma Senior Vice President
Few words create emotions like this phrase; there is the anticipation in hearing them, and the nervousness in saying them. Yet for all the nervous preparation, is not a positive response expected? Except for when or how he will ask the question, is it really a surprise? By the time we ask this question, it has already been discussed. In most cases the living arrangements and other benefits already taken for a test drive. Yet there remains something special about the moment. Continue reading
Several years ago I served on a task force to revise our club awards structure to reduce the number of awards and to make them more simple and attainable. The members of the task force met several times by conference call over the course of a year and recommended to the Sertoma Board of Directors that we have three basic club awards: Mission; Market development; and Member Services. Continue reading
It is that time of year where channel surfing will provide you an endless series of young girls trapped in a house, wandering in dark parks, with a simple but terrifying message – Get Out – Get Out While You Can. Of course, that message always arrives a moment too late for all but one lucky survivor. Continue reading
Let’s talk about everyone’s favorite topic: the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Several years ago our organization merged Sertoma International and the Sertoma Foundation. All our clubs now fall under the 501 (c) (3) tax status of Internal Revenue Service code. Sertoma, Inc. provides tax-exempt status to each club by virtue of its charter. As such, each club must file Form 990, or Form 990EZ, or 990N annually. These forms report your financial business and reflect the club is still qualified to function as a tax-exempt organization. To determine the required form your club should file, you must figure your annual gross receipts. You may be able to file form 990N if your club’s annual gross receipts are less than $50,000. This is referred to as the e-postcard and is filed electronically. Otherwise you must file a Form 990 or 990EZ annually.
You must file one of the above forms to ensure that you remain tax-exempt and limit your liability for possible taxation of your gross receipts. You can determine your liability on several profit/non-profit websites or consult the IRS’s website. It is extremely important that you file a form every year. The majority of our clubs should be able to utilize either the e-postcard (Form 990N) or Form 990EZ. These are simple and easy to complete and submit. Should your club have large fundraisers or gaming, you will need to probably need to file a Form 990. If you must fill out form 990, (the long form), consider hiring a tax lawyer or CPA to complete the form. If you have questions about this matter, please contact Amy Ellington at headquarters, firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have been traveling this week, so a bit behind on my own writing, so thought this would be a great opportunity to share a message from my friend John O'Leary. Hope you all are having a great week, and maybe after reviewing Victim or Victor, it will be even better.
(Speech or not to speech that is the question – sorry could not resist)
I recently had a phone conversation with a past National President and good friend. During our wide-ranging conversation, he expressed concerns that some members are upset that we dropped speech as part of our mission. That got me to thinking, as I do not think that we have dropped support for speech issues. As President I want to share some thoughts, and invite your comments on this issue as this is worthy of discussion. Continue reading