Sunday, June 3, 2012

Couples Counseling - Partnering with a Fiscal Recipient

Slam Survey time will be coming up in September and to qualify for a Slam Grant, a Fiscal Recipient is essential. If you are unclear on the role of Fiscal Recipient, Fractured Atlas is a terrific organization that has a wealth of information, and can even act as a fiscal recipient for your project in some cases.  Occasionally, Puppet Slams have run into some bumps in the road with their fiscal recipients and ask for advice that is beyond my scope. When I am at a loss, I turn to my lifeline at IBEX Puppetry, Hannah Miller, who is also a  performer and former producer at Action Puppet Force #Orlando. 

Action Puppet Force #Orlando,  Jamie Donmoyer & Sarah Skinner-Probst, 2011, Photo: Benjamin Thompson

Here's what Hannah has to say about Fiscal Recipient agreements: "When choosing a fiscal recipient, select your partner organization carefully. Ensure that your ideals and tastes are in alignment. Consider signing a contract together that defines the role of the curator and the role of the Fiscal Recipient to ensure that all parties are clear on the extent of their involvement with the financial and creative processes of producing a slam (see below). Disputes about curatorial decisions, what happens to money generated by slams or questions about prop, equipment, or other goods/services supplied by curators, venues, or fiscal recipients are outside the scope of the Puppet Slam Network's control. We cannot provide mediation or legal advice. But we do encourage you to talk to your fellows in the slam community to learn about previous experiences with fiscal recipients, both good and bad." 

Hannah passed on a sample Fiscal Recipient Agreement that she created (with help from an entertainment lawyer) that you can look at as a reference. She added, "You can explain to your Fiscal Recipient that all the simple legalease boils down to is this: Let the curators curate without interference, unless the goings-on actually endanger your 501c status; give the slam organizers reasonable notice if your 501c status is going to change due to other reasons; our money agreement is exactly (fill in the blank), and we're all happy to be working together to do cool things."

Here is Hannah's sample Fiscal Recipient Agreement (note I have substituted the term "Fiscal Recipient" for "Fiscal Sponsor", which is consistent with the terms we use):
Sample Fiscal Recipient Agreement

This is an agreement made between ____________ (the Fiscal Recipient) and ______________ (the Project).

The Fiscal
Recipient: (the fiscal recipient) is a nonprofit organization, exempt from federal tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, as amended. It is formed for the purpose(s) of: (list charitable/educational purposes relevant to Project)

The Project: (the project = your slam) is an unincorporated organization formed for the purposes of:
(slam description, including goals)
The Agreement

The Fiscal  R
ecipient is willing to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions for the benefit and use of implementing the Project. The Project, with the administrative assistance of the Fiscal Recipient, desires to use these funds in order to implement the Project’s purposes.

Responsibilities of the Fiscal Recipient:
  • The Fiscal Recipient agrees to receive grants and contributions to be used for the Project, and to make those funds available exclusively and freely to the Project, minus a fee of (fee%) from each gross total of pledged grant monies or contributions received. (the fee addendum can be removed if not applicable)
  • The Fiscal Recipient’s Executive Director or authorized representative must sign the grant proposal, grant agreement, and all grant reports.
  • The Fiscal Recipient agrees to notify the Project of any change or potential change in its tax-exempt status in a timely fashion.
  • Fiscal Recipient shall permit the Project to operate freely within the guidelines of the Project’s purposes and shall not interfere with such purposes.
  • The Fiscal Recipient will maintain books and financial records for the Project in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.  The Fiscal Sponsor will provide reports reflecting receipts, expenditures, and balances of the Project on a regular basis.
Responsibilities of the Project:
  • The Project agrees to use any and all Funds received from the Fiscal Recipient solely for legitimate expenses on the Project and to account fully to the Fiscal Recipient for the disbursement of all funds received.
  • The Project must act within the financial policies outlined by the Fiscal Recipient and agrees not to use funds received from the Fiscal Recipient in any way that would jeopardize the tax-exempt status of the Fiscal Recipient.  The Fiscal Recipient retains the right, should the Project jeopardize the Fiscal Recipient’s legal or tax status, to withhold,  withdraw, or demand immediate return of grant funds.
  • The Project shall prepare reports as needed by the grant funder and submit to the Fiscal Recipient for review, approval, and submission.

Signature of Fiscal Recipient: ______________________________________ (name / title / date)
Signature of Project Coordinator: _________________________________ (name / title / date)
Witness and/or Notary: __________________________________________


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