by Wesley Ratko

Reporting on the status of the Chestnut Hill Community Association’s application for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, board president Brian Tilley pointed out that to qualify for this status the community association must legally separate from the Chestnut Hill Local, the newspaper that it publishes.

The CHCA decided last year to pursue changing the organization into a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, which board members largely believe would make it easier for the organization to raise money and operate.

Tilley said at the board’s Jan.23 meeting that lawyers from the law firm of Pepper Hamilton LLC, who have been engaged by the community association to oversee the process, are reviewing the CHCA’s bylaws and preparing IRS form 1023: “Application for Tax Exemption.”

“Separation from the Local requires that we appoint a separate board,” Tilley said. “Control of the Local, for lack of a better word, would be in the hands of this board.”

Tilley explained that while a separate board needs to be named for the paperwork, the lawyers were only looking for “placeholder names” to be used in the application until a true board can be established.

Board member Larry McEwen asked how many names were needed.

Bob Rossman, secretary of the CHCA, said assigning names to a board was a necessary part of the 1023 application process to the IRS, though he added that the CHCA will also have to file a separate articles of incorporation with the state first.

Board member Stephanie Chomentowski expressed concern about the process for selecting the new Local board members. She was also concerned with the rewriting of the CHCA bylaws. Separation of the Local from the CHCA’s physical and operational divisions means that the bylaws will have to be restructured to remove all mention of the Local.

Chomentowski, herself a lawyer, wondered whether some prohibitions currently found in the bylaws – such as preventing the CHCA from selling the Local – should remain.

John Cacciamani, a board member who is the CEO of Chestnut Hill Hospital, suggested using the names of the CHCA Executive Committee for the placeholder board of the new CHCA, given that that board need only have three names. The board voted unanimously in favor of this.

Tilley thanked the board, saying there was still much left to do in the process.

In other actions

Elections were held for the Nominating Committee, for chair and member positions.

Bob Rossman, noting that the Chestnut Hill Holiday Parade was a big success in spite of bad weather, said there were plans to do it again next year, but that planning for the event would begin sooner. Tilley commended the Chestnut Hill Business Association for all of its help in making it a successful event. Board member Elizabeth Bales suggested finding ways to use next year’s event as an opportunity to drum up additional membership.

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