Cascade considers moving toward campaign-oriented advocacy and away from political endorsements
With a new vision and branding, the move into the new Cascade Bicycle Club, the creation of a five-year Strategic Plan, a major fundraising campaign and the expansion of our programming, the past year-and-a-half has been transformative for the Cascade Bicycle Club. And while it’s been highly successful, the complexity of our current structure has become unavoidably apparent.
As you might be aware, the club is really three different entities; 1.) the Cascade Bicycle Club, a 501(c)4 not-for-profit organization; 2.) the Cascade Bicycle Club Education Foundation, an 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that can accept tax-deductible contributions; and 3.) the Cascade BikePAC, a political action committee that supports bike-friendly candidates by donating to their campaigns. The Cascade Bicycle Club, the (c)4, currently controls the other two organizations.
Managing these entities is complex and requires additional administration, and for this reason, the board felt it was important to consider other possible structures.
First brought up for discussion in December of 2013, the board revisited this discussion of a potential change at the January board meeting last week. One of the possible new structures discussed was creating one unified 501(c)3 public organization that would continue to be known as the Cascade Bicycle Club.
By no means would this change reflect a shift away from our advocacy work. In fact, operating as (c)3 would enable us to not only weigh in on ballot measures, Cascade could actually run campaigns and support levy and ballot campaigns. The Advocacy team could continue to evaluate all candidates through issuing scorecards and conducting surveys. Changing to a c3 does mean that Cascade could no longer endorse specific candidates for office.
“The board appreciates the history of the club as a c4 organization, including a strong history of making endorsements, so we are looking at the impacts very carefully as we weigh the pros and cons of a change in organizational structure,” said board president Catherine Hennings. “The club and the board remain as committed as we have ever been to bicycling advocacy, and this potential change does not in any way reflect a shift of the club away from advocacy work. The only activities that would go away would be candidate endorsements, working on a candidate's campaign, and the PAC.”
Changing to a (c)3 organization would simplify the governance and operating structure. Before making a change, the board wants to further explore the potential impacts and we welcome feedback from the club’s membership.
Over the next two months, we plan to do more outreach to members, elected officials and other stakeholders to get additional input.
We know that much of our membership has strong feelings about our endorsements and election-related work and we welcome that feedback. At the end of February and beginning of March, we will host several open houses for membership to provide feedback and ask questions.
Please stay tuned for those dates. In the meantime, we welcome your feedback. Submit your feedback here>>>