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ABANA Bylaws Update


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As many of you probably did, I recently received the ballot to vote on the proposed ABANA bylaw changes and I took a few minutes to read the proposed changes before casting my vote. You can do so here if you like: https://abana.org/business/by-laws/. As a member of both ABANA and a local affiliate group (Indiana Blacksmithing Association), I was a little concerned with the language changes related to affiliate groups. The re-write seems to leave the future of the affiliates a little uncertain. I emailed the ABANA office to ask about this, and I received the following unofficial reply:

"Just my person opinion [sic] here… The board has talked at length with proposed (and stricter) requirements for the affiliates. I believe they may want to impose regulations for maintaining a non-profit status among the affiliates (ensuring that they comply with IRS regulations, and/or require a 501( c)3 status), require formal bylaws, executive board structure, number of meetings, etc.   I don’t think there is a structured plan to grandfather existing affiliates into new requirements, or at least, I haven’t heard of any."
I thought it was good for those potential changes to be on the radar for the many different ABANA affiliate groups. I'm sure there has been a lot of discussion about why those potential changes are important, but I expressed my concern that if such changes are implemented to quickly or to stringently, it could negatively impact the affiliates; I feel those local groups are really the face of ABANA and often the first contact for new smiths. Fortunately our Indiana group is already a 501(c)3, but obtaining a 501(c)3 status can be somewhat of an involved and costly endeavor for those who are not. My hope would be that ABANA would work with the affiliates to make those changes happen if that is ultimately what is required, but I thought it would be good to make others aware so they could be working to that end as well.
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Hello WayneCoe. You are correct, there is no mention of that in the bylaws. However, like you observed I was concerned that the future plans for the affiliates was rather vague in the proposed updates. So I contacted the ABANA office to ask about it. The reply I received is quoted above; that's where the 501(c)3 classification was mentioned as a possibility. Something I thought it was good to be aware of, though there does not appear to be a hard and fast decision as of yet.

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Lest we all forget, in 2001 the ABANA board determined that the (then) Chapters could not Shoot an Anvil at any Chapter meeting or conference.  The SEBRC (South Eastern Blacksmiths Region Conference has always shot an anvil as part of it's conference.  We shot the anvil anyway.  The ABANA board then kicked the 7 southeastern participating chapters out of ABANA.  We contended that they had no control or dominion over us.  They thought that we would come running back, apologize, and promise never to do it again.  That did not happen!  At the next Board of Directors meeting they determined that the word Chapter indicated that they had some sort of control and thus liability exposure, however, if they changed the word to Affiliate they would not have any control and thus no liability exposure.  They further stated that if the "former Chapters" did not state otherwise, that the former "Chapters" would be deemed to be Affiliates of ABANA.

If they were to now to exhibit some form of control, (require that Affiliates have 501(c)3 status) they have , supposedly,  exposed themselves to potential liability for acts of the Affiliates.  They won't do this, unless they forget the past history.  

Wayne, former member of the ABANA Board (after the above mentioned acts).  btw, I wrote the By Laws now in effect.

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Wayne, thanks for sharing. It’s certainly interesting to hear that history, especially from your perspective as a former board member. 

I’d be interested to know your thoughts on the proposed changes as whole, especially knowing that you penned the prior version. 

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