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Who owns the Central Crossing Senior Center?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Dear Editor:

Our community has been misled with innuendos and misinformation on who actually owns our senior center. As a member of the board of directors of a non-profit organization one of my duties is to ensure it is run according to the law. In this article we will examine the facts so you can see who actually owns the Central Crossing Senior Center of Shell Knob and the Shell Knob Senior Center Corporation.

In February of 1999, a group of concerned Shell Knob citizens came together and formed a non-profit Section 501 C (3) corporation in accordance with the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. Since that time, the purposes of the corporation have been broadened to include the ability to "own, manage, control, operate, plan, study and supervise activities pertaining to facilities housing Senior Citizens and a Senior Citizen Center in Shell Knob. It shall conduct all such business as necessary for the on going operation and Infra-Structure development of such facilities and all other legal powers permitted a non-profit Corporation. Under the laws of Missouri, and as granted under Section 501 C (3) of the Internal Revenue Code."

In preparation of this article, I reviewed the IRS requirements for a 501 c (3) corporation and found some interesting information. The corporation must be organized in such a manner as to prohibit the use of its funds upon dissolution, or otherwise, for the general purpose of the organization creating it. Also contained in the rules we find no part of the organizations net earnings will insure to the benefits of private shareholders or individuals. Finally we are told that no assets can be distributed to members or private individuals for any purpose if we are to meet the test of a 501 c (3) corporation.

These points are all covered in Article 7, the Dissolution or Sale of Assets. Here we are directed, if the corporation is dissolved, assets shall pass to federal, state or local government for a public purpose. The final statement in Article 7 of the corporation by-laws states "No part of the net assets or net earnings of the corporation shall inure to the benefit of or be paid or distributed to an officer, director, employee or donor of the organization."

Folks, our center was organized for and belongs to all the senior citizens in our area. To help remove any doubt that any concerned citizen might have, our meetings are open to the public, and you are invited to attend any or all of them. To ensure that we have teh time we need to conduct business, we would ask you to make no remarks unless you are on the agenda, which can be accomplished with a simple prior request. Also, a copy of our by-laws will be posted in the Center for the review of any concerned individual.

Our corporation is a dynamic organization and always trying to improve our facility and our services. Since organization in 1999, we have seen a beautiful Senior Center constructed. A portion of the original land purchase was sold, with no reservations, to Carlson-Gardner, who built and rents the Ozark Villas, a 32 unit affordable housing complex, to area seniors. State-of-the-art water and sewage systems have been built and are operating for the benefit of all residents and the Senior Center.

We have seen our meals to seniors increase from 9,113 in 2003 to 19,290 in 2005. Thus far in 2006, our meals are again up to 13,765, an increase of 22 percent. Our corporation board does not want to rest on past laurels. We want to continue to grow that we might be able to offer other services to benefit our congregate.

Because income is not a requirement to reap the benefits of our services, we want to reach out to any senior in our area. If you are over 60, have a million dollar lake home, a new Lincoln and a Mercedes, and you are struggling to care for yourself because your wife just broke her hip, we are here for you and can provide many different services including home-delivered meals, house cleaning, transportation to doctor appointments, respite care or personal care. On the other hand, if you are living on the edge and every day is a struggle just to exist, and all you have is the good Lord between you and starvation, we especially want to help you.

If you know of anyone needing our services, please call the Center at 417-858-6952 to start the process to obtain benefits. We invite you to join in our fun including dances, rock-a-thons, silent auctions, personal friendships adn stimulating mealtime conversation.

Sincerely,

James J. Buessing

Member of the Board

Shell Knob, Missouri