2017-11 From the President: UMRA's financial, legal status

UMRA legal/financial status. UMRA is not part of the University, although the recently signed memorandum of agreement with the Provost’s Office does formally acknowledge what had hitherto been a more ad hoc relationship. At present we are an independently incorporated Minnesota nonprofit under a status that does not permit potential donors to make tax-deductible contributions. Drawing partly on a recent meeting of UMRA’s Council of Past Presidents, at its Oct. 24 meeting the board began a discussion of this arrangement versus potential alternatives. Should UMRA seek to become part of the University? To forge a closer relationship to the Foundation or the Alumni Association? To become a 501(c)3 nonprofit so that contributions could be deductible? Over the year the board will be weighing the very real advantages and very real disadvantages to each of these alternatives (and possibly others) versus the current arrangement. 

Relationship with MGS: Following up on a presentation the previous month, the board voted to establish a cooperative relationship with the Minnesota Gerontological Society (MGS), https://www.mngero.org/. Initially this will involve, at a minimum, appointment of an UMRA representative to MGS’s Education Committee (Earl Nolting is currently serving on an interim basis) and another to its Research Committee; publicizing to the membership MGS’s free webinars on aging topics (next ones are November 15 on posture, and December 12 on seniors and technology); and soliciting MGS’s help as appropriate with UMRA workshops. Let me know if you might be interested in either of these committee positions.

Nascent special interest group (SIG): Andy Whitman’s email to the membership drew some 15 indications of interest in the new SIG on retiree financial and legal issues. Although the initial organizational meeting will have been held already by the time this newsletter goes to press, it is not too late to join the group. If you are interested but have not yet responded, email Andy, awhitman@umn.edu.

Looking ahead: The “town hall” of October 24 generated an amazing range of ideas for future UMRA directions. Sifting through them, winnowing the list to something manageable, and establishing priorities among them will consume much of the board’s energy this year. To all those who participated in the forum—many thanks. And for the four-fifths of UMRA’s membership who were unable to attend the luncheon, rest assured that the board is eager for your thoughts as well. Please feel free to write anytime, and be sure to respond to any surveys you may receive during the year.

— Chip Peterson, UMRA President 2017–18