After a well-attended and successful Virtual Tour of the proposed Idyllwild Community Center (ICC) on Sunday, Nov. 13, the newly formed 11-member ICC Committee has much to celebrate. The tour served to answer questions about the physical makeup and location on the site of the proposed center. However, it also raised questions about the present and long-term relationship between the Committee and the Idyllwild Community Recreation Council (ICRC), how that relationship might affect fundraising and the ultimate ownership of the center when it is built as either public or private.
Many organizations use a DBA, or alternative name, different from their legal organizational papers to make it easier for the public to recognize them. ICRC is the DBA (standing for “doing business as”) for the San Jacinto Mountain Community Center.
Because ICRC was anexisting 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and already managed the local recreation program, and had been doing business for a number of years, a benefactor transferred title for the ICC site to ICRC in 2008.
However, the title came with a stipulation that ICRC would hold title solely in order to fundraise and build a community center and that should it not fulfill that mission within a set period of time, the donor could retake or transfer the title to another group. While ICRC had title to the property for over three years, little fundraising for building the center occurred and only a par exercise course was built on the site. Last June, a former ICRC president announced the donor’s willingness to extend the three year time frame contingent upon sharing substantial progress toward building a center by the end of 2012.
Meanwhile, with the support of the land donor, the separate ICC Committee was formed earlier this year. It has one mission — to build the center, according to Committee Chair Bill Sanborn. “His [the land donor’s] generosity is not something we wanted to let fall by the wayside,” said Pete Capparelli, another committee member. It currently operates under the legal structure of the San Jacinto Mountain Community Center, DBA ICRC.
Capparelli and Sanborn have said the committee operates more or less autonomously, with its own bank account and an expressed intention to obtain its own DBA. They noted the committee’s need to have its own bank account and control its own funds. “We were incurring costs, and it became difficult to get checks approved by ICRC since they only meet once a month,” said Sanborn, who also cited the need to satisfy potential donors that funds contributed to the committee were not mixed with ICRC funds.
At its November meeting, the ICRC board approved a resolution for the committee to open its own bank account but tabled a motion approving a separate DBA. A number of board members questioned the need, since the San Jacinto Mountain Community is the legal controling entity.
Capparelli also acknowledged that some potential donors might be less inclined to donate as long as ICRC was the legally responsible entity. Capparelli said the Committee had discussed forming its own nonprofit 501(c)(3). And while Sanborn referred to the ownership of the ICC property and the future center as “ownership as a community venture,” the land is presently owned by ICRC and the center would also be privately owned by ICRC.
Capparelli said that public or community ownership in some form such as a special district might be something to explore if that would ultimately help to raise funds and get the center built. “People should have input and elect the people that run it [the community center],” he said. The committee next plans outreach to the community to get input on these matters. Separately, ICRC continues its recreational activities such as managing growing use of the Idyllwild Skate Park, hosting its popular Speakers Series and managing new recreational activities on the ICC site such as the upcoming ice skating rink.
See the website for more information about the ICC and the 11-member committee at www.idyllwildcommunitycenter.org.