By Marlene Trestman, Marc Leepson, and Louise Knight
Fulfilling BIO’s longstanding plan, and as approved by BIO’s general membership at the May 2018 annual meeting, we—the members of the aptly named Ad Hoc Committee to Establish a 501(c)(3)—are thrilled to announce the creation of Biographers International Organization Foundation.
As an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, BIO Foundation is authorized by the IRS to directly accept tax-deductible charitable contributions to fund our ongoing work preserving and promoting the art and craft of biography. This means that BIO will no longer rely on a fiscal sponsor for our charitable contributions, an important interim arrangement we have had for the past several years with Virginia Organizing.
So, for now, your dedicated BIO Board, under the leadership of President Linda Leavell, will be doing double duty, overseeing BIO as well as the new foundation. This dual entity arrangement is necessary and, thankfully, only temporary.
In the coming weeks, BIO members can expect to receive an email asking for their proxy vote to empower the Board to do several things:
- Transfer the assets of the original BIO to the new foundation.
- Dissolve the original BIO corporation.
- Approve the bylaws for a new, consolidated entity using the name Biographers International Organization, which an ever-growing number of people around the globe have come to know and respect.
Despite what may appear as tedious procedural details, BIO’s new status as an independent 501(c)(3) signals an important milestone in our organization’s maturity. More importantly, we expect this achievement will enable us to cultivate and attract more members who share BIO’s crucial mission, and from whom we will encourage thoughtful donations.
Besides strengthening BIO’s ability to connect biographers to mentors, agents, editors, and publishers, these funds will fill the gap between membership dues and fees and the actual cost of our vital work, which includes educating and informing 400 worldwide members by publishing The Biographer’s Craft newsletter and by convening BIO’s annual conference. Along with fostering ties and high principles among members, these funds will also enable BIO to maintain and grow its wide range of prestigious awards, including the BIO Award, the Plutarch Award (the world’s only literary award given to a biographer by biographers), the Hazel Rowley Award (which honors the best book proposal by a first-time biographer), and our newest award, the Robert and Ina Caro Fellowship, which helps defray travel expenses for biographers who have works in progress.
You will soon be able to make a secure, tax deductible gift to BIO Foundation online. Don’t want to wait? No problem. The “Donate” page on BIO’s website has the information you need to make your gift the old-fashioned way—by check, payable to BIO Foundation.