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  1. #1
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    Supporting a Skater

    Its that time of year again when I mention the cost of sending a skater to Nationals. Fundraisers are few and far between so some parents are struggling, especially in this economy, to keep their child on the ice. Last year one mother had to borrow several thousand dollars so her son could make it to Spokane for the week.
    Did you know the coach gets paid for the entire time they are at Nationals? Meals, hotels, dress clothes for the after functions all add up quickly. Sometimes there's practice ice at another rink, transportation and other expenses.
    I am not suggesting you need to sponsor a skater with big bucks. Picking up a meal or leaving an envelope at the hotel front desk with a bit of cash goes a long way to helping a family. Instead of buying a stuffie to throw on the ice the same amount of money covers a breakfast. Souvenirs make great memories so purchase two t-shirts and give one to your favorite skater so the parents can save a little there.
    Your skater will be so grateful and you'll feel good too.
    Last edited by MountainTime; 01-15-2011 at 04:56 PM. Reason: Spelling

  2. #2

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    Many skaters are registered with the New England Amateur Skating Foundation (NEASF). The NEASF is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to assist competitive amateur skaters. All regional, sectional, national and international skaters are eligible for assistance.

    Donations are received from both individuals and corporations. The monies collected are then used to defray skating-related expenses such as ice time, lessons, costumes, equipment, competition fees, strength training, ballet, off-ice classes and travel expenses.

    The skater must submit a bill or bills signed by the skater as well as the head coach. If the skater is under 18 years of age, the bills must be signed by a parent and the head coach. Payment is made directly to the vendor or provider of the services.

    New England Amateur Skating Foundation
    P.O. BOX 6881
    Providence, RI. 02940

  3. #3

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    Another option is to make a donation through the Michael Weiss Foundation: http://www.michaelweiss.org/donation.htm

    News thread in GSD: 2011 Michael Weiss Foundation Scholarship Award Recipients

    P.S. If any all-event ticket holders would like to donate any of their 2011 US Nationals tickets that they will not be using for distribution to the skaters' families instead, feel free to send me a PM. Thanks to all the generous people who have donated this year and in past years!
    Last edited by Sylvia; 01-15-2011 at 05:16 PM.

  4. #4

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    Agree on donating to NEASF. No need to possibly get the skater in trouble with eligibility issues.

    As for other ways to help, there are no rules preventing someone from defraying the travel expenses of the parent or guardian. If you know someone who needs the help, you can slip them a few bucks.

    There was someone at SCoB many, many years ago who used to buy ice time. Skaters would get their schedules and they'd be marked paid. Not sure if that violated any rules or not.
    AceOn6, the golf loving skating fan

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by MountainTime View Post
    snip.......
    Did you know the coach gets paid for the entire time they are at Nationals? Meals, hotels, dress clothes for the after functions
    My bold. This is true ? Families have to pay for the coaches dress clothes for the after functions?

  6. #6

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    No, that's the start of a a new sentence and pertains to the skater.

  7. #7
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    Oops. Sorry. I should read more carefully

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aceon6 View Post
    There was someone at SCoB many, many years ago who used to buy ice time. Skaters would get their schedules and they'd be marked paid. Not sure if that violated any rules or not.
    I highly doubt that any type of private (and often anonymous) donations violate any eligibility, as it's not like basketball, swimming or softball where the athletes go on to compete in the NCAA level. If a skater is accepting money to perform, appear, etc., it does but buying someone's ice time or picking up grandma's chicken fingers is generally fine.

  9. #9

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    Thank you for the reminder. I'll be donating.

  10. #10

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    This link talks about "sponsoring" a particular skater, http://www.usfsa.org/Athletes.asp?id=342 . I believe if you donate to them through the NEASF, it would be tax deductable for individuals. However, if you give money directly to the skater, then it's considered a gift and there wouldn't be any tax benefits. I don't think there are any limitations now in regards to what skaters can accept from sponsors (private or corporate), with the exception of show appearances. Skaters can receive money for show appearances, provided they are USFS sanctioned and they have permission from their home club. If it's not a sanctioned event, then there are certain steps they need to take to protect their eligibility.

  11. #11
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    i stumbled upon this old posting. What interested me is the function of the New England Amateur Skating Foundation. Great concept if it really works. Has anyone work with them? The way I understand is that you donate your $$ to the fund with name of the desired skater. The fund will then pay expenses as needed. Skater/coach would have to submit signed invoices to control the cost. Sounds reasonable, especially when the donor can deduct the expenses. What I do not understand is the lack of transparency with the non profit organization. There is a PO BOX address, no official web site... Makes me think twice about donating when not knowing who is or how the funds are controlled.

    Some Goggling helped however:
    Their 2012 tax return (https://bulk.resource.org/irs.gov/eo...990_201212.pdf) showed $876 000 in donations. over $10 000 in investment income. With close to $800K payouts and grands and some small salary and office fees, there is a $61000 revenue. This was added up the existing assets totaling now the $499,000 (!).

    I am not trying to be the tax auditor, but there is a $61000 non taxable income and $499000 in assets. Is this from unused funds that skaters received? Since this is a non profit organization claiming that 100% of donated funds will go to the skater, how will they plan to disperse the assets? Maybe I am too suspicious but I am allergic to lack of transparency.

    Did any skater/coach worked with them? You cannot find any reviews or references. I hope that I am peddling water here or there is a something more to it.

  12. #12

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    I know several skaters who work with them. Basically skaters have "accounts" into which "targeted" donations for that skater are deposited. My understanding is that the invoice gets forwarded to them either by the coach/etc or the skater, and they pay the invoice out of that skater's "account".

    I don't know what happens if a skater stops skating--if the "account" balance rolls into a general fund or what.

  13. #13
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    When I've been able to afford it, I've always donated to Friends of Figure Skating at USFSA. It's another way to donate, and it helps provide financial assistance to skaters of all levels. I'm pretty sure a lot of members here have probably donated at one time or another.
    Angie
    “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” ~ Thomas A. Edison

  14. #14

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    I don't know how the NEASF gets around the IRS, but there are some serious issues with what they do. Donations to a specific person are not tax-deductible - official term is excess benefit transaction and it's an abuse of an org's non-profit status. This USFS guide for clubs spells it out on p. 10 and 22-23: http://www.usfsa.org/content/Formati...profitCorp.pdf

    You can also find the info on the IRS website. When some other club board members and I attended one of USFS's club education workshops last year, the presenter hammered that point home.

    I suspect the NEASF likes to stay under the radar so as not to draw too much attention to what they are doing.

    Bottom line: if you want to support a specific skater, feel free to give them money but don't expect to claim it as a tax deduction, or give your money to a reputable org that will dispense the money legally.

  15. #15
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    All donations are made to NEASF, not the individual skater; NEASF is the 501 c 3 org eligible to issue tax receipts.. From an IRS standpoint, designating a skater for whom expenses can be paid should be no different than any other restricted donation, like to Pacific Northwest Ballet's New Works Fund, to a new production of The Merry Widow at the Met Opera, to sponsor a specific dancer at ABT, to donate to a specific scholarship fund, all of which are tax deductible to the donor. Not only does the money not go to the skater -- NEASF pays the vendors directly for qualifying invoices submitted by the skater and signed by the skater/parent; it's not a pass-through, which would raise the IRS's hackles -- there are restrictions on the type of expenses that are paid. Some donations aren't restricted by skater.

    In general, restricted funds can't be co-mingled, although in the case of bankruptcy/dissolution, I'm not sure what would happen. In the case of NEASF, I would expect there to be various balances in restricted funds, based on timing (invoice creation and submission, money donated after the skater already paid the season's bills, etc.), a premature end to a career, etc.
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

  16. #16

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    IT's my understanding that, should a skater stop skating before all the funds in the personal account are used up, then the skater (or the skater's legal guardian) has to sign off on the funds before they can be transferred into the NEASF's general account.
    I'd rather be thought of as absolutely ridiculous than as absolutely boring.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanfan1818 View Post
    AFrom an IRS standpoint, designating a skater for whom expenses can be paid should be no different than any other restricted donation, like to Pacific Northwest Ballet's New Works Fund, to a new production of The Merry Widow at the Met Opera, to sponsor a specific dancer at ABT, to donate to a specific scholarship fund, all of which are tax deductible to the donor.
    Other than the sponsoring of a specific dancer, the other examples you mentioned involved general funds/projects in which the organization decides how the money is disbursed. With the NEASF's model, a parent could easily send them money, then send their kid's skating bills, and get a charitable receipt for paying their kid's skating expenses. That is wrong. I suspect the NEASF gets around it by including a standard note on its receipts by saying that the donor should consult their accountant on how their gift will be treated for tax purposes - essentially transferring responsibility to the donor. But the whole setup is shady. At the club education workshop I attended, the presenter (volunteer leader of USFS and parent of a former elite skater) referenced NEASF (not specifically by name but it was clear what he was talking about) as an example of something that clubs (or any org) shouldn't be doing.

  18. #18

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    We give to NEASF, we get a letter stating that our donation is tax-deductible, and if we choose not to be anonymous, we get personal thank-yous from the skater(s) we asked to support. We have given to NEASF for several years. I would not be concerned about their legality. They provide a great service.

  19. #19
    I <3 Kozuka
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debbie S View Post
    Other than the sponsoring of a specific dancer, the other examples you mentioned involved general funds/projects in which the organization decides how the money is disbursed.
    That's not been my experience with arts organizations, who go through a number of creative hoops to attribute expenses to specific production funds, for example.

    Obviously the IRS will look at transactions that aren't arms-length, like a parent contributing and getting something direct in return.
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanfan1818 View Post
    That's not been my experience with arts organizations, who go through a number of creative hoops to attribute expenses to specific production funds, for example.
    Right, but funds earmarked for a production benefit everyone involved in the production, not just one person. You can't make a donation to pay a specific troupe member.

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