At the 2006 Pennsylvania Trappers Association (PTA) Rendezvous general membership meeting, a proposal was brought to the floor in regards to building a Trappers Park where the annual Rendezvous could be held. The Trappers Park would be designed and built specifically for trapping. A motion was made and approved from the floor to establish a committee to investigate the feasibility of the PTA building such a facility. A committee was appointed from the membership on a voluntary basis. This committee would report directly back to the PTA Board.
In 2007 the committee continued to work out details and research possible funding to support such a facility. At the 2007 PTA Rendezvous general meeting, the committee reported on their findings and asked for the membership to approve some measure to proceed forward with this project. After much discussion a motion was made to have the entire membership vote on this issue not just the members present. A letter was drafted and sent along with a ballot to every member. The vote was scheduled to be counted at the first meeting of the PTA Board in 2008.
At the first meeting of the PTA Officers and Directors in 2008, the vote was counted and the majority of the membership wanted to move forward with the proposal. The committee hired an attorney and used the PTA accountant to guide them throughout the application process. At this point bylaws had to be written, as well as, an official name given to the organization. During this period the committee determined their ultimate goal would be trappers’ education to educate the general public, as well as, trappers. The committee received an education on Nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations and just how time consuming the whole application and approval process could be. Several names for the organization were provided from the PTA board; Keystone Institute for Furbearer Education or (KIFE) is now our official name.
During 2009 the board met many times to continue working on the bylaws, articles of incorporation, and completing the application. These documents were all submitted to the Commonwealth of PA. The bylaws took much work to complete, but they are vital to the organization. Throughout this process donations from individuals and districts within the PTA were received. The money received was used to pay the application and attorney fees. The articles of incorporation were submitted and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of State. On July 18th the Trappers Park Committee was officially disbanded and the first KIFE Board meeting was held. Election of officers was completed. The board submitted the application to the IRS for nonprofit status.
In early 2010 the KIFE Board had to deal with the IRS several times and the original articles of incorporation had to be amended to comply with IRS guidelines and reapproved by the Pennsylvania Department of State. The IRS application was resubmitted and finally on July 2nd our non-profit status as a 501(c)3 public charity was approved. KIFE can now accept tax deductible donations. The KIFE Board spent a tremendous amount of their own time and energy to get through this endeavor, and I just want to thank the board for their dedication.
Now that we are in 2012 where does KIFE go from here? The first issue at hand is funding. The board is and will be actively pursuing funding. Once we have some working capital on hand a priority will be placed on applying for different grants that are available. We will solicit the help of a professional grant writer and educate ourselves with this process along the way.