Piedmont Interfaith Conservation Burial Society. Inc.
2016 Annual Report
The mission of the Piedmont Interfaith Conservation Burial Society, Inc. is to advocate for an accessible and meaningful burial option while protecting, restoring, and permanently endowing natural lands in the Piedmont area of North Carolina and educating people about conservation burial.
Background and Organizational activities
In July, 2015, a small group of people with a common interest in conservation burial, gathered to discuss making this option a reality in the Piedmont. With the shared values of inclusiveness and comparative autonomy from other limitations of conventional burials, it was agreed that an interfaith non-profit organization would best align with the goals of the endeavor. Deciding to move forward in pursuit of creating such an organization, the group chose the working title, Triad Interfaith Conservation Burial Organizing Committee (TICBOC.) The next step was to incorporate and acquire non-profit status, for which the group needed legal and practical advice. With no startup funds, it was apparent that pro bono consultation was necessary. After several attempts to obtain pro bono services from attorneys in private practice, it was suggested that we obtain pro bono services from a legal clinic operated by Law Schools. First consideration was given to Elon Law School in Greensboro but it turned out that their capacity was full until the Fall of 2016. Next we contacted Wake Forest University Law School for their program program that provides assistance free of charge to small businesses and non-profits that are accepted as clients. An application was prepared and submitted under the name, Piedmont Interfaith Conservation Burial Society. In August 2015, we learned that PICBUS had been accepted by WFU’s Community Law and Business Clinic. CL&BC Team 6, consisting of two law students in that program were assigned to provide legal advice to help us with becoming incorporated, receiving non-profit status, and other general legal considerations. For their invaluable assistance at this early stage, we are grateful to CL&BC and to Team 6 members Emily Morris, Caroline Atkins and their supervising attorney, Prof. Steve Virgil. Subsequently, an application to incorporate was made to the NC Secretary of State. On December 7, 2015, the Articles of Incorporation were approved. Concurrently we received an Employer Identification Number from the IRS. Then we immediately applied for non-profit status with IRS under Chapter 501(c)3 of the IRS Code. We also applied for a Charitable Solicitation License with the State of North Carolina but we were informed on July 12, 2016, that PICBUS was formally exempted from needing a Charitable Solicitation License because it received contributions under $25,000, in the preceding calendar year and none of its officers or trustees were compensated.
On April 15, 2016 President Ken Knight and VP Nick Divitci made a trip to Asheville NC to meet with the Director of Carolina Memorial Sanctuary for consultations and a tour of the site. A lot was learned during the trip and it was felt that every officer member of the Board needed to make this trip to observe this process of formation of a conservation burial sanctuary. Additionally, the director offered to be available to answer questions and help in every possible way to move us forward in our own project.
On August 17, 2016, Ken Knight, and Nick Divitci revisited Carolina Memorial Sanctuary, this time with board members, Chandlee White and Sharin Francis. Progress made in four months, once the land was secured, was amazing. It was learned that hands-on and material assistance was also received from Dr. & Mrs. Campbell, founders of Ramsey Creek Conservation Burial Preserve. PICBuS is grateful to Caroline Yongue, Director of Carolina Memorial Sanctuary, for providing us with guided tours and more information about a successful conservation burial sanctuary.
An attempt was made to organize a day trip to Ramsey Creek as well but it died due to a lack of sufficient interest.
During the past year, we have been pursuing our mission by making presentations in the local community with the goals of sharing information and promoting awareness about conservation burial and PICBUS.
On March 21st Nick Divitci attended a meeting of the Death Cafe at Scuppernong Bookstore and made a brief presentation and passed out PICBuS brochures.
On April 21st, Nick Divitci attended a meeting organized and hosted by The Sophia Center for Life Studies/Crossings Care Board at the home of Angelo and Sandra “Sandy” LaGrega. This informative meeting was well attended with over 35 people and brochures of PICBuS was included in the materials distributed to over 35 attendees.
Our outreach has also included presentations at local retirement communities. On April 25, 2016, Ken Knight and Nick Divitci made a presentation at Abbotswood at Irving Park in Greensboro, NC. On July 18, 2016,Nick Divitci, Ken Knight, and Chandlee White made a presentation at Wellspring Retirement Community in Greensboro. Attempts have also been made to secure a presentation slot at Friends Home Guilford but it is yet to bear fruit.
[On January 14, 2017 Ken, Sharin and Nick participated in an interview with Ogi Overman of 1808 Magazine distributed monthly with News & Record. It is expected that there will be a story about our project in the March, 2017 issue.]
During the year we attempted to recruit the services of a pro bono or low-cost web designer to design a professional website for PICBuS. Our efforts were to no avail. However, we now have a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/piedmontncgreenburial/) initiated by Board member Lu Williams at no cost and a preliminary website (http://www.piedmontgreenburial.org) created by VP Nick Divitci at no cost except the annual Domain Registration fee and monthly hosting service charge from the Vendor.
REPORT DELIVERED ORALLY AT THE ANNUAL MEETING
REPORT DELIVERED ORALLY AT THE ANNUAL MEETING
Current and Future Needs
Our biggest need is to find a donor of land suitable for conservation burial or to find a piece of suitable land and to raise funds to pay for it. To reach our goal:
1. We need to make more presentations about our mission. Please help us secure more speaking engagements. Our presentation, prepared by President Ken Knight is ready and we can generally make presentations on short notice. Our intended audience is groups of older adults.
2. We also need members, volunteers and professionals who are willing to accept payment plans to help us in following capacities:
Website designer, webmaster
Non-profit grant researcher / grant writer
Pro bono attorney
Part-time executive director
Real Estate researcher
2016 Officers and Board of Trustees
Ken Knight, President
Nick Divitci, Vice President
Treasurer, Linda Bridges
Secretary, Sharin Francis
Assistant Secretary, Chandlee White
Millie Russell, Trustee at Large
Linda Williams, Trustee at Large