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Newsletter foundation grapples with possible administrative fee imposed by association.

Three days into the NEPA conference, members of the Newsletter & Electronic Publishers Foundation told NL/NL that they felt "blindsided" by an action taken by the NEPA board of directors only one day before the foundation's semi-annual meeting held in conjunction with the conference. NEPA intends to levy a five percent administrative fee on the foundation, presumably based on staff salaries

Most of the foundation's meeting focused on this levy.

"Last year the foundation raised a little more than $29,000 in contributions," reported one board member, who asked to go unnamed.

"If the five percent administrative fee was in place last year, it would have forced the board to give back to NEPA some $28,000. That would have left us just $1,000 in contributions."

The NEPA foundation is a tax-exempt organization and is a separate entity from the association. Under the guidelines established many years ago, the administrative functions of the foundation are performed by the NEPA staff "at no charge to the foundation."

NEPA itself has been forced to cut back on expenses in recent years because membership has dropped sharply (currently at 601) and annual revenues have gone from a high of around $1.2 million to more than $800,000 today.

However, NEPA executive director Patti Wysocki has managed to steer NEPA through these troubled times with only small short falls, and this year the association is scheduled to make a small profit. NEPA also has a cushion of nearly $1 million in the bank.

Association dissastified with foundation

Some NEPA board members expressed dissatisfaction with the activities of the foundation and decided that the foundation, with more than $300,00 in assets, could afford to pay the fee.

Michael Mealey, who just stepped down after serving as president of the foundation for six years, told NL/NL, "We are examining the amount of administrative support we require and hope to reach a mutual agreement and what support we can give back."

Foundation board members feel their activities strengthen and complement the role of NEPA. They cited the Campus Visit Program, the publication of the newsletter Career Guide, the scholarship program, the University of Georgia survey, and other activities. They felt a levy is unwarranted and might doom the foundation.

Journalism Awards program

The foundation also runs the Journalism Awards program, which has helped to establish the prestige and professional credentials of newsletters. The competition is a major source of revenue and makes a profit for the foundation. This year it took in more than $12,000 in entry fees.

At the meeting, the foundation also approved the establishment of two new awards separate from the journalism awards. They will honor "innovative use of the internet in marketing newsletters." *

Barrie Martland of MPL Communications Inc., Toronto, replaces Mealey as president of the foundation. Helen Hoart of The Consumer Health Publishing Group, Stamford, Conn., becomes vice president. Patti Wysocki of the association, remains secretary-treasurer, and Andy McLaughlin of Paperclip Communications, Little Falls, N.J. was reelected to the board.

* Editor's Note: If NEPA is breaking with its original mandate to provide NEPF administrative functions "at no charge to the foundation," so, too, is NEPF now breaking a gentlemen's agreement with The Newsletter on Newsletters.

When the association began its awards program, NL/NL had already been running one for six years for newsletter design and promotion. The association agreed to stick to just newsletter journalism and leave design and promotion to this newsletter.

Now NEPF has begun honoring online newsletter marketing in competition with NL/NL.
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Title Annotation:Special NEPA Annual Conference Issue
Publication:The Newsletter on Newsletters
Date:Jun 16, 2004
Previous Article:Jim Marshall enters newsletter Hall of Fame, thanking the women in his life.
Next Article:Dan Oswald elected NEPA president.

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