Some of you may not realize that Corvallis’ two sister cities programs — in Uzhhorod, Ukraine as well as Gondar, Ethiopia — operate under the direction of the Corvallis Sister Cities Association (CSCA). The CSCA was established in 1991 as an official tax-exempt nonprofit organization. For many years, the CSCA’s sole focus was its sister city partnership in Uzhhorod. The Gondar program was launched in 2005 and the CSCA Bylaws were revised around that time to authorize Boards of Directors for the Gondar and Uzhhorod sister cities programs, each operating under the direction of an umbrella CSCA Board.

It turned out that this approach did not reflect best practices for a nonprofit organization and was considered problematic by potential insurers. To address this issue, the Corvallis Sister Cities Association Board of Directors approved updates to the organization’s Bylaws in June. These changes presented to the general membership at the CSCA’s annual membership meeting on June 29, 2015. The primary intent of the Bylaws revisions was to clarify that ultimate accountability for the organization rests with the CSCA Board of Directors. Previously, each sister city program was overseen by elected Boards of Directors. Under the new organization, there are Gondar and Uzhhorod Councils of Advisors, both of which are accountable to the CSCA Board of Directors.

A CSCA Bylaws Committee worked with Corvallis attorney Jeanne Smith to prepare the Bylaws revisions. Barker Uerlings Insurance provided funding to support this effort and Jeanne also volunteered many hours of her time. Many thanks to Jeanne and Barker Uerlings for making this effort possible!

So, what does this mean for you, as a supporter of the Gondar or Uzhhorod programs?

As a practical matter, day to day program details remain as before. There is just a little more oversight by the CSCA Board of Directors, since it is the CSCA that is ultimately responsible for the integrity of the organization’s non-profit status. There are a few specific changes that you need to be aware of, though:

  • The two sister cities program names have been changed to Corvallis Sister Cities Association – Gondar and Corvallis Sister Cities Association – Uzhhorod. We will no longer refer to the old names, the Corvallis-Gondar Sister Cities Association and the Corvallis-Uzhhorod Sister Cities Association. Please be patient with us since it may take awhile to update our web site, brochures, etc. to reflect the new names.
  • Membership will be with the Corvallis Sister Cities Association. Your prior status as a member with the Gondar or Uzhhorod program will be honored. However, future renewal payments will be made to the CSCA. The CSCA will pursue a membership drive in February or March of next year so look for more information around that time.
  • All donations should be made out to “CSCA” but with a note as to the particular program you wish to support. You can indicate this preference in the memo line of your check or through other means. We will continue to receive all correspondence through our existing mailing and e-mail addresses.

We believe that these changes provide for a solid foundation for the CSCA in the future. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to let us know.