Unincorporated association

Unincorporated associations have a series of features that demarcate them from other areas of English law. An unincorporated association consists of two or more members bound by the rules of a society which has at some point in time been founded.

Several theories have been proposed as to the way that such associations hold rights. A transfer may be considered to have been made to the association's members directly as joint tenants or tenants in common. Alternatively, the funds transferred may be considered to have been under the terms of a private purpose trust. Many purpose trusts fail for want of a beneficiary and this may therefore result in the gift failing. However, some purpose trusts are valid, and, accordingly, some cases have decided that the rights associated with unincorporated associations are held on this basis. The dominant theory, however, is that the rights are transferred to the members or officers absolutely, perhaps on trust for the members, but are importantly bound by contracts inter se.

Accordingly, on dissolution, the distribution of these rights depends on how they were held. A purpose trust may by its nature survive the dissolution of the association, or it may not. If it fails as a result of the dissolution, then the rights will be held on resulting trust for the contributors, unless they can be shown to have renounced their right to such a trust in their favour. If the rights are held subject to contract, then they will be divided among the surviving membership upon dissolution, according to the terms of the contracts inter se or an implied term according to contribution. If, as a result of this contract or statute, no member can claim, the rights will pass to the Crown as bona vacantia. This conclusion has also been suggested where the association dissolves because only one members remains, although this has been doubted by some commentators who believe the last members should be entitled to the rights.

Definition

One definition of an unincorporated association was given by Lord Justice Lawton in Conservative and Unionist Central Office v Burrell: "'unincorporated association' [means] two or more persons bound together for one or more common purposes, not being business purposes, by mutual undertakings, each having mutual duties and obligations, in an organisation which has rules which identify in whom control of it and its funds rests and upon what terms and which can be joined or left at will."[1] The essential elements are that there exist members of the association; that there is a contract binding them inter se; that they have a common purpose which is not business; and that there must have been a moment in time when a number of persons came together to form the association.[2]

Nature of held rights

There have been several theories proposed as to how rights, such as assets, are held by voluntary associations.[2] Unlike legal persons, voluntary associations are incapable of holding rights themselves.[3]

The first, and oldest, is that rights transferred to a voluntary association are held by the current members of the association as joint tenants or tenants in common. This has the result that the member can receive his or her own share (allowing for severance in the case of joint tenants) irrespective of the other members.[2] In Bowman v Secular Society this construction was even applied to a gift given to be applied for the general purposes of the association. It is difficult to imagine, however, that this construction would be correctly applied in the case of a philanthropic society where construing the gift as one to the members would contradict its stated purpose.[4] There is also the possibility that the gift is to the current and future members of the society, which, by operation of the Perpetuities and Accumulations Act 1964 will operate for the benefit of those members within the perpetuity period.[5]

The second alternative is that the gift is to the trustees, or those officers who might properly be considered trustees, to be held on trust for the purposes of the association in a private purpose trust. As a result, many such gifts will fail for want of a beneficiary capable of enforcing the terms of the trust, as with private purposes trusts generally.[5] However, the decision in Re Denley's Trust Deed allows for some trusts of this type to be held valid, and, accordingly, the case of Re West Sussex Constabulary's Widows, Children and Benevolent (1930) Fund Trusts applied this construction to the rights held by an unincorporated association.[6] Reform to purpose trusts, such as making such a trust enforceable by a named individual (the chairman or treasurer, for example) rather than by a beneficiary (of which there may be none) would impact the role of the purpose trust in the voluntary association context.[7]

The third alternative is that members hold beneficially, but are bound by contracts inter se as to their ability to receive their own share. That share is considered to pass to the other members of the association upon the death or resignation of the member.[5] The holding may then either be considered absolute, or on trust for the membership as a whole, but it is the role of contract in each case to determine the rights of members, including the officers, to apply the money.[6] This approach was favoured in Re Recher’s Will Trusts in relation to a gift to the Anti-Vivisection Society, although, on the facts, that society was considered no longer in existence and the gift failed for this reason.[8] One statement of when such an absolute gift will be considered to have been made was given in Re Lipinski’s Will Trusts: "Where the donee association is itself the beneficiary of the prescribed purpose... the gift should be construed as an absolute one ... the more so where, if the purpose is carried out, the members can by appropriate action vest the resulting property in themselves, for here the trustees and the beneficiaries are the same persons." Another statement of the principle came in Hanchett‐Stamford v Attorney‐General [2008] EWHC 330 (Ch), where Lewison J stated: "the property of an unincorporated association is the property of its members, but that they are contractually precluded from severing their share except in accordance with the rules of the association ... this kind of collective ownership must, in my judgment, be a sub-species of joint tenancy, albeit taking effect subject to any contractual restrictions applicable as between members."[9] It is now considered the dominant theory in the field.[10]

The question of which construction applies to a particular transfer must be ascertained in any particular case. A donor could decide on what basis he or she was transferring the rights to the association; however, this is rarely considered by donors and thus which construction applies is often affected by the judge's own beliefs as to common practice.[11] In some situations the situation is clearer: monies paid pursuant to a contract, such as raffle tickets and members' subscriptions, are normally taken to fall inside the third category; as Goff J explained in the West Sussex case: "First, the relationship is one of contract and not of trust. The purchaser of a ticket may have the motive of aiding the cause or he may not ... Secondly, there is in such cases no direct contribution to the fund at all. It is only the profit, if any, which is ultimately received, and there may even be none."[11] Simon Gardner has argued that the principle behind such a conclusion is that the ticket purchaser was not at liberty to choose to transfer the money to be held on a purpose trust. There are situations where a contract enforced a payment on trust, such as Quistclose trusts and marriage settlements, that might be relevant to unincorporated associations. In particular, he suggests that an employer's obligation to pay into a pension pot, as occurred in Davis v Richards and Wallington, for example, might fall into this category.[12]

Distribution of rights upon dissolution

It follows from the definition of a voluntary association that when only one member remains the association must dissolve.[13] The distribution of rights in such a case depends upon the nature of the holding of the rights.[14] In addition, in the case of the contract holding theory, such a contract cannot exist between only one party. The association may dissolve for reasons other than there being only one member.[13]

If the purpose trust construction is preferred, then the dissolution of the association will not necessarily bring an end to the purpose trust, dependent upon whether the association is the "essential mechanism" of the purpose. If the purpose trust survives the winding up of the association, then new trustees may need to be appointed. The West Sussex case considered the effect of the association's dissolution on the rights held by the trust where the trust did indeed fail. In such a case, the monies paid to the association will ordinarily be held on resulting trust for the contributors. However, there may be situations (including money collected through collection boxes) where the contributor can be said to have "disclaimed" the resulting trust and it will be considered bona vacantia.[6]

If the contract theory is preferred, then the rules of the association will govern the distribution of the rights held by the association.[6] These rules may contain an express term relating to the dissolution of the society, in which case it is considered operative. If not, a term can be implied as to the arrangements, as happened, for example, in Re Bucks Constabulary Widows and Orphans Fund Friendly Society (no 2). This will normally divide the rights up equally among those who were members at the time of dissolution. In the case of dissolution for lack of members, obiter comments in the case indicate that the rights will pass to the Crown as bona vacantia, because, at the time of dissolution, there are no remaining members.[11] That conclusion, however, has been contested by those who believe beneficial ownership by the last surviving member is more appropriate.[13] There may be cases where, as a result of the contractual obligations of the members, no member can claim the assets of the association upon dissolution and the Crown will therefore be entitled to them as bona vacantia.[15]

In the Bucks case it was suggested that a term indicating some method of distribution would be implied as a matter of course; in particular, Walton J attempted to bring Cunnack v Edwards and West Sussex within the proposed model of implied terms, rather than by distinguishing them.[16] This approach was not taken in Davis v Richards and Wallington where Scott J did not discuss implied terms directly when holding that the rights were now bona vacantia. This, Simon Gardner has noted, hints at a return to the case by case, 'eclectic', approach previously favoured by the courts. Instead, he says, they should pursue a set of implied terms that differ according to the nature of the society (social club or pension fund, for example).[17]

See also

References

  1. ^ Conservative and Unionist Central Office v Burrell [1982] 1 WLR 522
  2. ^ a b c Pettit (2008). p. 62.
  3. ^ Green (1980). p. 627.
  4. ^ Pettit (2008). pp. 62–63.
  5. ^ a b c Pettit (2008). p. 63.
  6. ^ a b c d Gardner (1992). p. 42.
  7. ^ Hayton (2001). pp. 99–100.
  8. ^ Pettit (2008). pp. 63–64.
  9. ^ Pettit (2008). p. 64.
  10. ^ Ashdown (2012). p. 617.
  11. ^ a b c Gardner (1992). p. 43.
  12. ^ Gardner (1992). pp. 44–45.
  13. ^ a b c Pettit (2008). pp. 64–65.
  14. ^ Gardner (1992). p. 41.
  15. ^ Pettit (2008). p. 65.
  16. ^ Gardner (1992). pp. 47–48.
  17. ^ Gardner (1992). p. 49.

Bibliography

  • Ashdown, Michael (2012). "The Law of Unincorporated Associations (Publication Review)". Law Quarterly Review. 128.
  • Gardner, Simon (1992). "New angles on unincorporated associations". Conveyancer and Property Lawyer.
  • Green, Brian (1980). "The Dissolution of Unincorporated Non-profit Associations". Modern Law Review. 43.
  • Hayton, David (2001). "Developing the Obligation Characteristic of the Trust". Law Quarterly Review. 117.
  • Pettit, Philip (2009). Equity and the Law of Trusts. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199561025.

External links

501(c)(3) organization

A 501(c)(3) organization is a corporation, trust, unincorporated association, or other type of organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the United States Code. It is one of the 29 types of 501(c) nonprofit organizations in the US.

501(c)(3) tax-exemptions apply to entities that are organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purposes, for testing for public safety, to foster national or international amateur sports competition, for the prevention of cruelty to children, women, or animals. 501(c)(3) exemption applies also for any non-incorporated community chest, fund, cooperating association or foundation organized and operated exclusively for those purposes. There are also supporting organizations—often referred to in shorthand form as "Friends of" organizations.26 U.S.C. § 170 provides a deduction for federal income tax purposes, for some donors who make charitable contributions to most types of 501(c)(3) organizations, among others. Regulations specify which such deductions must be verifiable to be allowed (e.g., receipts for donations of $250 or more).

Due to the tax deductions associated with donations, loss of 501(c)(3) status can be highly challenging if not fatal to a charity's continued operation, as many foundations and corporate matching funds do not grant funds to a charity without such status, and individual donors often do not donate to such a charity due to the unavailability of the deduction.

Associated Press

The Associated Press (AP) is a U.S.-based not-for-profit news agency headquartered in New York City. Founded in 1846, it operates as a cooperative, unincorporated association. Its members are U.S. newspapers and broadcasters. Its Statement of News Values and Principles spells out its standards and practices.The AP has earned 52 Pulitzer Prizes, including 31 for photography, since the award was established in 1917.

The AP has counted the vote in U.S. elections since 1848, including national, state and local races down to the legislative level in all 50 states, along with key ballot measures. AP collects and verifies returns in every county, parish, city and town across the U.S., and declares winners in over 5,000 contests.

The AP news report, distributed to its members and customers, is produced in English, Spanish and Arabic. AP content is also available on the agency's app, AP News. A 2017 study by NewsWhip revealed that AP content was more engaged with on Facebook than content from any individual English-language publisher.As of 2016, news collected by the AP was published and republished by more than 1,300 newspapers and broadcasters. The AP operates 263 news bureaus in 106 countries. It also operates the AP Radio Network, which provides newscasts twice hourly for broadcast and satellite radio and television stations. Many newspapers and broadcasters outside the United States are AP subscribers, paying a fee to use AP material without being contributing members of the cooperative. As part of their cooperative agreement with the AP, most member news organizations grant automatic permission for the AP to distribute their local news reports. The AP employs the "inverted pyramid" formula for writing which enables the news outlets to edit a story to fit its available publication area without losing the story's essentials.

Cutbacks at rival United Press International in 1993 left the AP as the United States' primary news service, although UPI still produces and distributes stories and photos daily. Other English-language news services, such as the BBC, Reuters and the English-language service of Agence France-Presse, are based outside the United States.

Associated Students of the University of California

The Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) is the officially recognized students' association of UC Berkeley. It was founded in 1887, and is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit unincorporated association. The ASUC controls funding for ASUC-sponsored organizations, advocates on behalf of students to solve issues on campus and in the community, engages with administrators to develop programming, increase student-organizational resources, and increase transparency.

Associated Students of the University of California, Santa Barbara

The Associated Students of the University of California, Santa Barbara (ASUCSB) is the undergraduate students' union of the University of California, Santa Barbara. It is one of two students' unions at UCSB, the other being the Graduate Student Association. It purports to be both a non-profit organization and an official department of UCSB. It is classified as an "unincorporated association" by the California Attorney General's Registry of Charitable Trusts. Its goals are to "voice student concerns and express student opinion" and "enrich student life and give students services and opportunities not offered by the [university] administration." ASUCSB derives its authority from section 61.10-15 of the "Policies Applying to Campus Activities, Organizations and Students" of the University of California.

British Druid Order

The British Druid Order (BDO) is an international druid order, founded in 1979 as a religious and educational organisation. Its constitution defines it as a not-for-profit unincorporated association. It is commonly regarded as being one of the first, if not the first, explicitly neo-pagan Druid Orders. The order draws on medieval Welsh texts such as the Mabinogion and other early British/Celtic texts for inspiration and to re-connect with the pre-Christian, indigenous religious and spiritual practices of Britain which it believes to be shamanic in nature.

British Guild of Travel Writers

The British Guild of Travel Writers Limited is a private company limited by guarantee formed in April 2015.

This private company is the successor organisation to the erstwhile voluntary association known as the British Guild of Travel Writers. The latter was founded in 1960. The association and the successor company are known by the acronym BGTW.

The company's registered office is at Great Blakenham near Ipswich in England. The company's board of directors consists of ten long-standing members of the antecedent unincorporated association.

Charitable organization

A charitable organization or charity is a non-profit organization (NPO) whose primary objectives are philanthropy and social well-being (e.g. charitable, educational, religious, or other activities serving the public interest or common good).

The legal definition of a charitable organization (and of charity) varies between countries and in some instances regions of the country. The regulation, the tax treatment, and the way in which charity law affects charitable organizations also vary. Charitable organizations may not use any of its funds to profit individual persons or entities.Financial figures (e.g. tax refund, revenue from fundraising, revenue from sale of goods and services or revenue from investment) are indicators to assess the financial sustainability of a charity, especially to charity evaluators. This information can impact a charity's reputation with donors and societies, and thus the charity's financial gains.

Charitable organizations often depend partly on donations from businesses. Such donations to charitable organizations represent a major form of corporate philanthropy.

The Organizational Test: If the organization doesn't follow the exemption organizational test, it will be under mentoring, in order to meet the organizational test it has to be exclusively organized and operated.

Serving the public interest: In order to receive and pass the exemption test, charitable organization must follow the public interest and all exempt income should be for the public interest.

Conservative Friends of Israel

Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) is a British parliamentary group affiliated to the Conservative Party, which is dedicated to strengthening business, cultural and political ties between the United Kingdom and Israel. CFI is an unincorporated association. It also seeks to strengthen ties between the British Conservative Party and the Israeli Likud party.

It was founded in 1974 by Conservative MP for Bury and Radcliffe, Michael Fidler. The Parliamentary Chairman is Stephen Crabb.In 1995 Conservative politician Robert Rhodes James called it "the largest organisation in Western Europe dedicated to the cause of the people of Israel".By 2009, according to the Channel 4 documentary Dispatches – Inside Britain's Israel Lobby, around 80% of Conservative MPs were members of the CFI. In 2013, the Daily Telegraph's chief political commentator, Peter Oborne, called CFI "by far Britain's most powerful pro-Israel lobbying group."

International Natural Bodybuilding Association

International Natural Bodybuilding Association (also known as INBA) is an Australian bodybuilding, physique; figure, fitness and bikini competition business. The unincorporated association was founded by Wayne McDonald. INBA’s Australian Head Offices are located in Victoria and NSW. INBA arranges 28 domestic competitions in 8 States and Territories of Australia. Ron Ziemiecki is the current INBA Events Director. INBA is accredited by Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA).

Issuer

Issuer is a legal entity that develops, registers and sells securities for the purpose of financing its operations.

Issuers may be governments, corporations or investment trusts. Issuers are legally responsible for the obligations of the issue and for reporting financial conditions, material developments and any other operational activities as required by the regulations of their jurisdictions.

The most common types of securities issued are equities: common and preferred stocks, and debt: bonds, notes, debentures and bills.

In the United States the term "issuer" is defined by Section 2(4) the Securities Act of 1933 as follows:

The term "issuer" means every person who issues or proposes to issue any security; except that with respect to certificates of deposit, voting-trust certificates, or collateral-trust certificates, or with respect to certificates of interest or shares in an unincorporated investment trust not having a board of directors (or persons performing similar functions) or of the fixed, restricted management, or unit type, the term "issuer" means the person or persons performing the acts and assuming the duties of depositor or manager pursuant to the provisions of the trust or other agreement or instrument under which such securities are issued; except that in the case of an unincorporated association which provides by its articles for limited liability of any or all of its members, or in the case of a trust, committee, or other legal entity, the trustees or members thereof shall not be individually liable as issuers of any security issued by the association, trust, committee, or other legal entity; except that with respect to equipment-trust certificates or like securities, the term "issuer" means the person by whom the equipment or property is or is to be used; and except that with respect to fractional undivided interests in oil, gas, or other mineral rights, the term "issuer" means the owner of any such right or of any interest in such right (whether whole or fractional) who creates fractional interests therein for the purpose of public offering. Securities Act of 1933, § 2(a)(4), 15 U.S.C. § 77B(a)(4).

Labour Party Rule Book

The Labour Party Rule Book is the governing document for the Labour Party in the United Kingdom.

The Labour Party Constitution forms the first chapter of the Rule Book and contains the most important principles and provisions for Labour Party governance. The chapter is divided into ten sections named Clause I to Clause X. Clause IV is the best known Aims and values clause, which was significantly changed in 1995 after Tony Blair became leader of the Labour Party.

The rules may be amended by the party's National Executive Committee ratified by the following Labour Party conference.

The Labour Party is an unincorporated association without a separate legal personality, and the rule book legally regulates the organisation and the relationship with members.

Limited liability company

A limited liability company (LLC) is the US-specific form of a private limited company. It is a business structure that can combine the pass-through taxation of a partnership or sole proprietorship with the limited liability of a corporation. An LLC is not a corporation under state law; it is a legal form of a company that provides limited liability to its owners in many jurisdictions. LLCs are well known for the flexibility that they provide to business owners; depending on the situation, an LLC may elect to use corporate tax rules instead of being treated as a partnership, and, under certain circumstances, LLCs may be organized as not-for-profit. In certain U.S. states (for example, Texas), businesses that provide professional services requiring a state professional license, such as legal or medical services, may not be allowed to form an LLC but may be required to form a similar entity called a professional limited liability company (PLLC).A limited liability company (LLC) is a hybrid legal entity having certain characteristics of both a corporation and a partnership or sole proprietorship (depending on how many owners there are). An LLC is a type of unincorporated association distinct from a corporation. The primary characteristic an LLC shares with a corporation is limited liability, and the primary characteristic it shares with a partnership is the availability of pass-through income taxation. It is often more flexible than a corporation, and it is well-suited for companies with a single owner.Although LLCs and corporations both possess some analogous features, the basic terminology commonly associated with each type of legal entity, at least within the United States, is sometimes different. When an LLC is formed, it is said to be "organized,” not "incorporated" or "chartered,” and its founding document is likewise known as its "articles of organization," instead of its "articles of incorporation" or its "corporate charter.” Internal operations of an LLC are further governed by its "operating agreement," rather than its "bylaws." The owner of beneficial rights in an LLC is known as a "member," rather than a "shareholder.” Additionally, ownership in an LLC is represented by a "membership interest" or an "LLC interest" (sometimes measured in "membership units" or just "units" and at other times simply stated only as percentages), rather than represented by "shares of stock" or just "shares" (with ownership measured by the number of shares held by each shareholder). Similarly, when issued in physical rather than electronic form, a document evidencing ownership rights in an LLC is called a "membership certificate" rather than a "stock certificate".In the absence of express statutory guidance, most American courts have held that LLC members are subject to the same common law alter ego piercing theories as corporate shareholders. However, it is more difficult to pierce the LLC veil because LLCs do not have many formalities to maintain. As long as the LLC and the members do not commingle funds, it is difficult to pierce the LLC veil. Membership interests in LLCs and partnership interests are also afforded a significant level of protection through the charging order mechanism. The charging order limits the creditor of a debtor-partner or a debtor-member to the debtor's share of distributions, without conferring on the creditor any voting or management rights.Limited liability company members may, in certain circumstances, also incur a personal liability in cases where distributions to members render the LLC insolvent.

National Rail

National Rail (NR) in the United Kingdom is the trading name licensed for use by the Rail Delivery Group, an unincorporated association whose membership consists of the passenger train operating companies (TOCs) of England, Scotland, and Wales. The TOCs run the passenger services previously provided by the British Railways Board, from 1965 using the brand name British Rail. Northern Ireland, which is bordered by the Republic of Ireland, has a different system. National Rail services share a ticketing structure and inter-availability that generally do not extend to services which were not part of British Rail. The name and the accompanying double arrow symbol are trademarks of the Secretary of State for Transport.

Nippon Kaigi

The Nippon Kaigi (日本会議, "Japan Conference") is a Japanese ultranationalist unincorporated association that was established in 1997 and has approximately 38,000 members. The group is influential in the legislative and executive branches of the Japanese government through its affiliates. Shinzō Abe, LDP politician, serves as a special advisor to the group's parliamentary league.The group describes its aims as to "change the postwar national consciousness based on the Tokyo Tribunal's view of history as a fundamental problem" and to "revise the current Constitution"; sees its mission to promote patriotic education, the revision of the Constitution of Japan, and support for official visits to Yasukuni Shrine and a nationalist interpretation of State Shinto.In the words of Hideaki Kase, an influential member of Nippon Kaigi, "We are dedicated to our conservative cause. We are monarchists. We are for revising the constitution. We are for the glory of the nation." Nippon Kaigi supports revising the Japanese Constitution, especially Article 9 which forbids a standing army.

Purpose trust

A purpose trust is a type of trust which has no beneficiaries, but instead exists for advancing some non-charitable purpose of some kind. In most jurisdictions, such trusts are not enforceable outside of certain limited and anomalous exceptions, but some countries have enacted legislation specifically to promote the use of non-charitable purpose trusts. Trusts for charitable purposes are also technically purpose trusts, but they are usually referred to simply as charitable trusts. People referring to purpose trusts are usually taken to be referring to non-charitable purpose trusts.

Trusts which fail the test of charitable status usually fail as non-charitable purpose trusts, although there are certain historical exceptions to this, and some countries have modified the law in this regard by statute. The court will not usually validate non-charitable purpose trusts which fail by treating them as a power. In IRC v Broadway Cottages Trust [1955] Ch 20 the English Court of Appeal held: "I am not at liberty to validate this trust by treating it as a power. A valid power is not to be spelled out of an invalid trust."

Reciprocal inter-insurance exchange

A reciprocal inter-insurance exchange is a form of insurance company. A reciprocal inter-insurance exchange is not a "mutual insurance company," which is generally an incorporated entity; rather it is an unincorporated association of subscribing members who exchange contracts of indemnity with each other.

Sea Org

The Sea Organization (Sea Org) is a Scientology organization, which the Church of Scientology describes as a "fraternal religious order, comprising the church's most dedicated members". All Scientology management organizations are controlled exclusively by members of the Sea Org. David Miscavige, the de facto leader of Scientology, is the highest-ranking Sea Org officer, holding the rank of captain.

The Sea Org has been described as a paramilitary organization and as a private naval force, having operated several vessels in its past and displaying a maritime tradition. Some ex-members and scholars have described the Sea Org as a totalitarian organization marked by intensive surveillance and a lack of freedom. The Sea Org has also been compared to a monastic organization.In a 1992 memorandum by the Church of Scientology International, the following information was provided to the Internal Revenue Service with regards to nature of the Sea Org:

[the Sea Org] does not have an ecclesiastical organizing board or command channels chart or secular existence such as an incorporated or unincorporated association. ... Although there is no such "organization" as the Sea Organization, the term Sea Org has a colloquial usage which implies that there is. There are general recruitment posters and literature for "The Sea Org" which implies that people will be employed by the Sea Org when in reality they will join, making the billion year commitment, at some church that is staffed by Sea Org members and become employees of that church corporation. ... The Sea Org exists as a spiritual commitment that is factually beyond the full understanding of the Service or any other but a trained and audited Scientologist.

The Sea Org was established on August 12, 1967 by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Dianetics and Scientology, initially on board four ships, the Diana, the Athena, the Apollo, and the Excalibur. The Apollo served as the flag ship of the Sea Org.In 1971, the Sea Org assumed responsibility for the ecclesiastical development of the church, and in particular the delivery of the upper levels of its auditing and training, known as the Operating Thetan or "OT" levels. In 1981, under the aegis of the Commodore's Messenger Organization led by David Miscavige, the Sea Org dissolved the Guardian's Office (GO) and assumed full responsibility for the international management of the Church, later reassigning the duties of the GO to the Office of Special Affairs in 1983 during the corporate restructuring of the Church.It moved to land-based organizations in 1975, though maritime customs persist, with many members wearing naval-style uniforms and addressing both male and female officers as "sir." In 1985, the church purchased a 440-foot (130 m) motor vessel, the Freewinds, which docks in Curaçao in the southern Caribbean and is used as a religious retreat and training center, staffed entirely by Sea Org members. Sea Org members make a lifetime commitment to Scientology by signing a billion-year contract that is officially described as a symbolic pledge. In exchange, members are given free room and board, and a small weekly allowance. Sea Org members agree to strict codes of discipline, such as disavowing premarital sex, working long hours (on average at least 100 hours per week) and living in communal housing, referred to as "berthings". They are allowed to marry, but must relinquish their membership if they have or want to raise children.

University of California Student Association

The University of California Student Association (UCSA) is an active 501(c)(3) unincorporated association, purposed as a student association of all University of California (UC) students. Its charter states that it "shall exist to: serve the interests of the current and future students of the University of California and promotes [sic] cooperation between various student governments of the University and student organizations concerned with higher education." The Association is not a public agency, but its leadership is composed of representatives of UC student governments, which are "official units of the University" system (with one exception). UCSA participates in various aspects of the UC system's governance, notably including the selection of the student representative on the UC Board of Regents.UCSA representatives have opposed education funding cuts and increases in student fees and supported affirmative action in enrollment policies. The association mobilizes students via voter registration campaigns; it recorded 26,000 new voter registrations in 2006, and added 12,300 new registrations in 2008 for the California Democratic and Republican primaries. In April 2016, UCSA called for the removal of then-chancellor of UC Davis, Linda Katehi. In January and October 2017, UCSA called for the removal of Norman Pattiz, a UC Regent, due to sexual harassment allegations that Pattiz has admitted to.

Voluntary association

A voluntary group or union (also sometimes called a voluntary organization, common-interest association, association, or society) is a group of individuals who enter into an agreement, usually as volunteers, to form a body (or organization) to accomplish a purpose. Common examples include trade associations, trade unions, learned societies, professional associations, and environmental groups.

Membership is not necessarily voluntary: in order for particular associations to function correctly they might need to be mandatory or at least strongly encouraged, as is common with many teachers unions in the US. Because of this, some people use the term common-interest association to describe groups which form out of a common interest, although this term is not widely used or understood.Voluntary associations may be incorporated or unincorporated; for example, in the US, unions gained additional powers by incorporating. In the UK, the terms Voluntary Association or Voluntary Organisation cover every type of group from a small local Residents' Association to large Associations (often Registered Charities) with multimillion-pound turnover that run large-scale business operations (often providing some kind of public service as subcontractors to government departments or local authorities).

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