Friday, 22 September 2017: Our days of practicing judo on folding tumbling mats are nearing their end. I am excited to announce that I have ordered our own Zebra™ brand tatami style mats, which should be delivered later today, and that soon we will be moving into our own dojo! I have a little bit of prep work to complete before I can install the mats, but my goal is to start meeting at our new location by Saturday, September 30th.
Wednesday, 28 June 2017: I have been saving every donation received until there was enough to open a bank account in the name of HachiSakura Judo Club. Today, I opened an account with The Dolores State Bank in Mancos, Colorado. After I opened the account, I visited Marie, the Director of the Mancos Valley Chamber of Commerce, and I paid the annual dues to become a member of the Chamber of Commerce.
Tuesday, 13 December 2016: Today, I spoke with Adam Priestley, Principal at Mancos High School. He confirmed that everything is approved with the school and the school’s insurance policy. The Pee Wee Wrestling program will be using the wrestling room from February through April, which means that we won’t be able to use the wrestling room until after their season ends. Technically, we could use the wrestling room after their practices, but it would mean a late start for us, and I don’t think it would be best for us to be up at the school so late after dark. Meanwhile, we’ll have the cafeteria all to ourselves and we should be good to go for January 2017. After wrestling season, we can move into the wrestling room and we should be able to meet there for the remainder of the year and throughout the summer.
A huge THANK YOU to Tiffany Aspromonte, Adam Priestley, and Mancos School District for helping to make this happen.
Tuesday, 15 November 2016: I met with Tiffany Aspromonte, Registrar at Mancos High School. We discussed the possibility of using the Wrestling room and bringing judo back to the high school. We also discussed the potential for students to receive PE credit as an added benefit of membership.
UPDATE: The school is on-board with the judo club using the wrestling room. However, they are checking to see if the school's insurance policy will allow it. If so, then I will be meeting with Adam Priestly, High School Principal, to work out a time schedule that won't conflict with the wrestling team's schedule.
Progress is looking promising for a January 2017 start for HachiSakura Judo.
THOUGHT: I am wondering how many students from Cortez and Dolores would also be interested in joining the club, and if we could arrange PE credit for them, too.
Week of Monday, 14 November 2016: I will be meeting with a representative from the Historic VFW Mancos Opera House to discuss the details about using the Opera House as the dojo for HachiSakura Judo Club. The VFW has already said that they do not see any issues and have offered the use of the downstairs dining area or the upstairs area. I am not sure if the dining area will be large enough, but I will do a complete walk through and inspect the available space. Also, I need to convince the VFW to allow us to use their facilities at no charge to us, which may be a deal-breaker for them.
UPDATE: The dining room probably wouldn't work as there is no immediate storage area for the mats. The upstairs would be great and the mats could easily be stored on the stage or even behind the stage when necessary. However, using the facilities for free is not an option and we would not be able to afford a monthly rental fee without charging our members monthly dues. This is counterproductive to my overall goal of keeping membership costs as low as possible.
Week of Monday, 07 November 2016: I have a meeting with an accountant to discuss my best options for setting up the legal structure for the club. If it is realistically feasible for me to create a nonprofit organization, then I believe this will be the best route. However, there are many legal and financial requirements, along with a mountain of paperwork and red tape that must be properly navigated. It will be a lengthy and challenging process, and I’ll be the first to admit that this stuff is way above my head. Otherwise, I believe that a Limited Liability Company structure may be the next best option. Hopefully, the accountant will be able to provide guidance, and with any luck, HachiSakura Judo will come to fruition.
UPDATE: After a lot of research, reading, and phone conversations with the Colorado Secretary of State, the Colorado Revenue Department, and the IRS, it seems that the best option for our legal structure is to become a nonprofit social/recreational club under section 501(c)(7) of the IRC. Compared to a nonprofit charity under section 501(c)(3), the benefits and advantages to the club are basically the same. The main difference is that donations to exempt social and recreation clubs are not deductible as charitable contributions on the donor's federal income tax return.
As of November 1, 2016, we do not have an official location for the dojo. I am currently discussing options with the VFW Historic Mancos Opera House to work out the details and get approval to use their facilities. I am hopeful. If the Opera House does not approve my request, then I will be considering other options.
As of October 1, 2016, I have considered the Mancos Community Center as the location for our dojo. To use their facilities, they require a usage fee of 25% of the gross receipts. Since I do not plan to charge for classes or for membership, then their usage fee is $10 per hour. I cannot afford to pay $50 per week without any sort of reimbursement, which means I would have to charge my students. That does not work with my goal of offering judo to the community at no cost. However, for nonprofit organizations, the Community Center waives their usage fees. If HachiSakura Judo Club becomes a nonprofit, then this option might be reconsidered. Until then, I am going to continue to pursue other options.