The board of directors of the Center for Nursing Advocacy would like to clarify that the center has not yet ceased to operate, as stated in "Center for Nursing Advocacy Ceases Operation" (A Matter of Agency, April).
We voted in December 2008 to dissolve the corporation. This decision was carefully and thoughtfully made by a nearly unanimous vote of the board members. The reasons were multiple, and not prompted by "a small faction of the board," as the center's former executive director, Sandra Summers, was quoted as saying. Members of the center's board are well known for their career-long support for advancing the nursing profession and as such take their responsibilities seriously. The board recognizes that not-for-profits are held to the highest ethical, financial, and legal standards. One of the many lessons learned in this circumstance is that the board cannot lose sight of the fact that the noble work of advocacy for nursing and nurses must be conducted with the fiduciary responsibility that comes with running a public organization. Having access to and understanding the internal business operations of an organization is part of every board member's responsibility.
Summers was also quoted in the article as saying that "$17 in sales tax" was owed. This is simply inaccurate. At the onset of the dissolution, several legal and tax problems came to light. For example, the executive director had failed to file a Maryland personal property tax return—required of both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations by that state—in 2004, and thus the center's corporate status had been forfeited in 2005. The center was also required to pay fines and unpaid taxes in excess of $3,000 because of the executive director's failure to file or incorrect filing of this and subsequent Maryland personal property tax returns or both.
The board engaged legal counsel to fulfill the center's legal obligations. As a result, the center's status as a corporate entity was revived effective March 2009.1 Tax and legal information, as well as information about the future status of the center, can be found on our Web site, www.nursingadvocacy.org. The center is not affiliated with, nor does the board endorse, any new organization led by Summers.
Mary C. Dominiak, PhD, RN
Center for Nursing Advocacy
Takoma Park, MD
1. Taxpayer Services Division. The Center for Nursing Advocacy, Inc. Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. 2009. http://bit.ly/hDd9B