Science Iowa minutes

August 4, 2021


President Dan Chibnall convened the board at approximately 6 p.m. Also present: Treasurer Ruth Henderson and Secretary Tom O’Donnell


Approve the minutes of the June 5, 2021 meeting. See:


Ruth moved; Tom seconded; unanimously approved.


Old business:


Articles of incorporation amendment: Tom O’Donnell


Background: The Iowa Secretary of State approved our articles of incorporation on June 6. The application and approval are in the Google drive.

Tom has filled out the IRS Form 1023 for nonprofit status. There are two possible problems:

First, our organizing document (articles of incorporation) must limit our purposes to those described in the law governing 501(c)3: charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, and others that don't apply to us (sports and animal cruelty). Referring to 501(c)3 in the articles or bylaws automatically limits us, but we can't list purposes in our organizing documents that are broader than the ones I just listed. Our articles of incorporation say:


Science Iowa advocates for science in the public interest, publicly supported
research, and evidence-based policy.


Our organizing documents must not expressly empower the organization “to engage, otherwise than as an insubstantial part of your activities, in activities” that don't further purposes outside those in the code. Advocacy isn't a tax-exempt purpose. We can even file a form limiting our expenditures for that purpose. (I asked the Iowa Environmental Council's lawyer about this, since they clearly advocate, i.e., lobby, but he says it is a small – insubstantial – part of their activities.) 


Bottom line: We may have to revise our articles of incorporation purpose statement. It could be as simple as this change:


Science Iowa promotes science in the public interest, publicly supported
research, and evidence-based policy.


Second, the articles name Trees Forever as receiving our assets if Science Iowa dissolves. But the IRS says that is acceptable only if the articles state that the organization must be a 501(c)3 at the time of dissolution AND the articles provide for distribution for exempt purposes only. This isn't included in our dissolution statement, but, again, could be easily done by amending the articles.


Dan moved to approve the amendments.  Ruth seconded. Approved unanimously.


Tom will submit the amendments to the Iowa Secretary of State. Once that is approved, he will submit the Form 1023 to apply for nonprofit status.


Bank account status: Ruth Henderson


We needed to have the updates on our website, which have been done. We have the employer identification number. We just need to contact Trees Forever and have them cut a check to Green State Credit Union and open the account. 


Ruth will contact Trees Forever to get the check and then open the account.


Ruth will contact Dan to set up a time to visit the credit union and open the account.


Social media update: Dan Chibnall


Dan was on vacation and was on a roll with social media before he left. Now he’s picking it back up. He puts it in his workflow and sends it out as part of his morning routine. Water quality news seem to get more attention than others.


Board resignation: Dan Chibnall and the board


Dan noted that the board discussed recruiting Jordan Wilmes in a previous meeting, but that was before Jordan’s mother died in an accident. Dan said he didn’t want to go in that direction if Jordan is still grieving, but he also wants us to consider whether it’s appropriate. 


Ruth is a good friend of Jordan’s and will talk with him about it. 


Iowa Science Foundation grant status: Tom O’Donnell and Kaitlin Higgins


Tom noted that there was no word. The foundation and the academy seem overwhelmed by the pandemic, with limited success attracting proposals for the science teaching section meeting that’s coming up. Tom will contact the Iowa Academy of Science director to see where things stand.


New business


“Ideas” meeting to involve membership – Dan Chibnall


Dan suggested holding a meeting with all interested members to seek ideas for Science Iowa activities. Tom and Ruth agreed it is a good idea. Dan will rough out a plan and send it around to the board.


Next meeting date: Dan will send a meeting poll for the second week of September, keeping Maurine Neiman’s restrictions in mind.


Adjourned at approximately 6:30 p.m.