Show Of Hands Showcase: Reimaging The Alumni Association MOU Relative To Asset Tracking

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In December 2021, Mike Pede (Houston) used the Show of Hands platform to ask CAAE members with alumni chapters, clubs or sub-associations, whether they require those groups to sign an annual MOU that stipulates institutional requirements? Beth Kungel Borck, Pete’s Director of Affiliated Alumni Associations, collected input from CAAE respondents and shares her findings in this submission.

By Beth Kungel Borck, Director of Affiliated Alumni Associations, University of Houston

It started with a situation: Last August, we received word that a trailer, registered to the University of Houston Alumni Association (UHAA) was recovered during a drug raid. The trailer had been stripped of its contents and was now being held in a tow yard nearly 500 miles away in Midland, accruing storage fees daily. 

Originally, this trailer was outfitted with a full cook-off set-up, i.e., grills, cooktops, gear for cooking, you name it - that was used by one of our constituent groups, but was the legal property of the UH Alumni Association Foundation. And so began my journey down a path to determine whether an industry standard exists in relation to assets and property, liability, deductibles, and related documentation.

Currently, our constituent groups are required to complete three documents annually – Conflict of Interest Form, Bylaws, and a Constituent Information Form – a practice similar across CAAE. Most of these forms center around clauses regarding behavior and terms of dismissal for volunteers and board members; I was unable to identify a clear policy or clause surrounding the types of issues the trailer situation brought to light.

To help craft a draft clause, my research uncovered that some non-profits carry language that address these issues. It is not uncommon for non-profits to have assets that do not “live” with the organization, but rather on property belonging to board members and volunteers, such as their homes or storage facilities. The issue in our situation was a lack of centralized tracking of assets that fall under the UHAAF scope of ownership. We lacked a complete list of assets held, the location of these assets, and value documentation for each item. While the draft clause below is still a work in progress, it is our first attempt to rectify this lack of consolidated information and to establish a clear policy moving forward.


Constituent Groups are required to provide a list of Association-held assets that have a purchased value of $250 and above, annually. This list must include the asset, purchase documentation (receipt, paid invoice, donation of asset/GIK documentation, etc.), and physical location of the item. If the item is being stored off UH property, then an asset possession agreement must be on file with UHAA that dictates storage location, security of the item, and return of asset procedure if the holder vacates their position within the Alumni Association/Alumni Organization.

A second issue that the trailer situation brought to light is the definition of “Responsible Party,” as it relates to storage and towing fees and insurance deductibles. While we are still discussing this within our Foundation Governance Committee and our Foundation Constituent Relations Committee, we intend to clearly define the financial responsibilities of each party in these equations. 

My final takeaway is that while we do our best to articulate codes of conduct and grounds for dismissal, many of us, UHAA included, do not have a policy or MOU concerning property owned by the parent organization (UHAA) but held by volunteers. My hope at the end of this process is to create a leverageable clause that other organizations can adapt for their needs, so that no other parties end up wondering how to re-claim a lost-and-found trailer.

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