SOUTH GLENS FALLS — The South High Marathon Dance has raised more than $7 million in its 41-year history, an enormous amount for a student club.
Because the dance is such a massive undertaking, organizers have decided it is time to spin off the event as its own nonprofit.
Jody Sheldon, one of the advisers to the dance, said the group is well along in the process of becoming a 501c3 nonprofit.
“Our bylaws are done. We’ve created our board of directors. We’re working on finalizing all of our paperwork,” she said.
Sheldon and fellow Marathon Dance advisers Tom Myott and Dan Albert make up the board of directors.
Sheldon said Marathon Dance organizers had not taken this step before because there is so much paperwork. There are state and federal forms to complete. Attorney Edward Fitzgerald and accountant Kerry Girard are donating their time to help.
“They’re doing a lot of the work for us,” she said.
Sheldon said the group was hoping the process would have been completed by the first of the year. However, the attorney and accountant had a lot going on in their businesses.
“Our hope and our goal is that we would be in place by July 1 of this year,” she said.
Marathon Dance organizers have been thinking of taking this step for the past couple of years. Sheldon said the two main reasons are to alleviate the workload for the school’s business office and to solicit more corporate donations.
Sheldon said the business office staff is amazing, but the Marathon Dance is taking up more and more of their time.
“It’s a lot of work for the school district and the employees of the school district to do, with the sheer volume of what we’re doing,” she said.
Attracting more business sponsorship is another reason. Some businesses will only donate to a 501c3 entity, according to Sheldon. Others prefer to match donations from their employees, which can only be done with nonprofit status.
“A business can absolutely still donate and we have a lot of businesses that donate,” she said.
Sheldon said businesses are very generous — not just in South Glens Falls but in other communities, including Saratoga Springs, Hudson Falls and Queensbury — donating money, goods, services and their time.
Sheldon said Marathon Dance organizers are not making the change because of any problems with management of finances.
“We have not had any issues. That’s not the reason for this,” she said.
The organizers have a system of checks and balances to make sure the money is secure, according to Sheldon.
“There’s no one person who has access to all of the money at any one time. There’s always a double check. In many cases, there’s four different people accounting for the money that comes in,” she said.
She is the third person in that chain, and the school district accounts for the money last.
“We keep an inventory of things so we know how many items we’ve sold, how much money has come in,” she said.
Sheldon said one thing that will not change with the move to being a nonprofit is that the South High Marathon Dance will continue to be a student-driven event.
“We’ll obviously have to hire an accountant. That’s the only thing that will change. From the public standpoint, there will be absolutely no changes to the dance. They’ll notice nothing different,” she said.