About 1848 Properties, Inc.

The Fraternity has established a national housing corporation for Phi Gamma Delta called 1848 Properties, Inc. This concept has been in discussion for some years. With this new housing-focused entity, Phi Gamma Delta is following in the footsteps of a number of other fraternities and sororities.

An initial, primary purpose of the NHC is to hold title to and safeguard certain assets of closed chapters, including proceeds from the sale of chapter properties. In addition to safeguarding of assets, 1848 Properties looks to provide education and other resources to House Corporations.

 Mission & Vision

Mission Statement: 

1848 Properties, Inc. exists to provide competitive housing in Phi Gamma Delta by providing resources and assistance that promotes competitive living environments within the fraternity. Where feasible we believe that housing is an important aspect of fraternity life and that quality, safe housing is important to the long-term success of the Phi Gamma Delta­­­ and individual chapters.

Vision:

To challenge our membership to maintain the highest standards of safety and excellence in housing.

 What We Do

Our role is to foster housing excellence within Phi Gamma Delta and to provide resources and support to help house corporations and chapters to operate at the highest level possible.

While the preferred model for ownership and management is the local house corporation, we are responsible to protect and maximize the valued housing assets of the Fraternity. If a local house corporation is unwilling or unable to do so, 1848 Properties Inc, may either manage such assets until such a time that a local house corporation or chapter is re-established.

 Board of Directors

 

Housing Resources

 House Corporation

 Best Practices

There are many types and variations of housing assets within Phi Gamma Delta - from traditional chapter houses owned by house corporations (HCs), to houses owned by universities or private parties. In other instances, chapters have lodges or private residences that used by members. We recognize that these different types of housing assets will require different levels of oversight and involvement by HCs and that some of the items listed below will not be applicable.

1848 Properties Inc. will be developing resources and support materials as appropriate to assist house corporations in accomplishing the items listed below.

With the goal of providing excellent housing, HCs are encouraged to meet or exceed the following best practices.

Corporate/Fiduciary
  1. Report annually to the graduate brothers of the chapter on the financial and physical condition of their assets
  2. Conduct an an annual meeting (preferably in conjunction with the chapter's Pig Dinner, to maximize attendance and participation of the chapter's graduates)
  3. Meet at least annually with the chapter to explain HC operations
  4. File state and federal filings on time including form 990s and 941 (if you have employees)
General Operations
  1. Conduct either bi-annual or quarterly inspection of the asset (1848 Properties has a recommend inspection list)
  2. Invite undergraduates (chapter president, treasurer, house manager) to attend house corporation meetings and inspections
  3. Conduct HC meetings at the assets location (provides visibility to the HC and provides an inspection opportunity)
  4. Organize and implement an annual house improvement weekend
  5. Hire a graduate advisor or house director living on-site (for chapters with houses that have at least __ men living in the asset)
  6. Implement a "no pets allowed" policy in asset's facilities
Finances/Budget
  1. Review annually that P&C insurance to ensure it is commensurate with HC's asset
  2. Create a reserve study and review annually
  3. Maintain cash reserves equal to at least six (6) months of operating expenses
  4. Operate in full compliance with HR/payroll practices in their jurisdiction
  5. Insure PGD room & board rates are at or above average rate charged on campus
  6. Review/compare condition of assets to other fraternities on campus (our goal is to be in the top 30% of assets)
  7. Implement a scheduled maintenance plan to reduce peaks and valleys in facility condition and extend the life of the facility assets
  8. Charge parlor fees to members not living in the house for their share of the cost to use and enjoy of the chapter house
  9. Have an alternate minimum flat annual rate rental amount that the chapter is obligated to pay, regardless of actual occupancy
  10. Have a written room contract with each individual tenant that is guaranteed by a parent/guardian
  11. Charge a room damage deposit and have a room inspection form that tenants use when moving in/out of the house
  12. Budget for higher than expected operating costs (recommended at least 5% over planned budget)
  13. Budget for bad debt (recommend at least 5% bad debt as part of their standard budget)
  14. Require chapters to have a local rule for a live-in requirement, so if/when house occupancy rates fall below 90%, members would be required to live-in or move in
  15. Require the chapters implement a local annual housing assessment (e.g. $50/man/semester) designated for care and upkeep of the chapter house

Best Practice tools and further explanations for this section can be found HERE.
The Reserve Study tool can be found HERE.

Safety & Security
  1. Perform an independent safety inspection annually (insurance company, university, fire dept.)
  2. Perform fire drill/alarm system tests at the same frequency that is done with university housing on their campus (recommended 2x/yr. minimum)
  3. Equip and maintain property with appropriate system for security
  4. Require chapter officers/house manager/chapter advisor to perform a monthly inspection of the asset to assess operational and safety issues (1848 Properties has a recommended inspection list)
  5. Require chapters hire outside security for large social events
  6. Install sprinkler head guards on sprinkler heads to prevent accidental discharge of water
  7. Install and maintain smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in accordance with local fire regulations
  8. Replace batteries for smoke detectors semi-annually 

 Reserve Study

Explanation

A best practice within Phi Gamma Delta house corporations (HC) is the use of a Reserve Study to help the HC plan for repair and replacement of major components of the house and the funding for the same. This tool/process will help insure proper funding/capitalization of the HC and avoid the need for continual appeals to graduate brothers to handle routine upkeep and improvements. Further, the use of this tool will enable the HC to properly calculate the full cost of operating the house, so that this can be factored into their rent calculations. Rent, of course, shouldn't just be about mortgage, insurance and utilities, etc., but needs to factor the costs of all the components of the house. With this information, the HC can factor in and charge brothers for their share of the use of this asset and the components annually, rather than pushing that cost out to brothers in the future.

Starting this process can feel daunting. Don't let this deter you! Even if you start with "guesses" about the cost of replacement of items and estimate the useful remaining life, that is better than doing nothing! Over time - say as you have the furnace inspected - you can ask for an assessment of remaining life and get an estimate for replacement from your vendor. Finally, don't be discouraged if your obligations outweigh your on-hand cash. Under capitalization is a common problem among HCs. And not only do you need to allocate some of your cash on-hand to your reserves, but you also should have several months of operating expenses on-hand as well. This is all part of the process of improving HC operations. For those with cash on-hand, we recommend that you allocate some of those funds to your reserves based on the items that will need replacing the soonest. And remember, reserve funds as a general principle should not use for daily operations.

Finally, this reserve study format is allocating the cost of house operations based on the number of brothers living in the house (beds). Of course, the brothers living in the house are getting "more" benefit and use than brothers not living in the house, but all brothers have access to the house and are benefiting from the roof, HVAC, common areas, chapter room, bathrooms, floors, etc., and they are contributing to the wear and tear. For this reason, we recommend that HC factor in an amount to assess/charge the "non-resident" brothers for their share of the use and enjoyment of the house.

Process

Here is the Reserve Study Tool.

The Reserve Study tool is only as good as you make it. We recommend that at least once every three years the HC shall cause to be conducted a reasonably competent and diligent visual inspection of the accessible areas of the major components which the HC is obligated to repair, replace, restore, or maintain as part of a study of the reserve account requirements of the HC. It is recommended that the board shall review this study annually and shall consider and implement necessary adjustments to the board's analysis of the reserve account requirements as a result of that review.

 Preferred Partners

As a part of the growing list of resources available through 1848 Properties, Inc., we are pleased to announce our preferred partners for house corporations to work with. 

Upper Crust Food Service

You can find all of Upper Crust's information on their website at www.uppercrustfoodservice.com. Upper Crust Food Service provides a turnkey solution for all of your kitchen management needs. We handle the daily logistics of running your kitchen including hiring and training staff, purchasing goods from vendors, cleaning the food service areas, creating delicious menus, handling insurance and workers comp, meeting with your students to gain feedback, and much more.

*1848 Properties, Inc. has made efforts to verify the capabilities and check references of the companies listed on this page. However, given the unique nature of chapter house services, local governmental requirements and the diverse types of properties within Phi Gamma Delta, it is possible that not all providers will be able/willing to serve all chapters. Further, it is critically important for local groups to do their own due diligence to ensure that any company they hire has the specific experience needed for their project. 1848 Properties may, in some instances, be receiving fees from the companies listed; however, all services provided to our house corporations and chapters by these providers should be at market competitive rates irrespective of whether a fee is paid or not.*

 House Corporation Communications

The Fraternity recommends the following communication plan for all House Corporations:. 

  1. 8-10 communications per year to your graduate base. This should include at least two physical (mailed) newsletters and 6-8 other mail or email communications. 
  2. It is also important to create a strong social media presence on Facebook and Twitter. You should also consider using Instagram for photos or to engage more recent graduate brothers. People will be able to discuss things and plan events with your HC members and other brothers on Facebook. Twitter and Instagram can be used in a similar way, but it reaches a younger and more diverse audience.
  3. Keep a strong communication plan. It will make it easier to fundraise in the future, in addition to keeping graduates involved in the chapter.
  4. If you do not have a good email list, Thomas Lovejoy, Director of Graduate Involvement, will help you obtain a good list to reach your graduate base. 

Example Communication Plan:

  • January: Physical newsletter, including: Pig Dinner information/save the date, information about spring events, other relevant chapter updates.
  • February: Email a Pig Dinner reminder or save the date
  • March/April: Mail a Pig Dinner invitation 6-8 weeks prior to the Pig Dinner. 
  • May/June: E-newsletter with end of the school year information, Pig Dinner attendance report, chapter house updates and other relevant information.
  • July/August: E-newsletter with information and important reminders for the start of the school year.
  • September: Email about chapter recruitment, chapter house renovation projects, etc.
  • October: Physical newsletter, including: fall news (recruitment, house renovations, etc.), information about upcoming tailgates or events and other relevant information.
  • November/December: Email message about winter preparations, holiday celebrations and other important information. 
  • December/End of Year: Fundraising letter, asking for donations. Including an update about the chapter or house and other important information.

Need Help Communicating With Your Chapter's Graduates?

The Fraternity's Graduate Communication Services can assist you with your email communications, newsletters and other mailings. For more information visit www.phigam.org/GraduateCommunicationServices.

 Additional Resources

 

1848 Properties Webinars

2019 Webinar Schedule:

  • January: New Kitchen Management Program
  • March: New Communication Strategies
  • May: Fundraising 102 (Updated version of previous fundraising webinar)
  • July: Strategies For Chapters With No House
  • September: Building and Renovating Houses
  • November: TBD
  • ***A handful of other webinars will be recorded without a live audience and posted as well

A New Approach to Kitchen Operations (Upper Crust Food Service)

Fundraising 101 (Columns Fundraising)

21st Century Strategy for Operating Your House Corporation


House Corporation Newsletter

 February 2019

 
 
 February 2019 House Corporation Newsletter
 

In This Issue

Added Resources

Upcoming Webinars

Food Services

Seeking Volunteers

 

Thank you for the work that you do to provide housing for an undergraduate chapter of Phi Gamma Delta. That work is important, and the Fraternity wants to provide the resources that you need to be effective. 

This message will address a number of matters that should be of interest to you. 

 
Added Resources on 1848 Properties, Inc. Website

We are excited to let you know about some added resources and tools for house corporations on the 1848 Properties, Inc. website.

Reserve Study: This is a powerful tool for house corporations to track assets and budget for future replacement costs of major items, allowing you to look differently at your operating costs and rent levels.

Best Practices: We have included links to a number of best practices that provide you with more detailed explanations of each of these areas, and where appropriate, we have links to documents or tools like the reserve study. In the near future, all best practices will have a link that provides a further, more detailed explanation.

Additionally, we have added an 1848 Properties, Inc. webinar schedule for 2019, all the previous webinars and a preferred partners section.

1848 Properties will continue to provide more housing resources for house corporations as we develop them, so please check back regularly. You can find all of that information HERE.

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Upcoming 1848 Properties, Inc. Webinars

Our next webinar is scheduled for March and will cover new communication strategies for house corporations.

Renovations and rebuilding projects are huge undertakings that require participation from our graduate brothers. Studies show that if you haven’t had consistent communications with your graduates for at least two years prior to the campaign, your fundraising effectiveness is severely diminished. Also, as the “trustees” for the biggest asset owned by your chapter, regular communications with your “shareholders” is an important part of your duties.

This webinar will discuss what types of communication you need to have and will introduce tools that have been created to make this easy for you to accomplish!

An invitation to join this webinar will be sent in the coming weeks.

Here is the schedule of live webinars for the rest of the year:
 - March: New Communication Strategies
 - May: Fundraising 102
 - July: Strategies For When You Do Not Have a House
 - September: Building And Renovating Houses

In case you missed it:
On January 30, 1848 Properties and Upper Crust Food Service hosted a webinar titled "A New Approach to Kitchen Operations". You can find that video and all previous webinars HERE.

Keep an eye out for invitation emails to join these webinars, as well as other informational videos being posted to the 1848 Properties Website.

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Food Corner With Upper Crust Food Service

As we have mentioned in a previous email and in the most recent webinar, 1848 Properties has partnered with Upper Crust Food Service as the fraternity's preferred food service provider. Upper Crust can take your current chef and simplify your kitchen management program - aiming to make it a profitable endeavor - as well as give your chef benefits and more resources to work with.

More information and instructions to request a price quote is available HERE

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Seeking Brothers for Advisory Role: "Ask a Brother" Section of Website

In our continued effort to enhance the resources provided to housing corporations, we are seeking brothers who have recently navigated certain situations on their own housing corporations that other housing corporations might face themselves. Our intent is to build a directory we can refer other brothers to for advice in similar siutations.

We are seeking brothers who have recently, and successfully, completed:
 - Fundraising efforts
 - Major house rebuilds
 - Started a new house corporation
 - Dealt with a crisis (fire, injury, flood, chapter house closure)
 - Successful self-managed kitchen program
 - Successfully used a kitchen management company (like Upper Crust)
 - Used a good cleaning or maintenance company
 - Good experience with a live-in house advisor
 - A successful chapter with non-traditional housing
 - A chapter that has a successful communications plan with its graduates

Please reach out to Thomas Lovejoy, Director of Graduate Involvement, if you would be willing to offer others advice on any of these subjects.

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You are receiving this newsletter because you are listed as a House Corporation member for a Phi Gamma Delta Chapter/Colony. If you are no longer a member of a House Corporation contact Thomas Lovejoy, Director of Graduate Involvement.

You may also contact Thomas to determine who is currently listed in the Fraternity's records. 

 

© 2016 Phi Gamma Delta

1848 Properties Inc.
1201 Red Mile Road, Lexington, Kentucky 40544-4599
phigam@phigam.org  |  859.255.1848
www.phigam.org/1848Properties

 
 

 November 2018

     
  Phi Gamma Delta House Corporation Newsletter.  
 
 
 
November 2018 House Corporation Newsletter
 

In This Issue

Best Practices

Annual Tax Filing

Fundraising 101 Webinar

Fiji Academy

 
 
 

Thank you for the work that you do to provide housing for an undergraduate chapter of Phi Gamma Delta. That work is important, and the Fraternity wants to provide the resources that you need to be effective. 

This message will address a number of matters that should be of interest to you. 

 
1848 Properties Best Practices

1848 Properties has developed some "Best Practices" for house corporations. There are many types and variations of housing assets within Phi Gamma Delta from traditional chapter houses owned by house corporations to houses owned by universities or private parties, to chapters with lodges or private residences used by members.

We recognize that these different types of housing assets will require different levels of oversight and involvement by house corporations and that some of the items in the link will not be applicable, but it is a good starting point as a general point of reference. See the link below for more information. 

1848 Best Practices

 
Annual Tax Filing

All nonprofit entities in the U.S., including house corporations, are required to file an annual tax return with the IRS. The return is some version of the Form 990 and is due by the 15th day of the 5th month following the close of the fiscal year. For those house corporations that have adopted a fiscal year end consistent with the Fraternity's on June 30, this is due by November 15, 2018.

Nonprofit entities that fail to file the annual return for three consecutive years may have their tax-exempt status revoked by the IRS. The loss of tax-exempt status means that the entity must operate as a for-profit entity, with its revenue, such as dues and rent, subject to income tax.

Unfortunately, a number of chapters and house corporations have lost their exempt status and are working through an onerous process to regain it. To check if your chapter / house corporation is on the revocation list, go to this page on the IRS website.

 
Fundraising 101 Webinar - In Case You Missed It

On November 7th, 1848 Properties hosted a webinar, presented by Mark Wilkison of Columns Fundraising, focusing on the steps and considerations needed before embarking on a capital campaign.

If you missed it, you can find it here.

 
Fiji Academy - Housing Breakout Information

The Fraternity will hold the 2019 Fiji Academy January 4-6, 2019 in St Louis, MO. The Academy is designed to give new chapter officers a strong foundation so they can dynamically and courageously lead their chapters, as well as provide training to our graduate volunteers.

House Corporation members may be interested in a housing breakout session facilitated by 1848 Properties. This session will be held during the during the Graduate Advisor track on Saturday morning, January 5. Please note that the majority of our graduate volunteer training is tailored to our Section Chiefs and Advisors.

Details regarding the 2019 Fiji Academy may be found at www.phigam.org/academy.

Note the Academy registration deadline is November 30th.

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You are receiving this newsletter because you are listed as a House Corporation member for a Phi Gamma Delta Chapter/Colony. If you are no longer a member of a House Corporation contact Thomas Lovejoy, Director of Graduate Involvement.

You may also contact Thomas to determine who is currently listed in the Fraternity's records. 

 
 

© 2016 Phi Gamma Delta

1201 Red Mile Road, P.O. Box 4599
Lexington, Kentucky 40544-4599
phigam@phigam.org  |  859.255.1848

 
 

 September 2018

House Corportation Newsletter - Fall 2018

Beginning of the Year Tips

The early part of the fall season should be a busy time for your house corporation team. Starting the year off with strong communications should hopefully pay dividends through the remainder of the year.

This resource provides a number of items that we encourage House Corporations to do as the academic year begins.

Best Practices

As most of you are aware, the creation and use of a best practice has been commonly used by organizations of all types for many, many years. What exactly is a best practice?

A best practice is a method or technique that has been generally accepted as superior to any alternatives because it produces results that are superior to those achieved by other means or because it has become a standard way of doing things, e.g., a standard way of complying with legal or ethical requirements. (Wikipedia.)

What we have come to recognize, is that by not giving house corporations consistent support we have missed the opportunity share information like best practices and one of the results is that we are making our volunteers work harder, by having to “figure everything out” for yourself.  We want to change this as we challenge ourselves to continually improve and achieved the highest level of excellence. Our goal is to develop support materials to help you with each of these best practices. We are just getting started. And ask if your house corporation has tools/materials already developed to share them with 1848 Properties so that we can in-turn share them with our Phi Gam HC groups.

So now having an understanding of what a best practice is and what our goals are, we like to ask that you review the initial set of the best practices that we have created at https://www.phigam.org/file/HCBestPractces.pdf.

We understand that some of the house corporations will be operating above the level of these best practices and some will need to make some changes in their practices to meet or exceed these standards. We are here to help you…so if you need support just ask!

Taxes

All nonprofit entities in the U.S., including house corporations, are required to file an annual tax return with the IRS. The return is some version of the Form 990 and is due by the 15th day of the 5th month following the close of the fiscal year. For those house corporations that have adopted a fiscal year end consistent with the Fraternity's on June 30, this is due by November 15, 2018. 

Nonprofit entities that fail to file the annual return for three consecutive years will have their tax-exempt status revoked. The loss of tax exempt status means that the entity must operate as a for-profit entity, with its revenue, such as dues and rent, subject to income tax. Unfortunately, a number of chapters and house corporations have lost their exempt status and are working through an onerous process to regain it. To check if your chapter / house corporation is on the revocation list, go to this page on the IRS website. 

If your chapter/house corporation is not on the list, but you know that the tax return has not been filed for one or more years, you should give this your immediate attention. And, we suggest you engage a local tax professional to assist you. The Fraternity may also be able to direct you to assistance if your tax-exempt status has been revoked by contacting Will Shier.

College/University Agreements

We continue to see an increasing number of host institutions requiring fraternity chapters, and in some cases house corporations, to execute relationship or housing agreements with the institution.

Many of these agreements require that the institution be named as an insured on the chapter/house corporation’s liability insurance and that the chapter or house corporation indemnify the institution. Some of these requirements are not feasible or are inequitable.

Any such document should not be executed until it has been reviewed by the Fraternity’s insurance agency. It can be sent to Bill Martin at bmartin@phigam.org.

Insurance Coverage

The International Fraternity purchases general liability coverage, as well as directors and officers (D&O) insurance, that includes house corporations, their officers and directors as insureds. (Purple Legionnaires and other chapter advisors also are insureds.) The coverage limit on the primary general liability is $1 million, and the limit on the excess coverage is $5 million. The D&O limit is $5 million.

Exclusions
The Fraternity’s general liability coverage excludes from coverage anyone directly involved in a violation of the Risk Management Policy that results in a claim. This includes the construction and/or use of water features, towers, platforms and other similar. Our claims experience shows that these structures pose a significant risk of injury. The prohibition applies not just to and during Fiji Island parties, but to all chapter events.

We suggest that you reinforce with your chapter that the Fraternity’s Risk Management Policy, including the provision regarding pools and construction, is to be followed at all times on chapter property. The policy and provisions are also to be followed at all other locations, but we emphasize chapter property here because of your house corporation’s role and interest in the property.

This exclusion does not apply to a brother, advisor or House Corporation that is not directly involved in a violation.

Commercial Crime Coverage 
The insurance program of the Fraternity also provides coverage for theft, forgery and alteration of checks by house corporation or chapter officers or by employees. The coverage limit per claim is $50,000. To maintain coverage and to avoid the opportunity for claims, all chapters and house corporations should be certain (1) that all checks require the signatures of two people and (2) that the bank statements are balanced by someone other than the individual who has check writing authority. It is also highly recommended that house corporations annually have an independent third party conduct an audit of the corporation’s financials.

Property Coverage
House corporations should obtain property coverage on their own. If you would like information on agencies that specialize in property coverage for fraternities, please contact Bill Martin.

Update HC Rosters

House corporation officers are encouraged to regularly update their member rosters with the Fraternity. Contact Rob Caudill, Senior Director of Graduate Development & Operations, to determine who is currently listed in the Fraternity's records and/or to update these records. 

Webinar - 21st Strategy for operating Your House Corporation

On Thursday, September 13, 2018 1848 Properties, Inc. will host a webinar titled 21st Century Strategy for Operating Your House Corporation. This was a popular session at our 170th Ekklesia Housing Conference we want to make available to all House Corporation members.

Register today at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8211186214221214211

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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Have a Question About Housing?
Contact Thomas Lovejoy.