Many of you will remember how things were done some years ago when it came to money in AA. Long-serving treasurers carried bags of cash (sometimes in multiple currencies) to and from meetings, collecting 7th Tradition contributions & reimbursing trusted servants at Group, Intergroup and Region levels.
My dear departed friend, Ron E. in Franconia invariably reimbursed fellows in the form of crisp green €100 notes such that I imagined he had his own press in the basement of his home!
Then came 9/11 and the tightening up of money-laundering and banking legislation throughout the world, especially in Europe. The Continental European Region of English-speaking AA recognised the necessity of finding a model of financial management which was in line with this new legislation and incorporated best practice of governance for non-profit organisations while adhering to our Traditions which state that ‘we remain forever non-professional, but our service centres may employ special workers’ AND that, ‘as such, we ought never be organised*; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve’. (*This does not mean that we remain forever disorganised!)
Looking back on the history of our Fellowship, we found that Bill & Bob had set up AA Inc. in the year 1938, so we already had a precedent from which we could draw inspiration.
Thus the CER Assembly decided some 10 years ago to establish a not-for-profit organisation which would serve as the legal entity for the English-language fellowship in Continental Europe (Region 15 of the 16 Regions of AA Great Britain). The result of this effort was the establishment of CERES* (Continental European Region English Speaking *) which was incorporated in Germany under German Charity Law.
The Association has a Charter, Charity Status, By-Laws, and an Executive Board comprising 7 elected members (not necessarily alcoholics) who are drawn from nominees from the CER Fellowship and elected by the CERES* Board. The rotation principle applies (3 years) and the Board members are personally liable in terms of fiduciary responsibility.
CERES* is obliged to produce an Annual Report & Financial Statement and must have the Charity Status extended by the German Authorities at least every 3 years. This insures the tax-free status of all transactions.
CERES* does not represent AA in any way, shape or form. Its remit is to act as the legal entity for CER, such as being the contracting entity for services such as holding bank accounts, and contracting property rental, telecommunication services, printing services needed for the smooth operation of the pursuit of our primary purpose and tax advisory services which are indispensable for retaining our charity status going forward. CERES* meets once each quarter, holds an annual face-to-face AGM (usually collocated with the December CER meeting) and makes its meeting minutes available to the CER Steering Committee on an on-going basis.
So, simply put, CERES* is the front office of our Regions Fellowship to the rest of the world and is responsible to those we serve. For further information or expressions of interest to volunteer service please contact us.
Yours in Fellowship,
Vice Chair, CER