SNA PAC: Political Action Committee
Each year, the School Nutrition Association Political Action Committee (PAC) makes contributions to support members of Congress who have shown leadership in fighting for the health of children. Learn how you can support these efforts.
Check out resources for state affiliates on how to do a successful state PAC collection, including a PowerPoint template and FAQ.
Learn more about what a PAC is, its role in the legislative process and why SNA needs a PAC to successfully advocate for school meal programs at the federal level.
SNA PAC: Political Action Committee
Each year, the School Nutrition Association Political Action Committee (PAC) makes contributions to support members of Congress who have shown leadership in fighting for the health of children.
The SNA Executive Board founded the PAC on the heels of the 1981 federal budget crisis that resulted in deep cuts in federal child nutrition program budgets. The goals behind the creation of the PAC still hold true today:
- To educate members of Congress about the child nutrition programs
- To thank the members who continue to support the programs year after year
Resources for States
Check out resources for state affiliates on how to do a successful state collection, including a PowerPoint template and a PAC FAQ.
PPL Chair Doug Davis discusses food prep with his students
SNA of South Carolina members visiting with Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC)
Support the PAC
The PAC is governed by School Nutrition Association volunteer leaders and is made up exclusively of Association members who provide it with financial support. You can support the PAC by getting involved in the activities listed below.
SNA PAC Contributions
The SNA PAC makes contributions in a bipartisan manner to those elected representatives who support child nutrition.
Political Action Committees are regulated by the Federal Election Commission and strict rules apply to all PAC fundraising. Only individual SNA members may contribute. Company or association contributions will not be accepted.
What is SNA PAC?
The SNA Political Action Committee (SNA PAC) raises funds from SNA members and contributes funds to federal elected officials in accordance with Federal Elections Commission rules in order to educate members of Congress about the child nutrition programs and thank the members of Congress who continue to support the child nutrition programs year after year. SNA PAC is a critical component of SNA’s policy and advocacy efforts particularly as campaigns for office become more costly for members of Congress.
Please be creative in collecting funds; however, be mindful of the federal regulations governing PAC fundraising (see Guidelines below). Some fundraising ideas include:
“Pass the Buck” Collection.
Perhaps the most popular method of collecting funds for PAC, pass a bowl, bucket or other collection device as you "Pass the Buck for PAC." This method of fundraising is most appropriate at gatherings of SNA members such as state conferences or chapter meetings. It is important to remember a few legal points when "passing the hat:"
- Announce that you are collecting funds for SNA PAC and briefly explain what SNA does with the funds: supports members of Congress that support child nutrition programs
- Announce that non-SNA members or SNA industry members should please refrain from contributing.
- Individuals ‘passing the hat’ should do their best to police the collection ensuring that only SNA members are contributing.
- Announce that if anyone has any questions or is an industry member who wishes to contribute to see a designated person.
- Make a designated person available at the back of the room or outside the room—most likely the state PPL chair—who should be able to explain to industry members the need to sign an authorization form if they wish to contribute. Industry authorization forms, along with a list of which members of Congress have received SNA PAC contributions are available on the SNA PAC website.
Encourage members to ‘check the box’ for SNA PAC on the membership renewal form. All SNA members renewing their annual membership can contribute any amount they wish in addition to their membership dues by checking the appropriate box. This can be done whether renewing on a paper renewal form or online on the SNA website. Contributions will be included in determining the state contest winners.
SNA PAC Statesmen, Ambassadors & Patriots.
Any SNA member can join the SNA PAC Statesmen club by contributing a minimum of $50. Over two hundred SNA members are "SNA PAC Statesmen and Ambassadors" every year. Statesmen receive a special lapel pin and are invited to the exclusive PAC Statesmen Reception held annually at the School Nutrition Association Legislative Action Conference (LAC) in Washington, D.C. Ambassadors are individuals who donate a minimum of $100. They receive special recognition during LAC. A new donor level of Patriot has been established at the $25 level targeting school nutrition employees and managers.
State Affiliate Sample Newsletter
A brief newsletter article on SNA PAC can be downloaded from the SNA PAC website. It can be used in state newsletters or magazines. The article explains SNA PAC and outlines how SNA members can support the PAC.
SNA PAC Fundraising Guidelines for State Affiliates and Chapters
States are challenged to see how many funds they can raise in support of PAC. Total contribution amounts will include any funds that are raised at state meetings, PAC Statesmen donations, and contributions made with SNA membership renewals. There are several laws that govern contribution to Political Action Committees. Please follow the guidelines below:
Corporate contributions to a Political Action Committee are prohibited (2 U.S.C 441b). As a result, it generally would not be permissible for a state affiliate (an incorporated association) to write a check to SNA PAC. However, there is a provision in FEC regulations that permits certain persons to act as "collecting agents" by accepting and then forwarding contributions to an affiliated political committee (11 C.F.R. 102.8 (b); Campaign Guide for Corporations and Labor Organizations at 28).
As an affiliate of SNA, state associations meet the definition of "collecting agent" (Campaign Guide, at 28).
In order for such a transfer to be made, the following requirements would need to be met:
- The state affiliate should have only solicited those persons SNA PAC is authorized to solicit for contributions.
- You may not solicit from non-members. Nor can you solicit from corporate members without prior written approval, and then only individuals, not companies, may make contributions. If industry members fill out an ‘authorization to solicit’ form they may contribute. If collecting funds through a ‘pass the hat’ method, it is advisable to politely ask that industry members not contribute.
- For contributions under $50, the state affiliate must forward the contributions they received to SNA PAC within 30 days of receiving them. For contributions over $50, the transfer must be made within 10 days.
- The state affiliate must keep records of the monies received and provide SNA PAC with the name, address, and employment information for any person who contributed $200 or more.
- If the state affiliate meets these requirements, it should be able to transfer the monies it collected to SNA PAC. If it does not, then no transfer of funds should be made.
One additional item, if the state affiliate makes a transfer to SNA PAC it needs to be done by money order, cashier's check or personal check. A check from a state association’s checking account would not be permissible.
For more information on SNA PAC or the State Challenge, contact SNA's Government Affairs staff at (800) 877-8822.
What is a PAC?
A political action committee supports an organization's political goals by collecting money from people who share those goals and making contributions to political candidates who support those goals.
Why does SNA need a PAC? Why is the SNA-PAC important?
- The SNA PAC works to support Congressional members that are involved and passionate about SNA issues.
- The SNA Executive Board founded the PAC on the heels of the 1981 federal budget crisis that resulted in deep cuts in federal child nutrition program budgets. The goals behind the creation of the PAC still hold true today:
- To educate Members of Congress about the child nutrition programs; and,
- To thank the members who continue to support the programs year after year.
What does the PAC do and what role does the PAC have in the legislative process?
- SNA PAC supports SNA’s legislative goals. Read about these in the Position Paper.
- Contributions are voted on by the Board and made to Members of Congress who support SNA initiatives.
- Contributions are made at receptions allowing SNA Government Affairs Staff to have access to key Members of Congress.
- In non-election year 2011, SNA PAC contributed $8,500 to Members of Congress.
How does the PAC decide who to contribute to?
- SNA actively identifies Congressional members who support our issues, are on committees with jurisdiction over our issues, and with whom we feel we could benefit from cultivating and enhancing relationships. Typically the Congressional members are serving on committees that reauthorize child nutrition programs.
- SNA typically gives to members on influential committees such as: the House Education and Labor, House/Senate Agriculture Committees, and the House/Senate Appropriations Committees.
- SNA staff emails the PAC board to seek permission before contributing to a campaign or member of Congress. (Included: bio, importance and basis for recommending a contribution).
Is the money for SNA PAC from SNA member dues?
No. Federal regulations prohibit the SNA PAC from seeking donations outside of SNA’s membership. Therefore, the SNA PAC counts on donations from SNA members.
Are donations to the SNA PAC tax-deductible?
No. Contributions are not tax-deductible.
Is the SNA PAC associated with a political party?
No. SNA PAC is a bipartisan entity that supports federal political candidates who support issues important to SNA regardless of party affiliation.
Note: Sample PAC Financial Statements are available upon request.