By-laws of McHenry’s Soberfest Inc., A Not-for-Profit Corporation

Revised 12/06/2023


A. The name of the organization shall be McHenry’s Soberfest Inc.


A. McHenry’s Soberfest Inc. is organized to provide conferences, speakers, meetings, panels, workshops, literature, etc. by alcoholics, for alcoholics, and about Alcoholics Anonymous. In keeping with the primary purpose of carrying the message to the alcoholic who still suffers, we will further foster the principles of the A.A. society as expressed in:

  1. The Twelve Steps of A.A.
  2. The Twelve Traditions of A.A.
  3. The Twelve Concepts for World Service


A. Membership in this organization shall be open to all who have continuous sobriety for a period of one year at the time of the November conference. Certain committees require a longer period of sobriety. A simple majority can amend this on a case by case basis.

B. The representing member for the Al-Anon committee shall also be a voting member of the main McHenry’s Soberfest planning committee.


A. The annual membership meeting of this organization shall be held on the first Wednesday of January each and every year except if such day be a legal holiday, then and in that event, the Board of Directors (hereafter referred to as the Steering Committee) shall schedule the day but it shall not be more than two weeks from the date established by these By-Laws. Elections for all open positions will be held at this meeting at which point previous terms cease.

  1. The incoming Co-Chair of the committee is the only exception and is voted in as the last order of new business at the December wrap-up meeting and assumes responsibilities immediately. Subsequently, the previous year’s Co-Chair assumes chair responsibilities immediately.

B. The Secretary shall send a notice with the time and place of such annual meeting. They will contact every member in good standing by email or phone.

C. Regular meetings of this organization shall be held at the appointed location and will continue every other Wednesday, unless otherwise determined.


A. For election of all positions, ballots shall be provided and there shall not appear any place on such ballot that might tend to indicate the person who cast such ballot. Before voting there shall be time allowed for any relevant discussion that may assist the committee on voting, keeping in mind “Principles before Personalities”.

B. At all meetings, any one member may request a vote by secret ballot as described above for decisions being determined by vote.

C. Outgoing sub-committee chair members are considered voting members exclusively at the annual January election meeting.

D. For standard motions during the regular committee meetings see Appendix I “Robert’s Rules of Order as Adopted by McHenry’s Soberfest Inc.”.

E. The secretary shall list results of the votes in the minutes.


A. General Order of Business Meetings:

  1. Roll call, introductions, and announcements.
  2. Reading of the minutes of the preceding meeting.
  3. Reports of Committees (All voting held until Old/New Business).
  4. Open Positions.
  5. Old Business.
  6. New Business.
  7. Close with the “Lord’s Prayer”.

B. A quorum shall consist of at least 51% of the committee members; a quorum must be present in order for the committee to conduct business. Motions and resolutions shall require a simple majority vote of the quorum for approval. All committee members shall have one vote and shall vote on all matters with the exception of the chairperson (see below).

C. The Chair has a vote in the following:

  1. In the event of a voting tie
  2. In the steering committee
  3. In special ad-hoc subcommittees

D. Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern the committee in all cases in which they are applicable. See Appendix I “Robert’s Rules of Order as adopted by McHenry’s Soberfest Inc.”

E. Right of Minority Appeal – in the spirit of A.A.’s Fifth Concept of World Service, the right of minority appeal shall be heard for all motions.

F. General business meetings of the committee are considered to be open to observation, and all members of Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon may attend. However, only present members of the committee may participate in these meetings. Any disruptive individuals will be asked to leave. The Chair may include an open discussion/Q&A portion to the meeting agenda to allow for participation from those not on the committee.

G. Closed discussions shall be reserved for matters such as legal, financial or emergency situations. Matters not falling in these categories may be “closed” per a majority vote, but should be reserved for only when it is absolutely necessary.


A. The business of this organization shall be managed by the elected members. The McHenry’s Soberfest planning committee meets year-round and is divided into a number of subcommittees which are assigned various responsibilities for the planning, preparation and execution of all events before, during and after the conference.

B. At least one of the committee members elected shall be a resident of the State of Illinois and a citizen of the United States to satisfy our non-profit status.

C. The McHenry’s Soberfest Appendix II “AA Committees & Job Descriptions” can be amended with a simple majority of the entire committee.

D. Minimum sobriety (at the time of the November conference), requirements, and commitments for each subcommittee are determined by the responsibilities required to perform each duty and are listed in Appendix III “Service and Sobriety Requirements”.

E. If a committee member misses two consecutive meetings without notifying the chair, or three consecutive meetings while notifying the chair, their position status as a committee member could be taken to a discussion and possible ⅔ majority vote at the following meeting. The Chair or Co-Chair shall make efforts to contact the committee member before calling a vote to remove them.

F. When the character of a committee member is called into question, relating to controversial situations outside or inside the confines of the committee, any member may bring said situations to the attention of the steering committee. The steering committee shall inform the member of their discussion and shall determine whether or not the situation should be added to the following meeting’s agenda for the full committee’s knowledge. The member has the right of explanation of said situation should it be added to the agenda. The committee reserves the right to make a motion to remove them as a member of the McHenry’s Soberfest Committee, reassign the member to a different chair position, or take no further action, per the ¾ majority voting process.

G. Terms of service for each committee range from a two year to a four year commitment. The “Term” is the maximum time a person may hold the position sequentially. Continuity shall be accomplished through the progression of subcommittee co-chairpersons assuming the chairpersons’ function each year*.

G. Comittee Positions

1. Committee Chairperson:

  1. The President of the organization by virtue of his office shall be Chairperson of the Steering Committee and Committee Chairperson and preside at all membership meetings.
  2. The Chairperson may return to serve on the Committee after their term is complete, but cannot be re-elected to the Chairperson position.

2. Secretary:

  1. The Secretary shall keep the minutes and records of the organization in appropriate fashion.

3. Treasurer:

  1. The Treasurers shall be responsible for all monies belonging to the organization. No special funds may be set aside that shall make it unnecessary for the Treasurers to have accountability to the committee.
  2. Documentation of all transactions will include monthly bank statements, monthly budget updates, and account balances supplied to the committee members via Chairperson prior to every regular scheduled meeting. All information will also be available upon request from any Committee member.
  3. Responsible for verifying receipts/payment requests and then processing via trackable payment methods. Reconciliation of funds and allocation to appropriate sub-committees’ categories of all payments and deposits will be accounted for via QuickBooks software. All known expenses must be accounted for by year end for P&L statement and tax filing purposes.
  4. Profit and Loss Statements (P & L) must be supplied to the committee members following the AA FunRaiser event and at calendar year end. The Tax Filings must also be supplied to the committee members when they are filed.
  5. Treasurer is required to complete a full financial report and submit said report to the Chair and Co-Chair by the second business meeting in January. The Chair and Co-Chair are to audit this report as a further safeguard for convention funds.
  6. Treasurer will file any necessary certificate/paperwork required by any statute, federal or state. They will hire a certified tax account to file taxes on a yearly basis.
  7. Additional paperwork as necessary which includes and is not limited to: insurance requirements for the event and committee, contracts for the storage facility regarding payment agreements, and other paperwork as required. Completion of these items will be conveyed to the full committee.
  8. Treasurer may adjust any sub-committee budget by no more than $100.00 per year without the entire committee approval. (This is per budget, FuNraiser budget and Conferences budget)

4. Facilities:

  1. The Facilities Chair may not sign the hotel or Audio/Video contract without the voting approval of the entire committee. The contract must be signed by February 1st of the current year.

5. Registration:

  1. The Registration Chair has the right of decision to compensate 6 plates at the banquet with Treasurer approval. Any additional banquet compensations require steering committee approval.

H. *Exceptions as follows:

  1. Treasurer – 2 years as chair, 2 years as co-chair
  2. Registration – 2 years as chair, 2 years as co-chair
  3. Step Workshop – 2 years as chair, 2 years as co-chair
  4. Facilities – 2 years as chair, 2 years as co-chair
  5. Technical – 2 years as chair, 2 years as co-chair


A. The Steering Committee members shall act on the direction of the entire committee and shall only take any action concerning time sensitive/emergency matters. Any action taken shall be brought to the full committee and may be overturned per the entire committee (“We are directly responsible to those we serve”).

B. Steering Committee List:

  1. President: Chair
  2. Vice-President: Co-Chair
  3. Director: Secretary
  4. Director: Treasurer
  5. Director: Co-Treasurer
  6. Director: Facilities
  7. Director: Technical
  8. Director: Registration

C. The Steering Committee shall have the control and management of the affairs and business of this organization only defined as such:

  1. Emergency/time sensitive transactions outside of the normal budgeted items above $2000.00 require full committee approval.
  2. The annual budget and conference registration pricing shall be proposed by the Steering Committee and approved by the entire committee within the first quarter of the calendar year.
  3. In the event of an emergency, the chairperson or co-chairperson must contact all steering committee members to vote on the issue at hand. An emergency meeting of the full committee may be called by the steering committee. Action can be taken when a simple majority of active steering committee members has been reached.
  4. Each steering committee member shall have one vote and such voting may not be done by proxy.
  5. Simple majority vote to make decisions.


A. No member of McHenry’s Soberfest Inc. will receive any sort of salary or financial compensation for their work on the committee (8th Tradition).

B. For all parties that McHenry’s Soberfest provides accommodations or specific items see Appendix IV “Who Gets What Chart”.


A. According to A.A.’s 7th Tradition: There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership. We are self-supporting through our own contributions. The same applies with McHenry’s Soberfest.

  1. Scholarships will always be available; we will never turn anyone away for any of our events.

B. The sub-committees have the right of decision to allow people to handle money within their respective roles. The Treasurer also has the right of decision to allow people to handle money throughout the committee roles.

C. Income and Operating Expenses:

  1. Each year McHenry’s Soberfest shall hold a fundraiser.
  2. McHenry’s Soberfest will accept voluntary contributions.
  3. No single contribution’s value shall exceed $1,000.00.
  4. The fee charged to register for McHenry’s Soberfest shall be minimal and is intended to cover the cost of the event plus prudent reserve.

D. The Council shall maintain a Prudent Reserve at year end of 100% of costs of the previous year or a minimum of $100,000.00 broken down as follows:

  1. 10% or a minimum of $10,000.00 – Primary Account for business expenses.
  2. 90% or a minimum of $90,000.00 – Secondary Account for emergency (2 signatures required for withdrawal consisting of 3 total members; the Treasurer, Chairperson, and Co-Chairperson).

E. If at any time the primary account exceeds $35,000.00, a transfer to the secondary account is required in the amount which brings the primary account balance to $10,000.00.

F. If at any time the primary account falls below $5000.00, a transfer from the secondary account is allowed in the amount which brings the primary account balance to $10,000.00. This is allowed to occur only once per calendar year without approval of the entire committee.

G. Otherwise ANY withdraw from the secondary account shall require an approval, ⅔ vote, from the entire committee, except for the following reasons:

  1. To pay the hotel and Audio/Visual bill.
  2. To bring the year end prudent reserve down to the proper amount.

H. Distribution of Funds: Of the funds remaining from the profits of the Conference; after expenses and prudent reserves are paid, the remaining monies from the Conference shall be returned to Alcoholics Anonymous as follows:

  1. 40% – AA Area 20
  2. 20% – AA Area of McHenry’s Soberfest Conference Location
  3. 20% – Al-Anon McHenry’s Soberfest Committee
  4. 20% – General Service Office

I. In the event of the dissolution of McHenry’s Soberfest Inc., ALL assets shall be distributed per ARTICLE XII INDEMNIFICATION.


A. These By-Laws may be altered, amended, repealed or added to by an affirmative vote of not less than 2/3 of the total committee wherein the proposed change is on the agenda by prior notice. Such changes shall then become effective immediately.


A. No member of McHenry’s Soberfest Inc. shall at any time have any right, title or interest in and to the funds or the property of McHenry’s Soberfest. Should at any time in the future McHenry’s Soberfest be dissolved, all of the remaining assets and property of the Corporation shall, after paying or making provision for the payment of all the liabilities of the Corporation and for the necessary expenses thereof, be applied as determined by the entire committee and as approved by a Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois, for the charitable or educational purposes for which the Corporation is organized by distributing such property and assets for the furtherance of the work of institutions with similar purposes and objectives which shall qualify under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Code or corresponding section of any future Federal tax code.

B. In the event of voluntary dissolution, such institutions shall be selected by the discretion of the committee members.

C. In no event shall any of such assets be distributed to any member, trustee, director, steering committee member, or officer, or any private individual.

D. See Article X. Section H for suggested group disbursement.

E. The Corporation may, to the fullest extent authorized by law, indemnify any present or former officers, directors or trustees or the personal representatives thereof, made or threatened to be made a party in a civil or criminal action or proceeding by reason of the fact that he or she is or was a trustee, director or officer of the Corporation.

***Decisions shall be aligned with Alcoholics Anonymous’s Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions, & Twelve Concepts.***

List of Appendices: