The ICPS Seed Bank is a member only seed exchange. Members may not resell
Seed Bank seeds. There are also restrictions on the sale of plants from
Seed Bank seeds by commercial growers as explained below. These restrictions
result from the way the ICPS is incorporated.
The International Carnivorous Plant Society is a tax exempt public charity
under section 501(c)(3) of the USA tax code. Our primary goals are education,
research, and conservation in the public interest related to carnivorous
To maintain our tax exempt status there are rules the ICPS must follow
with respect to fundraising activities we sponsor and to our relationship
with other corporations and non-incorporated for-profit businesses. Violation
of the tax code rules could potentially bankrupt the ICPS since we don't
budget for taxes and penalties beyond our usual California state sales
As a public charity, members of the ICPS can not themselves receive a
financial benefit from membership. The ICPS has no employees and EVERYTHING
done by members is done on a volunteer basis. The Carnivorous Plant Newsletter
editors, the membership manager, the business manager,
the seed bank manager, and the web site masters put in hours of work every
week without compensation. Many of us don't ask for reimbursement of expenses
related to our volunteer work. It is all on a volunteer basis. We get
no free seeds.
Beyond knowing you are doing something to benefit the public at large
by being a member of the ICPS, what other ways do members benefit? Members
receive the Carnivorous Plant Newsletter. The ICPS budget is structured
so that total costs of producing and mailing CPN are about the cost of
membership. Because of this close association, membership payments can't
be considered a donation for tax purposes. Remember, members can't get
back more than they pay.
Another member benefit is access to the ICPS Seed Bank. The same rules
apply here. The Seed Bank does not exist to make money for the ICPS and
members may not directly benefit financially from the Seed Bank. The Seed Bank
exists to further our primary goals of education, research, and conservation.
As such, it is not consistent with the charter of the organization for
members to resell seeds from the Seed Bank at a profit. There is also
a fine line if members use the Seed Bank as seed stock for plants to be
sold commercially. We want the rare plants to be available to the public and commercial growers who are members are allowed to order seeds and sell the plants from those seeds. It is expected that a commercial grower who gets seeds
from the Seed Bank will in the future collect seeds for commercial use
from their own plants and possibly donate seeds back to the Seed Bank.