VRA and VRAF: What’s the Difference?

The Boards of VRA and the VRA Foundation (VRAF) recently completed a review and update of the Memorandum of Understanding between our two organizations, an activity that occurs every five years. This is a timely occasion to share information with you about how we collaborate and complement each other in support of VRA members and the profession.

VRA established the VRA Foundation to oversee and develop grants, administer educational activities, and support community outreach projects. The missions of the two organizations are closely aligned, with a few important distinctions. VRA is a multidisciplinary organization dedicated to furthering research and education in the field of media management within the educational, cultural heritage, and commercial environment; and supporting its members in every stage of their professional lives. VRAF’s mission proceeds from there to provide financial support for a broad range of educational and research efforts in the profession, including but not limited to the activities of VRA.

VRA and VRAF: What’s the Difference?

  • VRA is a non-profit 501 (c) 6 trade association created to provide direct services to its members, while VRAF is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization serving the entire visual resources profession more broadly, regardless of VRA membership.
  • VRA offers a forum for issues of vital concern to members in the fields of analog and digital media production, curation, preservation, interpretation, and delivery. VRAF provides financial support for a broad range of educational and research efforts in the profession, including but not limited to the activities of VRA. VRAF programs include Internship Awards, Professional Development Grants, Project Grants, Regional Workshops, and the Summer Educational Institute for Digital Stewardship of Visual Information (administered jointly with ARLIS/NA).
  • Donations to VRAF are tax deductible. Donations to VRA are not deductible as charitable donations, but donations may be deducted as a business expense, if applicable.
  • VRA’s main sources of operating revenue are membership dues and conference registration fees. VRAF receives no funding from VRA and relies entirely on donations and grants to finance its efforts. The VRA membership is VRAF’s primary donation base. Additionally, it depends on external sources that include businesses, foundations, and other individuals who are not VRA members. VRAF is able to receive and manage grant funding from other 501 (c) 3 organizations to support visual resources educational and research efforts, and may at times support VRA’s research projects through grant partnerships.
  • VRA solicits donations from its members for two funds and purposes: 1) the Luraine Tansey Educational Fund, which provides travel awards to assist VRA members with conference attendance; and 2) the General Operating Fund, which primarily supports conferences and membership resources and support. VRAF fundraising supports educational activities (e.g., VRA Annual Conferences, Regional Workshops, and ARLIS/NA-VRAF Summer Educational Institute), research initiatives and visual resources-based projects (through Project Grant Awards), professional development efforts (through Professional Development Grants, Internship Awards, and Regional Workshops), and operating expenses of the Foundation.
  • VRA’s Board is elected by the VRA membership, while VRAF Directors are appointed alternately by the VRA and VRAF Boards. All members of both the VRA and VRAF Boards are volunteers.

Please Support VRA and VRAF
Donations are increasingly important as the membership base and conference proceeds are vulnerable to fluctuations in the economy. To be better prepared for our future, the VRA and VRAF Boards continue our efforts to ensure that our common goals are well-supported.

We hope that you will join us in supporting the fundraising goals of both the Association and the Foundation. Taken together, these initiatives represent a solid commitment to the VRA membership and the profession. Any donation for these various purposes is very much welcome and appreciated. As we move forward together, our goal is to continue to provide excellent programs and services to meet our common strategic goals.

There are online donation forms available on the websites of both organizations whenever you wish to make a gift.


VRA Foundation

VRAF invites you to visit our new website to learn about the programs and projects we maintain to advance the field and support your professional needs.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions or comments about donating to VRA and VRAF.

Best regards,

Stephen Patton, VRA President
Elaine Paul, VRAF Chair, Board of Directors