The Blinded Veterans Association’s Congressional Charter

On August 27, 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law an Act of the 85th Congress that formally incorporated the Blinded Veterans Association. In addition to greater prestige, the Act made BVA eligible to participate in state funds for veterans’ service work that were only available to Congressionally chartered organizations.

Representative T.A. Thompson of Louisiana originally introduced the Bill to incorporate BVA on June 21, 1957. "The worthy efforts of the membership of the Blinded Veterans Association deserve no less than recognition by the Congress of the United States," he stated.

The Bill was passed by the House of Representatives on August 4, 1958 and approved by the Senate on August 18. Much of the credit for BVA’s success in achieving the charter status belongs to Irvin P. Schloss and Melvin J. Maas. Able assistance also came from William W. Thompson, who had just previously been appointed National Executive Director; Carleton F. Steep, then Secretary of the District of Columbia Regional Group; Kathern F. Gruber of BVA’s National Advisory Committee; and John E. Mattingly, Past National President. The newly elected National President at the time was Robert A. Bottenberg, current secretary/treasurer of the South Texas Regional Group.

The Act of Congress making possible the charter listed by name and city some 164 members of BVA, and is worded in such a way as to include all others who were members in good standing on the date of enactment, thus making the entire Association a "body corporate" in the eyes of the law.

A piece in the September-October 1958 BVA Bulletin summarized as follows both the privileges as well as the responsibilities resulting from the charter: "There is no question but what it also provides recognition by all of the States and gives BVA increased stature with other organizations. However, the Act is quite plain in stating that BVA shall be non-political in nature and cannot support any political party or candidate for public office. It can raise funds, hold property, pay salaries to its employees, and reimburse the expenses incurred by employees and elected officers. The charter further empowers BVA to contribute to the aid of those blinded as a result of service in the Armed Forces of the United States, and their widows and children. A report of the financial condition of BVA was to be made to Congress by March 1 of each year thereafter."

Minor revisions to the Charter were approved by Congress on August 12, 1998. Full description of those revisions can be found here.

Read the BVA Charter:

Page 1

List of Incorporating Members

Completion of Organization

Objects and Purposes of the Corporation

Powers of the Corporation

Page 2

Principal Office; Territorial Scope of Activities; Resident Agent

Membership Rights

Governing Body; Composition; Tenure

Page 3

Distribution of Income or Assets to Members; Loans

Non-Political Nature of Corporation

Liability for Acts of Officers and Agents

Prohibition Against Issuance of Stock or Issuance of Dividends

Books and Records; Inspection

Audit of Financial Transactions; Report to Congress

Use of Assets Upon Dissolution or Liquidation

Transfer of Assets from Prior Corporation

Exclusive Right to Name; Corporate Seals; Emblems and Badges

Reservation of Right to Amend or Repeal Charter