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Roadies Of Color United Is Proceeding with the formation Of it’s Professional Association.

Welcome to The Roadies of Color United (R.O.C.U.) Touring Professionals International Network Website.

Roadies Of Color United Is Proceeding with the formation Of it’s Professional Association.

By Lance K.C. Jackson

Lance Jackson and Bill Reeves announced earlier this summer that Roadies Of Color United was ready to take the next step in the organizations evolution.

For the past 12 years Roadies Of Color United International has been a social networks currently with about 1100 subscribers on it’s Face Book Group Page. Both Bill and Lance have initiated the work to make the transition from social network to professional association. Current plans are to have this transition completed by the end of next month October 2020.

This article below is intended to educate our potential members of what exactly a 501(C) 6 professional association is and the benefits of membership.

What Is a 501(c)(6) Membership Based Nonprofit?


The 501(c)(6) designation includes membership-based organizations or clubs that promote the business interests of their members, such as trade associations and sports leagues.

What Is a 501(c)(6) Professional Association Nonprofit? 

A 501(c)(6) membership-based Professional Association nonprofit is an organization that exists to promote its members’ business interests, without the goal of making a profit. In addition, these organizations must make sure that no one individual or shareholder benefits financially from the organization’s income. While charitable nonprofits must serve a public good and be supported by the public, a trade association and similar organizations do not have to serve the public good.1

The IRS includes many nonprofits under the umbrella of its 501(c) tax code, and like charitable organizations, these nonprofits enjoy a federal tax exemption and other benefits. A nonprofit business group may also accept unlimited contributions from corporations, individuals, and labor unions without disclosing names or amounts of specific donations. However, contributions are not tax-deductible for an individual’s tax return, only as business expenses.2

The most common 501(c) nonprofit is the 501(c)(3) charitable organization, which includes the Red Cross and United Way, as well as nonprofit hospitals and universities.

How 501(C)(6) Nonprofits Work 

In general, to meet the requirements of IRC 501(C)(6), organizations should:

  • Be an association of people with a common business interest, and its purpose must be to promote this common interest
  • Be a membership organization and have a significant base of membership support
  • Not be organized for profit
  • Not have any part of net earnings be to the benefit of a shareholder or individual
  • Have activities directed at improving business conditions rather than the performance of particular services for members
  • Not engage in a regular business that would ordinarily be carried on for profit3

There are several common types of 501(c)(6) organizations, such as:

  • Chambers of commerce
  • Trade associations
  • Real estate boards
  • Professional associations
  • Pro football leagues (these are business-based leagues, not amateur sports organizations, such as those included under the 501(c)(7) designation)
  • Boards of trade
  • Business leagues

These types of organizations have a business purpose but do not provide services for individuals, only the group. A business league must also represent an entire industry or industry segment within a particular area, which means that businesses with a specific brand would not qualify. On the other hand, chambers of commerce and boards of trade promote all businesses’ interests within a particular category in a given area, such as San Francisco or the greater Chicago area.

Members of 501(c)(6) organizations must have a common business interest, and the organization must promote the welfare of that interest, not engage in the business itself. So a group of realtors would support favorable business conditions for their profession, not sell real estate itself.

Goals for our Professional Association are to be:

#1. Advocacy

The primary purpose of ROCU is to advocate for greater diversity in the hiring practices, of the Concert Production Industry. This advocacy takes several forms; participation in various webinars and symposia, authoring articles and editorials for various trade publications, and personal contact with those people and entities directly involved with hiring.

#2. Building and sustaining a sense of community 

ROCU will give its members an identity and sense of belonging to a large community of like-minded professionals in the concert production industry who self-identify as persons of color (POC). This sense of community will be sustained and strengthened through participation in conferences, a newsletter on the website and membership in the various ROCU social media groups. Members are encouraged to participate with comments, discussions and thoughts of their own.

#3. Listing in the ROCU Database

ROCU members will have the option of being listed in the ROCU Membership Database. This database will serve as a resource for people and entities who are hiring for positions within the concert production industry and are interested in diversifying. Members will have their professional experience listed as well have their references vetted by ROCU staff. This will assure the person doing the hiring that those people listed in the database are credibly qualified for the position thereby opening up the scope of job prospects for the members. Being listed in this database will increase industry awareness of the individual members, and their associated skills and specializations which should lead to a more robust job market.

#4. Education and Certifications

ROCU will be providing members various educational opportunities in partnership and collaborations with other organizations to deepen and enlarge their knowledge, stage craft and skill sets for their particular areas of specialization. This will be accomplished through offering online webinars and roundtables focused specifically on issues and developments within the field. The annual conference will offer numerous round table discussions as well presentations designed to give members vital information not only about their areas of specialization but also the industry as a whole. Additionally, members will be offered the opportunity to take various online courses leading to certification in different areas of the concert production industry. In some cases, these courses will be offered at a discount to ROCU members. This education will also extend into financial literacy.

#5. Mentorship

There are two classes of ROCU membership, Full and Associate. Full members are those people who have a minimum of two years accumulated experience in the concert production industry. Associate members are those who have less than two years accumulated experience. ROCU members, particularly Associate Members, will be able to avail themselves of the knowledge and experience accumulated by the more experienced members through a Mentorship program. This program will pair a more experienced Full member with a member who is just beginning to navigate their way through their career. The Mentor will be available to the Mentee to answer questions and provide guidance on a confidential basis.

#6. Outreach and Intern Program

ROCU will be instituting an outreach program targeted at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) theatre departments. The purpose of this program will be to acquaint college students who are interested in a career in Technical Theatre, with the possibilities and opportunities that exist in the concert production industry. As in any industry there is a constant turnover in personnel and as such there is an ongoing need for new people to enter the industry. If we are to succeed in making the industry a more diverse work place, then there needs to be a pool of new, diverse, talented people to take the jobs that become available. The outreach program will go to these HBCU theatre departments and give presentations designed to make the students aware of the concert production industry as a possible career choice. Interested students will be invited to observe local productions from load in to load out and in some cases may even be invited to work on a tour asan intern.


  • Our 501(c)(6) designation will allow our organization to promote our members’ interest without the goal of making a profit.
  • Our Members will pay dues to support the organization, which will be considered business expenses and are tax-deductible to our members.
  • Additional funding will come from Sponsorships and other Donations from industry related companies, vendors and supporters.
  • All net proceeds from our membership dues, sponsorships and donations will be used for the organization’s purposes, such as advocacy and better serving our members’ interests.

Article sources

  1. IRS. “IRC 501(c)(6) Organizations,” Page 4. Accessed Sept. 2, 2020.
  2. IRS. “Tax Treatment of Donations – 501(c)(6) Organizations.” Accessed Sept. 2, 2020.
  3. IRS. “IRC 501(c)(6) Organizations,” Page 6. Accessed Sept. 6, 2020.
  4. IRS. “Form 1024,” Pages 3–9. Accessed Sept. 2, 2020.
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