Hostelling International USA (HI-USA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has been serving travelers for nearly 80 years. HI-USA’s network of hostels currently consists of more than 50 facilities across the United States in a wide variety of locations, including urban centers, national parkland, and coastal areas. In addition, HI-USA is part of an international network that supports over one million overnight stays in more than 80 countries annually.
In June 2011, HI-USA made a strategic decision to fully unify its operations. This decision presented several unique challenges, including the integration of 26 separately incorporated local chartered units into the existing parent organization and the seamless transfer of hundreds of employees.
HI-USA turned to Gray Plant Mooty’s Nonprofit and Tax-Exempt Organizations Practice Group, relying on their expertise in highly specialized legal issues to ensure a smooth transition. Serving as special “unification counsel,” Gray Plant Mooty teams worked closely with HI-USA to meet and resolve challenges related to the implementation of a new governance and operational structure, the transfer of employees to the parent, continued engagement of local volunteers, and compliance with federal, state, and local laws governing charities in 18 states.
After three years of hands-on collaboration, unification was completed in the spring of 2014. Fully integrated and expanding, HI-USA is in better position today than ever to serve the more than 4 million members of Hostelling International.