WHEAT Bylaws and Policy Statements
Bylaws of WHEAT
(We Home Educate and Train)
Article I – STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
The purpose of We Home Educate and Train (WHEAT) is to share information, provide support for home schooling families and those interested in home schooling, and to enrich those families spiritually, academically and socially. We believe in the God-given right of parents to teach their children at home. While the majority of our members are Christian and seek God’s guidance through prayer at the beginning of all meetings and many activities, WHEAT is open to all. The conduct of our members is governed by the biblical scriptural truths as found in the Bible and expressed in the “Guidelines of Appropriate Conduct at all WHEAT Sponsored Activities” (Appendix A). Our leadership is guided by the principles outlined in our Statement of Faith.
Article II – GOVERNING AUTHORITY
Section 1. Composition and Qualifications
1. The governing body of WHEAT shall be known as the Executive Board. It shall consist of an elected Coordinator, Assistant Coordinator, Secretary, and Treasurer dedicated and able to serve WHEAT and attend WHEAT functions.
2. The Executive Board shall consist of all the elected officers. The Executive Board shall conduct the routine business of WHEAT, having the authority to: spend money (Art. V, Sec. 3), set up and conduct meetings, accept new members, revoke membership and conduct other routine WHEAT business.
3. The members of the Executive Board shall maintain the confidentiality of all information of a personal nature brought to the Board by WHEAT members.
4. Prior to their election, each candidate to the Executive Board must affirm before a business meeting of members their concurrence with the Statement of Faith (Appendix B).
Section 2. Term of Office
1. The term of officers shall be one year, beginning on July 1 and running through June 30.
2. No officer shall serve for more than three consecutive terms in one office.
Section 3. Compensation of Officers
1. There shall be no monetary compensation for officers.
2. During the term of office, officers shall have their membership fee waived.
Article III – OFFICERS/EDITORS
1. Section I. Coordinator
1. The Coordinator shall act as principal executive officer authorized to represent WHEAT on all matters except as indicated in these bylaws.
2. The Coordinator shall preside at all meetings of the membership or of the Executive Board and shall prepare and provide an agenda for all business meetings and/or have the authority to delegate those responsibilities to Executive Board members.
3. The Coordinator shall have signatory authority on all agreements, contracts, checking and savings accounts, and similar documents, all of which must be approved by a majority of the Executive Board.
4. The Coordinator is authorized by these bylaws, to spend or allocate, without previous approval, up to $25 per month to a maximum of $100 per year or the amount unbudgeted in the WHEAT treasury for WHEAT related activities (Art. V, Sec. 3.2).
Section 2. Assistant Coordinator
1. The Assistant Coordinator shall exercise all powers and authority of the Coordinator in the absence of the Coordinator.
2. If the office of Coordinator is vacated, the Assistant Coordinator shall become the Coordinator until the term expires. The Assistant Coordinator position will remain vacant until a special election can be held (Art. IV, Sec.3.1).
3. The Assistant Coordinator shall perform other duties as assigned by the Coordinator.
Section 3. Treasurer
1. The Treasurer shall have custody of all funds and financial records of WHEAT. The Treasurer shall collect all dues and other revenues payable to WHEAT and shall disburse monies as authorized by the membership of the Executive Board.
2. In the event that the offices of Coordinator and Assistant Coordinator both are vacated, the Treasurer shall serve as temporary Coordinator, in addition to Treasurer, until a special election can be held (Art IV, Sec.3.1).
3. The Treasurer shall prepare an annual financial report, annual budget, and provide an accounting at each business meeting.
4. The Treasurer shall maintain any necessary records of assets and liabilities of WHEAT.
5. The Treasurer is authorized to and must set up checking and/or savings accounts, which shall be designated for WHEAT funds only, with no personal funds for any officer or member flowing through any checking or savings account established for WHEAT funds, provided that any costs for such accounts are approved by the Executive Board.
6. The Treasurer, as well as the Coordinator, shall have signatory authority for any checks, deposits or withdrawals from WHEAT accounts.
7. The Treasurer shall provide a statement of credit and debit for publication in the monthly newsletter by the deadline as set by the Newsletter Editor.
8. The Treasurer shall file any tax-related paperwork with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as required by law.
1. The Secretary shall prepare and maintain full records of meetings of the membership, including any election results. The Secretary shall be responsible for maintaining and updating a confidential roster of membership, as well as maintaining a record of correspondence.
2. Except as assumed by the Coordinator, or as delegated by the Coordinator to others, the Secretary shall conduct all official correspondence for WHEAT.
3. The Secretary shall provide current membership numbers and/or new member names for publication in the monthly newsletter by the deadline set by the Newsletter Editor.
Section 5. Newsletter Editor
1. The Newsletter Editor shall publish a regular newsletter not less than six times per fiscal year with the final check done by a member of the Executive Board.
2. The Newsletter Editor, in conjunction with the Executive Board, shall exercise discretionary authority for content and wording of the newsletter.
3. The Newsletter Editor and Executive Board shall determine and set the newsletter publication date and all additional deadlines necessary to meet said date.
4. The Newsletter Editor has the right to set up a Newsletter Committee and has the authority to delegate, as he/she deems necessary.
5. The membership fee shall be waived for the Newsletter Editor.
6. The Newsletter Editor must affirm before a business meeting of members his/her concurrence with the Statement of Faith (Appendix B).
Section 6: Website editor/webmaster
1.The website editor (sometimes referred to as “webmaster”) will be responsible for the maintenance of
a WHEAT website in conjunction with the executive board. The website editor shall keep the website up to date with accurate and current information.
2. The website editor, in conjunction with the Executive board, shall exercise discretionary authority
over all content posted on the website.
3. The website editor has the authority to delegate, as he/she deems necessary.
4. The membership fee shall be waived for the website editor.
5. The Website editor must affirm before a business meeting of members his/her concurrence with the
Statement of Faith (Appendix B).
Section 7. Removal of Officers
1. Any officer and/or member shall have the right to initiate the removal of an officer from office.
2. Any officer shall be removed from office by the affirmative two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the members present at a regular or special meeting of the membership.
3. Written notice announcing this pending vote must have been mailed to each member a minimum of (15) days prior to such a vote being taken.
4. The officer in question shall be given an opportunity to be heard by the membership prior to the vote being taken.
Section 8. Vacating Office
- If an elected member of the Executive Board can no longer fulfill the duties of his/her office, said officer shall notify the Executive Board and the membership in writing (30) days prior to vacating office, unless there is an emergency.
- In the event of a vacancy in an office of the Executive Board, the Coordinator shall have authority to appoint an interim acting officer to fill said vacancy until a special election is held (Art. IV, Sec. 3.1).
Article IV ELECTION AND VOTING
Section 1. Election of Officers
- The election of officers will be at a meeting held for such purpose for the upcoming year.
- The election meeting will be held yearly in the month of May.
- Any member of WHEAT may nominate a member candidate for any office.
Section 2. Notification of Election
- All members shall be notified of a regularly scheduled election by newsletter, email, website forum, or other means.
- All members shall be notified in writing at least two weeks prior to a special election by newsletter or other written means.
Section 3. Special Election
- A special election may be held if any of the offices of the Executive Board are vacant except the Coordinator’s position, which is filled by the Assistant Coordinator for the remainder of the term.
- Special elections must be held within 30 days from the vacancy date.
- Special elections will follow the terms of a special meeting (Art. IX, Sec. 5).
Section 4. Voting
- A quorum of 10% of the total membership must be present for all election and voting matters.
- A Simple (50%+1 vote) Majority of all members present shall be required for the election of officers.
- No proxy votes will be accepted except as provided elsewhere in these bylaws.
- Voting shall be by secret ballot in the removal of an officer or in the election of officers when more than one candidate is running for an office. Voting shall be by a simple show of hands on other voting matters unless a secret ballot is deemed necessary by the Coordinator.
Article V - FINANCE
Section 1. Budgeting
1. The Executive Board has sole responsibility to establish and execute the annual budget for WHEAT. If the Executive Board does not prepare a balanced budget, then this budget must be approved by the general membership prior to its execution. In such an event, all guidelines necessary for the approval of a bylaw amendment will apply to the approval of the annual budget.
2. Any funds needed prior to the establishment of the annual budget will be treated as unbudgeted expenses and must be approved by the Executive Board using the previous year’s budget as a guideline.
Section 2. Revenues
1.Dues will be assessed for all members.
a. The amount of dues shall be established by the Executive Board with the approval of the
membership at the business meeting.
b. The amount of the dues shall be reviewed annually and appended to these bylaws as a policy statement.
2. Collected revenues are all funds separate from membership dues.
a. Collected revenues received on behalf of WHEAT may include, but are not limited to, fund
raising monies, event monies or donated monies.
b. All collected revenues must be forwarded within five (5) days of their receipt to the Treasurer or Coordinator by the WHEAT member who collected the money.
c. Any member of WHEAT that receives funds on behalf of WHEAT shall turnover and account for all funds within five (5) days of the said event, activity or donation or within five (5) days of receipt of the actual funds, whichever occurs first. All funds shall be forwarded as provided to the Treasurer or Coordinator.
d. The Treasurer or Coordinator shall deposit any revenues received on behalf of WHEAT into an established WHEAT bank account within seven (7) business days from the receipt of same.
Section 3. Spending
- Budgeted Spending
- The Executive Board is authorized to spend money up to the amount in the WHEAT treasury less that which is budgeted for the current year’s newsletter expenses.
- Expenditures for postage and printing for newsletters or for other mailings to all members, regardless of amount, is a budgeted expense that is approved by these by-laws, except as otherwise determined by the Executive Board.
- Unbudgeted Spending
- Any funds not budgeted under Section 3.1 shall be considered unbudgeted funds and/or expenditures.
- The Executive Board must receive written request for funding fourteen (14) days prior to its requested use or reimbursement.
- All expenditures on behalf of the WHEAT membership must have prior written approval to qualify for reimbursement.
- Approval for unbudgeted expenditures/reimbursements shall be by majority vote of the Executive Board.
- Requests for unbudgeted funds for reimbursement shall be accompanied by a written receipt.
3. Buffer Balance
a. WHEAT shall maintain a balance of $500 in its bank account as a buffer for unbudgeted expenses and emergencies. This buffer shall not be used unless the general membership is notified prior to the expected expenditure via published suggestion. The membership will be given 7 days to respond, and then the proposed expenditure must be voted on. The membership may contact the Executive Board directly and register their vote or attend a special meeting setup to discuss and vote on the expenditure. A two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of members voting shall be required to approve the proposed expenditure.
- . The Executive Board must notify the membership of the final results.
Article VI – MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. Membership Terms
1. Membership in WHEAT is open to all families interested in or actively homeschooling, or who have graduated their children from homeschooling (see alumni memberships below).
2. Each family shall have one vote.
3. The membership year begins July 1 and ends June 30.
4. Membership begins with payment of dues (Art. V, Sec 2.1).
5. Members must be homeschooling, or considering homeschooling, in accordance with Virginia state law or the laws of the state in which they reside. Membership in WHEAT shall not constitute proof of compliance with homeschool laws.
6. Alumni memberships are open to previous members of WHEAT in good standing who have graduated at least one child from homeschool high school but are no longer actively homeschooling. Alumni members are ineligible to vote on WHEAT matters.
7. Members shall adhere to WHEAT’s Guidelines for Appropriate Conduct (Appendix A).
8. A member may be removed if that member fails to adhere fully to WHEAT’s Guidelines for Appropriate Conduct.
9. If removal is sought, the member will be notified of the basis for removal and provided an opportunity to meet privately with the Executive Board to discuss their WHEAT membership.
10. A unanimous vote by the Executive Board is required for removal or revocation of a membership.
11. Abusive, threatening, demeaning or otherwise offensive language and/or conduct by way of e-mail, telephone, online, mail, or face-to-face or other contact may result in removal.
12. Prospective members may receive one free newsletter upon request.
13. Any family unable to afford the membership fee may contact the Executive Board for waiver of dues. All information shall be kept confidential under the bylaws (Art. II, Sec. 1.3).
14. All members shall receive a copy of the bylaws upon request.
Section 2. Membership Registration Form
1. The registration form shall provide a signature line for all members to sign in acceptance of the Disclaimer Clause, as provided under the bylaws (Art. XIV).
2. The membership form shall be reviewed by the executive board annually and updated as needed to reflect the needs of WHEAT and its membership, prior to accepting memberships and renewals for the following year.
Section 3. Membership Directory
1. Members may decline their inclusion into the online membership directory by marking the appropriate response on their registration form.
- The WHEAT directory is intended only for the purpose of networking; that is for homeschoolers to call other homeschoolers about matters of mutual interest. No information from the directory may be disbursed without the express permission of the member for each specific instance. Use of the directory for advertising or commercial promotion purposes is not permitted and is grounds for revoking of membership.
Article VII- Online Forum
- WHEAT will maintain an online forum for the purpose of aiding communication between members of the WHEAT group.
- All current WHEAT members may post messages to the forum.
- WHEAT members may also post messages for non-members or organizations. These messages should include the WHEAT member’s name and contact information along with an introduction explaining the origin of the material. Posts not containing this information shall not be included.
- WHEAT members may indicate their forum preferences on WHEAT’s registration form and may update or change those preferences at any time during the year.
- The website editor and executive board have the right to remove a forum post if it is determined to be in conflict with WHEAT’s stated purpose, bylaws or guidelines of acceptable behavior. Any forum entry deemed inappropriate or questionable may be forwarded to the executive board and/or web editor for consideration.
Article VIII – COMMITTEES
Section 1. Establishing Committees
1. Such committees, when necessary, shall be established by the Coordinator with the consent of a majority of the Executive Board.
- The Coordinator shall have the authority to appoint committee chairmen as necessary.
- A list of all standing committees and their chairmen shall be issued annually in the September edition of the newsletter.
Section 2. Committee Rights
1. A committee shall consist of one or more person(s).
2. Committee meetings may be held as often as necessary to fulfill their purpose and at such times and places as designated by the committee chairman.
3. A committee chairman has full authority to conduct committee meetings and handle committee business.
4. Financial transactions involving the WHEAT treasury cannot be approved at committee meetings without prior approval of the Executive Board if it exceeds the allotted annual budgeted amount for that committee.
5. When so approved, a committee may then establish its own budget as necessary to conduct committee business.
Article IX – MEETINGS
Regular meetings shall be held as determined by the Executive Board. Meetings may be business, election, support, fellowship or special in nature and every member of WHEAT is encouraged to attend all meetings regardless of type.
Section 1. Business Meetings
1. Business meetings shall be held for the purpose of conducting the general business of WHEAT. Membership is encouraged to attend.
2. Business meetings shall be held at least 3 times per year with the 1st business meeting of the year to be held between July 1 and September 30.
3. Business meetings may be held more often at the discretion of the Executive Board, depending on said business.
Section 2. Support Group meetings
Support group meetings will be held as determined by the Executive Board and shall generally be considered specific in nature and shall relate to homeschooling topics, concerns and issues.
Section 3. Fellowship meetings
Meetings will be held as determined by the Executive Board and shall generally be considered social in nature with an emphasis on edification, spiritual enrichment and personal growth.
Section 4. Election meeting
1. The election of officers will be at a meeting held for the purpose of electing new officers for the upcoming year.
- The election meeting will be held yearly in the month of May.
Section 5. Special meetings
1. Meetings shall be called only to address a single, specific topic and may be called in the following manner:
a. A special meeting may be called by a majority of the Executive Board.
b. Fifteen percent (15%) of the membership, by written petition, can call a special meeting.
c. Written notification to the general membership shall be given at least fifteen (15) days prior to the special meeting.
Article X – BYLAWS
Section 1. Adoption of Bylaws
1. These bylaws shall be effective immediately upon approval by a simple majority of ballots received from the membership, after they have been circulated to the membership at least fifteen (15) days prior to a ballot being taken.
- Members may vote at the adoption meeting or may provide a sealed, written vote delivered before or at the meeting wherein these bylaws shall be approved or adopted.
3. These bylaws shall remain in effect until amended or repealed as provided.
Section 2. Amendment of Bylaws
1. An amendment shall be defined as altering, repealing or adding to any of the existing bylaws.
2. An amendment may be proposed by the general membership by majority vote at a business or special meeting.
3. An amendment may be proposed by the Executive Board either through published suggestions, or at a special meeting or business meeting.
4. No amendment may be proposed and decided upon at the same meeting.
5. All proposed amendments must be circulated to the entire membership at least fifteen (15) days prior to any vote being taken.
6. An amendment requires a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of members present at a regular or special meeting as defined in these bylaws.
Article XI- POLICY STATEMENTS
As certain activities and procedures need to be established for short durations and to be more flexible than bylaws, these bylaws shall be supplemented, as necessary by policy statements on various aspects of organization and procedure. All such policy statements shall be voted upon by the membership, at a business meeting. Policy statements will remain in effect until any changes are deemed necessary.
Article XII – DISSOLUTION
Section 1. Terms of Dissolution
1. Dissolution constitutes the dismantling of the WHEAT Executive Board and the membership.
2. Dissolution shall require a simple majority vote of the total membership at a business or special meeting.
3. Notification of dissolution must be given to the membership, in writing, fifteen (15) business days prior to said meeting.
Section 2. In the Event of Dissolution
1. The funds shall be divided equally between the Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV) and the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) or its charitable arm, the Homeschool Foundation (HSF).
2. The library and any other teaching materials shall be donated to a homeschool group and determined by the membership.
Article XIII – USE OF THE WHEAT NAME AND LOGO
The use of the WHEAT (We Home Educate and Train) name and the WHEAT logo shall be limited to activities and publications undertaken by the WHEAT membership as a whole, and/or by the Executive Board, on behalf of the membership and affirmed at a business meeting.
Article XIV – DISCLAIMER OF LIABILITY
All individuals seeking membership within WHEAT, by soliciting said membership and upon payment of dues, shall agree to the following disclaimer of liability: The elected officers, and members of WHEAT shall not be held liable, individually or corporately, for any injury, loss or liability, arising in the performance of their duties in connection with any WHEAT activity or publication.
Article XV – PROCEDURES NOT ADDRESSED IN THESE BYLAWS
Matters of procedure not addressed in these bylaws shall be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised.
GUIDELINES FOR APPROPRIATE CONDUCT AT ALL WHEAT SPONSORED ACTIVITIES
We are all trying to teach our children to practice the virtues of commitment, punctuality, respect and gratitude. Our WHEAT Guidelines for appropriate Conduct are intended to assist you in teaching your family acceptable behavior for our WHEAT activities in order to make the best of our time together. A lot of hard work goes into planning and executing our clubs, meetings and other activities and we would like to honor the Lord, our leaders and each other with our best behavior. Please review and discuss the following standards with your family prior to attending WHEAT activities.
1. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (1 Peter 2:12) As ambassadors of Christ, the WHEAT group and home schooling in general, our appearance is significant. Dress for parents and children should be clean, modest and appropriate for the activity. Parents and children’s language should be wholesome and edifying. There should be absolutely no foul or suggestive language. Verbal disciplining of children should be done quietly and discreetly. If a member wishes to smoke, he or she should move away from the vicinity of the group to do so.
2. …. A child left to himself disgraces his mother. (Proverbs 29:15) Children should be under the supervision of a parent or another designated adult. Parents should stay with their children at clubs, meetings or activities. Our purpose for home school clubs and activities is for each of us to teach or learn along with our families at a special location. No WHEAT activity should be considered a childcare service. Upon arrival, parents should quickly settle children where they belong. Please do not allow your children to roam unsupervised throughout or outside of the facility being used.
3. He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray. (Proverbs 10:17) Parents should maintain discipline and control of their children at any WHEAT activity. One unruly child can undermine the experience of the rest of the group. It is helpful to consider whether your child can handle the particular type of activity before signing him/her up. If control of your child is not maintained, you may be asked to refrain from future activities until the problem can be resolved.
4. Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31) If you need to cancel your plans to attend a regular club meeting it would be considerate of you to let the leader know in advance. If you need to cancel your plans to attend any activity that required pre-registration you MUST call ahead and let the leader know as soon as possible. This allows them time to contact anyone on the waiting list for those activities with limited space. Please note that due to prepayment and/or attendance quotas of some activities, those who cancel may not be able to receive a refund.
5. Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31) Always arrive promptly so you do not delay others. Allow adequate time for travel.
6. Simply let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no”. (Matthew 5:37) Out of consideration for club and activity leaders or other coordinators, please commit yourself (and/or children) to follow through with whatever you sign up for (whether it be regular meeting or club attendance, showing up for field trips or activities, paying fees on time, etc.).
7. Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character. (1 Corinthians 15:33) If you know your child is inattentive or disruptive when seated with a particular friend, please keep them separated or sit with them to ensure that they pay attention and do not disrupt the other children.
8. If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. (Matthew 8: 15, 16) Should personal conflicts arise between members they should be resolved discreetly between those members and not become a topic for discussion among those who are not directly involved. If, after attempting to resolve a problem, you are unsuccessful in doing so (and if the problem legitimately concerns the WHEAT group) you may them proceed to the WHEAT Coordinator for assistance.
9. . . . The mouth of a fool invites ruin. (Proverbs 10:14) Privacy of WHEAT individual and families must be respected and maintained. No information (names, phone numbers, etc.) may be disbursed without the express consent of the member for each specific instance.
Please understand that these guidelines are not meant to be restrictive. By maintaining order within our group, we will enhance the pleasure of the learning experience for all. Additionally, our behavior affects our privileges concerning the use of various facilities for our activities. We want to ensure that they are affected for the good! Thank you for your assistance in helping to ensure a positive experience for our families. May God bless you and your family as you serve Him through learning about His world.
Section 1: Position
We believe in the God-given right of parents to teach their children at home. As such, we believe that parents are directed to nurture their children lovingly and provide for their spiritual, academic, social, emotional, and physical needs and general well-being. WHEAT does not tolerate any form of abuse or neglect of children from parents or any other person and will not accept or retain as members persons found guilty of committing such acts.
Policy Statement 1: Membership policies
Section 1. Dues
Annual membership dues shall be as follows for the 2018-2019 fiscal year:
- Dues received from July 1- Dec. 31: $35.00
- Dues received from January 1- June 30: $25.00
- Alumni memberships: (previous WHEAT members who are no longer actively homeschooling, but have graduated one or more children from homeschool high school): $10.00
Section 2. Membership renewals and new membership procedures:
- Following the annual retreat or April 1st, whichever is later, new memberships should not be accepted until the membership form has been updated as needed and dues have been set for the following year. Exceptions should be approved by the executive board.
- New memberships shall open and renewal invoices shall be issued no earlier than the May business meeting and no later than June 1st.
- Online registration and payment of dues is necessary for good communication among the board as well as efficient record keeping. Exceptions should be rare and must be approved by the Treasurer and Coordinator.
- Once new memberships are open, new members shall be made “active” upon receipt of dues.
- Returning families whose memberships are not renewed by July 15th shall be “parked” until receipt of dues.
Policy Statement 2: Newsletter Advertising
Section 1. Policies
- The Editor may accept advertisements from WHEAT members for homeschooling related services, home businesses, items for sale, and other needs or events.
- WHEAT members may submit advertisements for non-members only if they are willing to have their name appear with the ad. The Editor may accept advertisements from non-members directly and the non-member will be charged according to the advertising rates listed in Section
- The Editor and Executive Board may refuse to accept any advertisements that conflict with WHEAT’s stated Purpose, Bylaws, or Guidelines for Appropriate Conduct.
- The Editor and Executive Board reserves the right to determine whether an advertisement shall be placed, based on available space.
- The size of and/or the availability of room for an advertisement is to be determined by the newsletter staff.
- All advertisement must be submitted on electronic media and labeled as such.
- The Editor and Executive Board reserve the right to publicize, as community or public service announcements, any activities or events pertinent to homeschooling.
Section 2. Advertising Rates
- Advertisements for members are FREE.
- The following rates apply only to advertisements for non-members:
- FREE: Homeschooling clubs, support groups, classes, tutoring, or services.
- $10.00 for any advertisement for any entity NOT submitted by a WHEAT member:
- Merchandise for sale or trade.
- Home-based businesses.
- Commercial businesses or services