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Go For The Gold (Star)!

2018 is an Olympic year and athletes from all over the world are gearing up for the winter games in South Korea. These athletes have invested many hours in perfecting their individual abilities in their chosen sport with their ultimate goal of capturing a gold medal. Some may fall short and receive a silver or bronze medal for their efforts but no matter which medal is ultimately obtained, the recognition that comes with such a prestigious endeavor lasts much longer than the games themselves.   

Just like those Olympic athletes, each management company, community manager, and board member has spent hours investing in the overall success of the communities they manage. Not unlike the Olympic athletes, the optimal reward for this effort comes in gold; a Gold Star Community® Award. This recognition gives a community the highest accolade for achieving success on numerous levels. Like becoming an Olympic champion, this achievement does not come easily and without struggle. It takes the blood, sweat, and tears from management and boards to fine tune financial stability, architectural control, rules enforcement, communication, community harmony, and curb appeal in a community. 

If you feel your community currently meets the Gold Star Community® standard and should be recognized with a Gold Star Community® award, we encourage you to go to the CAI webpage and fill out a Gold Star application. In order to qualify for Gold Star Community® recognition, the following mandatory documentation is required in a Gold Star application. When all this information is successfully compiled, it provides the panel of Gold Star judges with an overall picture of a financially stable association; a Gold Star Community®.   

Capital Budget – Details that the association is ensuring financial stability for complete repair or replacement projects on schedule without special assessments or loans.

Operating Budget – Identifies strategic objectives and planned expenditures for the next year and projects the resources that will be used to finance these activities with annual increases, special assessments, or loans. 

Most recent Reserve Study – Ensures funding amounts are within reasonable limits and must be completed within the past five years by an independent reserve professional. Most importantly, association must be funding reserves according to recommended amounts noted by the reserve professional. 

Most recent audited / reviewed financial statements – Confirms the accuracy of records, compliance with accounting methods, and the soundness of financial practices, including internal controls.

Insurance requirement from Governing Documents – Verbiage from the insurance section of the declaration noting required types and amounts of insurance coverage necessary for the association.

Current insurance certificate for all insurance policies including: Property Coverage, General Liability, Director & Officers, Workers Comp and Fidelity.  Confirms that the association has appropriate insurance coverage amounts as noted in the declaration.

Special programs or services which the association offers to improve the quality of life in the association including educational, recreational, social, special events/programs, transportation, town watch, security, in-unit repairs etc.  – Confirms that the association treats all residents as stakeholders in the community by taking the extra steps to provide services and programs that develop harmony and community spirit and pride in the community.  

There is a great deal of prestige associated with being named a Gold Star Community® and it can help prospective buyers understand the standards and quality of your association. So, you’ve put in the time, you’ve done the work. Now, are you ready to go for the Gold?

About the Author

Rita McHale, CMCA, AMS  is a community association manager with Robert H. Wise Management Company and serves as a member of CAI’s Gold Star Committee. Rita can be reached via e-mail at: rmchale@robertwisemanagement.com.


This article originally appeared in the July / August 2016 issue of Community Assets magazine, a publication of the Pennsylvania & Delaware Valley Chapter of CAI. It has been updated for 2018 and the Winter Olympic Games. 

For more information and to apply for Gold Star
Click here.