Support & Services

The Gadd/Merrill Fund was established in 1979 to provide funds for special programs that advance the aims of the Country Dance and Song Society. May Gadd was a guiding light for CDSS from 1927 until her death in 1979; she served as National Director until 1972. Phil Merrill was Music Director for many years and inspired numerous musicians and dancers; he died in 1985. The Fund offers support to CDSS members and groups in the form of loans and grants to activities that make dance and song available to a wider community in various ways, including event backing, publication loans, research grants, and other special projects. The Gadd/Merrill Fund is also used each summer to grant scholarships for aspiring leaders and musicians at our summer programs.

chuckwardPianist. Accordionist. Organist. Founder of the English Country Dance Society of San Francisco (now Bay Area CDS). Repairer of organs. Punster. Player of tricks.

For half a century Chuck Ward has enlivened the dance world with his splendid playing and playfulness. In celebration of his 2007 CD of English country dance tunes and of his retirement as organist at Santa Rosa's Church of the Incarnation, CDSS and BACDS have created an outreach fund for the training of musicians.

The Chuck Ward Fund is a way for the dance community to reach out to musicians on all levels, just as Chuck has reached out to his fellow musicians throughout his career. Administered by the CDSS, the fund is intended to help support music workshops and other training programs for experienced and novice country dance musicians.

mkfriday by unknown 6847c453In 2003, a very generous gift from the family of Mary Kay Friday (1942-2001) was the catalyst for CDSS's developing vision of an ambitious, far-reaching leadership development outreach program.

A fund supporting leadership development was a natural choice for honoring Mary Kay's memory. Mary Kay was a dancer, organizer and emerging dance caller in the greater Washington, DC area. She served on the CDSS Governing Board for many years, and was committed to building and strengthening our dance community. One of her missions within the organization was to support the training of dance leaders, callers and musicians. She was instrumental in the development of the leadership training courses at our summer programs, and organized a leadership training workshop in her local community.

The Mary Kay Friday Leadership Fund is a fund treated as endowed and designated by the CDSS Governing Board to support a wide variety of leadership development initiatives.* Subsequent significant gifts from Christopher and Kimberly Field, Jackie Algon and members of the CDSS Board have supplemented the original gift from Mary Kay's family. The Fund is now one of several outreach resources through which CDSS can support leadership training, having become the kernel for our broad-reaching Leadership Training Funds program.

Mary Kay's family are not dancers themselves, but they heard many tales from her about her dance adventures, and understood how important the dance community was in her life. We are extremely grateful to her brothers, Bill, Doug and Jim Goodman, and their families for the gift in Mary Kay's memory that sparked our vision and has led to so much more.

*Immediately after her death, CDSS received numerous gifts in her memory from Mary Kay's many friends, and established the Mary Kay Friday Scholarship Fund. The Mary Kay Friday Fund for leadership training is a separate fund. Both are worthy and valuable resources for us in our outreach to the community, and we are glad to receive gifts to either fund.


We are delighted to announce that after three years of intensive New Leaders, Good Leaders fundraising, we have raised nearly $265,000 for the collective CDSS Leadership funds - well beyond our goal of $250,000 - and that fundraising for New Leaders, Good Leaders is complete.

The campaign was designed to raised money for immediate spending on new and growing programs supporting leadership development and youth participation - to jumpstart such initiatives as our greatly expanded grants and scholarships programs, the Youth Projects Intern position, online and other media resources, and our fledgling mentorship program.

THANKS to the hundreds and hundreds of you who contributed to this effort. You have made possible so much that we had long hoped to accomplish! We are thrilled and grateful to have gotten the jumpstart on these new initiatives.

Moving forward - this important work continues! Your continued support of CDSS, through membership and donations to the general fund, is absolutely crucial to the ongoing success of these initiatives.

Click here to renew online!

If you are a NEW Affiliate, or to pay by check, download and mail this PDF. (Online registration for new Affiliates coming soon!)

For questions about insurance, group membership, or tax exemption, contact Ben Williams at or call him at 413-203-5467, ext. 106. If you need immediate assistance, please call the office at 413-203-5467 and press 0 to reach a CDSS staff member.


Group Liability Insurance — CDSS affiliate groups are eligible to participate in CDSS' Group General Liability Insurance Policy.

Group Services

Group affiliation is an important way to support the work of CDSS. We welcome groups that that have roots in English and North American dance, music, and song.

Benefits of Group Membership

As a member of CDSS, you'll receive the benefits listed below and join the more than 300 groups across the US, Canada, and beyond who are supporting our dance and music community.

  • CDSS News — quarterly newsletter (Winter/Spring/Summer/Fall) packed with interesting articles, tunes, dances, and event advertising (see below)
  • Publicity — your group will appear in our Group Directory, and we will list your events in our events calendar
  • Advertising — 50% discount on placing ads in the CDSS News
  • Store consignment — items from the CDSS Store are available for resale on consignment
  • Store discount — 10% discount on items from the CDSS Store
  • Liability Insurance — group affiliates are eligible for Group Liability Insurance
  • Summer programs — group affiliates are eligible for Priority Admission & Matching Scholarships
  • Tax-exempt status — group affiliates are eligible for federal Nonprofit / Tax Exempt status
  • Mailing Labels — group affiliates may purchase a one-time list of members for creating mailing labels to promote their activities.

And also enjoy the benefits we offer to all groups:

  • Advice — CDSS offers advice on programming, group organization, financial reporting, bylaws writing, registration procedures, sound equipment and staff suggestion
  • Financial assistancegrants are available to help groups start new events (weeks, weekends, festivals), train leaders, and create publications
  • Equipment rental — ritual dance equipment (swords, hankies, bellpads) is available on short term loan and for a modest fee


Federal nonprofit tax exempt status is available through CDSS for affiliates in the USA who meet certain guidelines. This is useful for nonprofit bulk mail permits and tax exempt donations, and may be necessary for the rental of some halls or camp facilities.

CDSS offers our affiliate groups the opportunity to participate in our Group General Liability Insurance Policy underwritten by Philadelphia Insurance.

These benefits of Group membership in CDSS relate to our Dance, Music & Song Camps. Your group may choose to combine its Priority Admission and Matching Scholarship requests.

CDSS offers liability insurance to its individual members who are callers within the United States.

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