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Thread: Starting a New Charitable Foundation

  1. #1

    Starting a New Charitable Foundation

    I will be starting a new charity and I would like to get some tips and suggestions from others who are familiar with what is involved in this venture. I already have all of the paperwork from Sacramento which I would like to fill out and send back by the end of this month.

    I have been raising money for SCI research since 1988, and I want to do something that is a little different. I believe that most people in wheelchairs do not have very much money and are struggling to make ends meet. I want to offer a type of crisis intervention which will include helping to pay for items such as wheelchair batteries, tires, required school books for college, etc. I will not be able to provide people with big ticket items such as a new van or anything else that would cost over $5,000. From personal experience, I know what it's like to need a commode chair or a transfer bench ASAP, only to get deluged with paperwork and prescriptions from doctors which can literally take months in some cases.

    I will continue to raise some money for SCI research but until a cure or treatment comes along, there is a need to help disabled people with the little things which really turn out to make a big difference in their lives.

    Paul Nussbaum
    ssuusc@aol.com

  2. #2
    Senior Member Scorpion's Avatar
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    Paul,

    I'm looking to set up a similar organization. I'm in New York though, so I don't know if your info could help me.

    ~Rus

  3. #3
    Senior Member martha's Avatar
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    That's a wonderful and noble cause. I've been involved with starting one charity fund and it's a lot of work. My experience was that while there are many many goodhearted people willing to contribute to your endeavors, there are many more who will do so if they can write it off. I would suggest that you go through the process of getting set up with the IRS as well as with your state. Again, it's a lot of paperwork both in the start-up and in doing the charity's yearly tax reports, but I found it to be well worth the effort when it comes to fundraising. Good luck with your project!

    martha

  4. #4
    Martha and Scorpion:

    Thank you both for responding to my post. Martha, I never thought about filing with the IRS, could you explain why it would be necessary for a private charity to do this?

    Scorpion, I have been a fundraiser for spinal cord research since 1988. Starting my own charity is a new experience for me. I would like to hear some of the ideas or plan's you have for the charity that you are considering to begin. Just because someone is on the East Coast and I am located on the West Coast doesn't necessarily make it unworkable.

    I was told that if I paid $500 (it may have been $700) that all of the paperwork, would be completed to start this charity. I thought that the amount of money, he was asking for was too much and I turned him down.

    Paul

  5. #5

    IRS

    You have to have an IRS issued tax-exempt number in order for your charity to qualify for people being able to claim their donations to you as a tax write-off. Without this number, they are at risk of having to pay back-taxes if audited. I don't donate to any charities that don't have one myself. (KLD)

  6. #6
    Senior Member martha's Avatar
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    KLD hit the nail on the head. You can collect funds and dole them out at will, but in order for the contributors to be able to write off their donations on their taxes, your charity has to be registered with (and approved by) the IRS. I believe you would fall under Section 501(c)3, but you certainly want to doublecheck that to make sure. You must establish a process or criteria for your recipients and when the charity files its federal tax return each year, although you won't have any taxes due, you must briefly explain to whom you gave money and why (as well as from whom you received money). We do this in a very brief (generally one sentence) statement about each recipient. Something on the order of "John Smith, an individual without medical insurance, suffered a heart attack and was given financial assistance to pay medical bills". Rather than pay someone to help set up our organization, we found a tax attorney who was willing to work with us pro bono. If you ask around of your friends and other contacts, you might can do the same.

    martha

  7. #7
    Martha and K. L. D.

    This charity will be set up so that the contributors will receive a tax write-off through the IRS. Martha, I like your idea about using a tax attorney to do the work pro bono. I plan to contact the Western Center for Disability Rights, which is part of Loyola College in Los Angeles. The Western Center for Disability Rights provides pro bono work for people who are disabled. The law Center primarily handles cases that have to do with accessibility rights.

    K. L. D. I remember your top 10. "Doctor Strange Love", must not be far behind? :-)


    PN

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