After coming home from the hospital I opened the mailbox only to find there was a letter from the IRS. We had submitted our application for 501(c)(3) in late April, and considering this was only early June, I had presumed that the letter was a denial. We were told that we would not receive a determination letter for up to 100 days after the IRS received our application. Since we had submitted our application just after the April 15th cut-off date for taxes, we presumed we would not hear back from the IRS until late in the summer.
As I opened the letter I dreaded what I was about to read only to be wonderfully surprised as my eyes skimmed over that first sentence, “We are pleased to inform you….” Tears instantly flowed as all of my emotions came flooding out, literally! All of the hard work had paid off, and this approval letter couldn’t have come at a better time! I know deep in my heart that this timing wasn’t just ironic, but rather a wonderful gift from my awesome son! Now we can really push forward with CTA and begin the process of expanding to other hospitals!!
We knew that a lot went into developing a non-profit organization, or so we thought. Little did we truly know everything that went into it until after we decided that this was our calling. Even though we have Collin’s memorial fund to help us get started, there wasn’t enough to be able to pay a non-profit attorney or someone else to do all the paperwork for us. Since mid December of 2010, CTA has been our second job, but I use the word job cautiously. This isn’t our job but rather our passion. I work a day job to pay the bills, but I feel most alive when I’m working on CTA.
This may be hard for some people to understand, but since I no longer have Collin here on earth, I don’t have a child to nurture. I have all of these motherly instincts, feelings, and emotions, yet no child to raise. CTA is my way of being able to take care of my son by helping other parents of angels when they need it most. I believe deep within my heart that Collin is so proud of his mommy and daddy for helping these families. It is very healing for us to know that we are making a difference. Our time dedicated to CTA, even if to be able to help just one family, is worth every moment!
There are so many documents to fill out and file at both the state a federal levels. First you have to become incorporated and recognized as such by your state. Then you have to write articles and bylaws and file those. Next is your Employer Tax ID even if you will not be hiring any paid employees after which you can file for tax exemption status, or 501(c)(3). That is the monster document of them all! The application alone is 30 pages, but anytime you answer yes in the application you must give an explanation on another sheet of paper. Our entire application was over 50 pages long! Finally, upon approval you then have to file more documents with the state before you are able to solicit any funds. Whew…I told you it was lengthy!
For me this feels like it’s been a slow process. To think we started over 6 months ago is almost crazy. I know we’ve accomplished so much, but not knowing what we were getting ourselves into I thought we’d be much further along at this point. However, I just have to keep reminding myself that we are making progress, even if only one day at a time.