Washington Evening Journal
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WASHINGTON — Advocacy group Washington for Justice will not apply for 501(c)(3) status after a meeting last week. The group may still look into other options for qualifying as a nonprofit.
“We’re not a nonprofit right now, we’re just a ragtag group of kids,” Washington For Justice Associate Director Bethany Glinsmann said. “We have talked more seriously, maybe about a year ago, about becoming a 501(c)(3) so that’s one option … we could hitch our wagon to another group that’s more well-established within the state or Southeast Iowa.”
Group Member Roger Farmer said the move would be too much trouble. While the tax filing would allow donors to write off contributions to the organization on their taxes, he said he didn’t expect that to have a major impact on support.
“Establishing a 501(c)(3) at this point, I’m not sure it would be worth the effort,” he said. “I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but what does it buy us besides deductibility from our contributions? We’re informal, I don’t think most people make a contribution to Washington for Justice because it’s tax-deductible, or don’t because it’s not.”
Group Member Angie Looney said it would take a lot of work to apply for the status, with approval not guaranteed.
“The amount of paperwork we’d have to submit would be tough,” she said. “If we think that’s the way we want to go, we’d need to keep really good records … we’d have to go back and get five years worth of statements.”
The political activity of 501(c)(3) groups is heavily regulated by the IRS. Group member Dan Henderson said the group’s opposition to racism was a non-partisan ideal, but many in the community perceive the organization as political.
“It’s important, going back to the mission statement, to maintain and promote that we’re non-partisan,” he said. “We’re not just a bunch of Democrats … anybody can give out food, this isn’t a political party, and everybody can celebrate Juneteenth.”