Cohousing communities and tax-exemption, 501c3
From: R.P. Aditya (adityagrot.org)
Date: Thu, 11 Jun 2015 08:17:49 -0700 (PDT)
Individual communities, typically an association of homeowners, wouldn't
qualify as a 501c3 -- ie. having a _primary_ mission that is tax exempt for
being a *public* benefit corporation.

They might have a public charity "arm" that is a steward of a wetland or
educational, but the typical "business of a cohousing community" would not
qualify in intent, as far as I can tell.

linked from:

  
http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Charitable-Organizations/Exemption-Requirements-Section-501%28c%29%283%29-Organizations
        
  Exempt Purposes - Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3)

  The exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3) are charitable, religious,
  educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering
  national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty
  to children or animals.  The term charitable is used in its generally accepted
  legal sense and includes relief of the poor, the distressed, or the
  underprivileged; advancement of religion; advancement of education or science;
  erecting or maintaining public buildings, monuments, or works; lessening the
  burdens of government; lessening neighborhood tensions; eliminating prejudice
  and discrimination; defending human and civil rights secured by law; and
  combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency.

On Tue, Jun 09, 2015 at 12:16:53PM -0400, Ken Winter wrote:
> 
> I have a slightly-but-hopefully-not-too-far-off-topic question:
> 
> Do any cohousing *communities *have 501(c)(3) status?
> 
> Have any tried to get that status and failed?
> 
> ~ Ken, from Sunward Coho, Ann Arbor, MI
> 
> On Mon, Jun 8, 2015 at 12:16 PM, Alice Alexander <alicecohous [at] gmail.com>
> wrote:
> 
> >
> > Many thanks to the good comments on a revenue model for sustaining Coho/US.
> > To confirm:
> >
> > Coho/US is not a membership organization; we are a 501(3) nonprofit
> > organization. We do not require membership dues from individuals or
> > cohousing communities, and our services as a connector and clearinghouse to
> > grow and support cohousing are available to everyone, not just "members."
> >
> > Coho/US relies on financial support from individuals and communities both.
> > Individuals gifts can be claimed as a charitable donations; cohousing
> > communities may prefer a reference to membership dues or support, and this
> > is fine. "Membership" can be a generic term!
> >
> > In 2014, I sent out two requests to all our subscribers (9,300) to
> > encourage individual charitable donations; this yielded gifts from
> > individuals of $4,061. We have invested time and will continue to invest
> > time in growing this support from individuals.
> >
> > Also in 2014, we encouraged all cohousing communities to support Coho/US,
> > and we received more gifts from cohousing communities than ever before -
> > over $13,000. Just last month, I sent a "Community Connection" newsletter
> > to encourage planning for annual support to Coho/US - sent to those who are
> > tagged as reps for their cohousing communities. I am happy to share this
> > with others.
> >
> > However, with an operational budget in 2015 of $62,444, Coho/US continues
> > to be challenged in raising sufficient funds from individuals and
> > communities to be sustainable.
> >
> > A strict membership structure as a business model for associations (one
> > that requires dues, and provide services to a select audience) generally
> > only works well for trade associations representing for profit businesses
> > (think American Medical Association).
> >
> > Cohousing communities are not profit centers, and support is based on a
> > decision to recognize that Coho/US (1) provides credibility and relevancy
> > for cohousing as a housing and living option; (2) attracts the public to
> > cohousing, thus helping provide communities with robust waiting lists; and
> > (3) serves as a clearinghouse and connector for cohousing resources.
> >
> > Other sources of revenue include advertising (which at $50 per month for a
> > classified ad is a great deal! we keep this cost affordable as a service to
> > the cohousing world), and support from our cohousing professionals
> > <http://www.cohousing.org/professionals>.
> >
> > I appreciate the ideas for foundation grant support; as a career nonprofit
> > fundraiser, our status is a huge challenge for traditional funding (we
> > serve cohousers who for the most part are not foundation target
> > populations). Project-oriented work as Sharon Villines has suggested is
> > likely our only avenue, but that requires staffing, and resource
> > investment; consideration would have to be very thoughtful to balance our
> > priorities. Please share ideas! But understand that project grant funding
> > does not support operational funds generally - so we are back to the
> > challenge of sustainability.
> >
> > A challenge that inspires me actually, and one reason I am committed to
> > this position, knowing the importance of stabilizing and strengthening our
> > basic organization.
> > Alice Alexander, Coho/US Executive Director
> >
> >
> >
> > On Fri, Jun 5, 2015 at 9:14 AM, Kathryn McCamant <
> > kmccamant [at] cohousing-solutions.com> wrote:
> >
> > >
> > > I don't know why it needs to be one or the other...community donations
> > and
> > > individual, and I expect it actually is.. When we get notice of our
> > annual
> > > "community membership" payment (really really need an annual invoice or
> > > reminder of some sort), I try to use the opportunity to put it on a
> > > community meeting agenda to talk about the association so that more
> > people
> > > know about it and understand what it does. We have fund for the
> > assocation
> > > in our HOA budget.
> > >
> > > But, that does not mean that the association should not try to cultivate
> > > individual donors also.
> > >
> > > I think there are a lot of people living in cohousing who will never
> > > attend a conference but support the association and are glad there is a
> > > national network and website... especially for resales.
> > >
> > > Katie
> > > --
> > > Kathryn McCamant, President
> > >
> > > Nevada City Cohousing
> > > And
> > > CoHousing Solutions
> > > 241B Commercial Street
> > > Nevada City, CA 95959
> > > T.530.478.1970  C.916.798.4755
> > > www.cohousing-solutions.com
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > On 6/5/15, 5:08 AM, "Fred-List manager" <fholson [at] cohousing.org> 
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > >
> > > >Eris Weaver <eris [at] erisweaver.info>
> > > >is the author of the message below.  It was posted by
> > > >Fred, the Cohousing-L list manager <fholson [at] cohousing.org>
> > > >due to a format problem.
> > > >--------------------  FORWARDED MESSAGE FOLLOWS --------------------
> > > >Sharon Villines wrote:
> > > >
> > > >>To my knowledge the funding and organizational model for Coho US is a
> > > >>community membership model. I think it is because it based on a
> > > >>fundamentally flawed assumption ? that cohousing communities have a
> > > >>commitment to the cohousing movement.
> > > >>
> > > >>Most members of my community have no knowledge of the national
> > cohousing
> > > >>organization or any interest in a movement. It isn't a cause. I was
> > > >>shocked
> > > >>when I joined this group that people were not expected to read at least
> > > >>one
> > > >>of the books on cohousing. Some if not many had no knowledge of other
> > > >>cohousing communities. They saw the flyer on a bulletin board
> > somewhere,
> > > >>thought it sounded like something interesting, and it matched their
> > > >>political and social ideals. They moved in because they wanted to live
> > > >>here,
> > > >>not to join a movement. They have their own movements.
> > > >>
> > > >>And we have the #1 cohousing advocate and activist Ann Zabaldo living
> > in
> > > >>our
> > > >>midst. We are a member of the national organization primarily because
> > she
> > > >>advocates it. And once a budget item is in the budget, it tends to
> > stay.
> > > >>
> > > >>So a membership organization supported by communities is probably not
> > the
> > > >>model that will ever work. More communities will probably not provide
> > the
> > > >>level of support the movement needs.
> > > >
> > > >Totally agree. Other than one conference held locally while we were in
> > > >development - which just about all our members attended - only one other
> > > >person in my community besides me has attended a Coho/US conference
> > since
> > > >we
> > > >moved in twelve years ago. My neighbors are VERY active in all sorts of
> > > >political, social, and spiritual movements...but NOT the cohousing
> > > movement.
> > > >Cohousing is the place they come home to (and often hold their committee
> > > >meetings and fundraisers).
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >------------------------------
> > > >
> > > >Eris Weaver, Founding member, FrogSong (Cotati, CA)
> > > >
> > > >Graphic Facilitator & Group Process Consultant
> > > >
> > > > <mailto:eris [at] erisweaver.info> eris [at] erisweaver.info ? 
> > > > 707-338-8589 ?
> > > ><http://www.erisweaver.info/> http://www.erisweaver.info
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >"On days when you have no ideas at all, the best thing you can do is
> > start
> > > >doodling." Charles M. Schulz
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > <http://www.linkedin.com/in/erisweaver/> social-linkedin-box-blue-icon
> > > ><
> > >
> > https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eris-Weaver-Facilitator-Group-Process-Cons
> > > >ul
> > > >tant/59352022195> social-facebook-box-blue-icon
> > > ><https://twitter.com/erisweaver> twitter-icon
> > > ><http://erisweaver.info/blog/>
> > > >wordpress
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >fa cil i t?t: to make easier
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >_________________________________________________________________
> > > >Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:
> > > >http://www.cohousing.org/cohousing-L/
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> > > _________________________________________________________________
> > > Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:
> > > http://www.cohousing.org/cohousing-L/
> > >
> > >
> > >
> >
> >
> > --
> > Alice Alexander
> > Executive Director
> > www.cohousing.org <http://www.cohous.org>
> > [image: The Cohousing Association]
> > _________________________________________________________________
> > Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:
> > http://www.cohousing.org/cohousing-L/
> >
> >
> >
> _________________________________________________________________
> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:
> http://www.cohousing.org/cohousing-L/
> 
> 

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