What's Happening

It's been a while since I've written a mass update about what's going on with the IRS.  I've been thinking a lot and talking with our board of directors, trusted advisors, friends, etc.  Now, I'm ready to share what's been going on with everyone because I feel like we're almost at a consensus.  We want to be transparent during this process and share openly.  We've got nothing to hide and find value on including others in what we're doing.  If you're reading this, you're part of the team helping to make Overflow happen.  So, here's the update (without going into too much boring legal or tax details... if you're interested in these kinds of things, let me know and I'd love to talk with you over the phone).

The IRS is not going to recognize selling direct trade coffee and other products as an exempt activity of a non-profit organization.  Therefore, we are faced with 3 options: (1) keep coffee and other sales to a minimal level, (2) hive off the coffee shop as a separate for-profit from a non-profit focused on community building, arts and volunteering or (3) have everything be a single for-profit entity (but we can still use 100% of our profits for non-profit activities). 

The consensus seems to be to go for option #3 and keep all of our activities under a single entity.  We'll still do the mission we've set out so far - giving South Loop residents, students and workers the opportunity to change the world through community building, volunteering, the arts and using direct trade and organic products.  We will give 100% of our profits to non-profit activities (mostly within the South Loop and surrounding neighborhoods).

I'd love to hear your thoughts about a "socially responsible" coffee shop that doesn't have a 501(c)(3) status but is still 100% invested in the community.  Comment and share your thoughts and ideas!

The Past Week or So.

On Friday, February 5th I found out Mark from the IRS had our 501(c)(3) application on his desk.  I got his phone number, called, and left a message.

On Monday, February 8th,  Mark returned my call.  He said he would look at the application within the next couple days and would be getting back to me with a request for additional information.

On Wednesday morning around 9:30am, Mark sent me a fax with the requestion for additional information.  The request took up 10 pages and consisted of 18 sets of questions to which he needed answers. 

By Wednesday night around 10:30pm, I had a rough draft of my responses to all Mark's questions ready to send to Overflow's Board of Directors for their feedback.

On Thursday, I received the responses from the board and finalized the answers and their corresponding attachments.

On Friday morning, I went to Staples to get all 34 pages of the answers and attachements printed and ready to go.  Then, went to a partner organization who let me use their fax and sent all 34 pages via fax to Mark.  It was around 9am Central Time when the fax was sent.  Finally, I went to the post office and put everything in the mail to Mark.  I got home around 10:30am and napped for an hour or so.  Then, it was back to work getting caught up with all the things I missed while working on the IRS stuff.

I hope to hear something on Tuesday or shortly thereafter.  Check back for an update as soon as I have one.


I cannot express in words how much my friends and family mean to me, especially in my ventures to start a non-profit.  But, let me try...

I've been reminded recently that when I'm alone a lot (like when working from home) I totally start doubting myself and what I'm doing.  But when I work on things along with my friends, family, committee, board, etc.  I feel much better about where Overflow is headed.  I don't think it's that I'm overly critical of myself.  Rather, I'm convinced that community is better than isolation - that working together is much more fulfilling that working alone.

So, thank you to all those people working and dreaming alongside me and letting my work and dream alongside them.  Together we are mightier than we are individually.  "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." - Aristotle.

You know what else makes me feel good, comments on my posts.  No one's commented for a long time.  Why not post comment really quick???

American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month.  For over 2 years, I worked at the American Heart Association and February would've been the busy month of the year.  Cardiovascular Disease is still close to my heart (pun intended) so I thought I'd help spread awareness of it's far-reaching and deep-impacting in the whole world today.  I got these facts from the World Health Organization:

•CVD made up 16.7 million, or 29.2% of total global deaths according to World Health Report 2003.

•Around 80% of CVD deaths took place in low and middle-income countries.

•By 2010, CVD will be the leading cause of death in developing countries.

•At least 20 million people survive heart attacks and strokes every year; many require continuing costly clinical care.

•Heart disease has no geographic, gender or socio-economic boundaries.

An estimated 16.7 million - or 29.2% of total global deaths - result from the various forms of cardiovascular disease (CVD), many of which are preventable by action on the major primary risk factors: unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and smoking. More than 50% of the deaths and disability from heart disease and strokes, which together kill more than 12 million people each year, can be cut by a combination of simple, cost-effective national efforts and individual actions to reduce major risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and smoking.

So, this month and throughout your life, be sure to have a healthy diet, exercise regularly and stop (or never start) smoking.  Your ability to change the world depends on your health.
Share your concern for loved ones who may be at risk for cardiovascular disease.  Tell them how much you love them and desire to keep them around for much, much longer. 
To your health and the health of your loved ones!
Related Posts with Thumbnails