It's time for a big announcement.....
The "While We're Waiting" ministry has officially been granted 501(c)3 non-profit status by the Internal Revenue Service!!
Let me just tell you ... This is nothing less than a miracle. And here's why. About a year ago, we sat down with Larry and Janice Brown, the co-founders of While We're Waiting, and discussed our desire to seek non-profit status for this ministry. We all wanted to do it, knowing that it would open up multiple fund-raising avenues for WWW; however, we had no money to hire an accountant or an attorney to assist us in the process. And none of us had the faintest inkling about how to set up a non-profit ministry.
So I ordered a book off the internet titled How to Form a Non-Profit Corporation, and basically "winged it." First we had to file for an employer identification number and register as a corporation with the state of Arkansas, all of which was fairly easy. We had to write by-laws and establish a board of directors ... no problem. Then we had the daunting task of completing the monstrous IRS Form 1023 with its multiple attachments. I did my best to fill that thing out, following the advice of my handy-dandy book, and ran everything past the rest of the board. Eventually we decided that it all sounded pretty good, and put our signatures at the bottom. Sometime in January of 2012, I wrote the check for the application fee and stuck it in the mailbox. I prayed over it as I mailed it ... simply asking that God would allow whoever eventually read it to look upon it with favor.
In a surprisingly short time, I received an official-looking letter from the IRS. I ripped open the envelope and read the letter. The writer acknowledged receipt of our application, and explained that non-profit applications are placed into one of three categories. One, it would be approved with no changes; two, minor changes would be required for its approval; or three, the application required "further development" and would be assigned to an IRS development specialist.
Yes, of course, we fell into category three. And, wouldn't you know it, there was a backlog in assigning these applications to development specialists, and they hoped we wouldn't mind the inconvenience of waiting an unspecified amount of time for our application to even be assigned to someone. Oh, but there was a website we could go to to see what month they were working on, in case we wondered how long it could potentially take.
I was not the least bit surprised. I was sure our application was going to require a LOT more development if it had any chance of being approved, especially since we had no idea what we were doing when we filled it out.
I checked the website, and sure enough, they were about six months behind in assigning applications to development specialists. Ugh! Because I knew that once we got assigned to this development specialist, it would probably be like starting all over ... I just knew our application was sorely lacking.
As each month has gone by, I've faithfully checked that website to see where we were at in the process, and for a time, the applications were moving forward at a pretty decent pace. I was thinking that maybe we would hear something by late summer. At least we would be assigned to one of these specialists and have an idea what we were dealing with! Then the process seemed to grind to a halt. All forward motion on the IRS's part came to an end, and I had begun to think that if we heard something by Christmas, we'd be doing good. In the meantime, though, I kept praying that whoever that enormous application landed in front of would look upon it with favor. Maybe they would even be a Christian parent who had lost a child, and they were see the vision of what we were trying to do with While We're Waiting.
Well, this past Saturday, we had one of our While We're Waiting Moms' Days at Janice's home. We spent the day with five wonderful Moms and heard the stories of the lives of their precious children. God blessed us with an amazing time of fellowship and encouragement. It was truly an awesome day. Just as we said good-bye to the last sweet Mom, and she pulled out of the driveway, my husband pulled in. This was no big surprise, as he and Janice's husband often show up at the end of our Moms' Days looking for leftovers! :)
When Brad walked in the door, the first thing I noticed was a big white envelope sticking out of his pocket and his bigger-than-usual grin. My heart and mind were so full from the day we'd just had ... I wondered why he was carrying an envelope in his pocket, but it never occurred to me what it was. Until he pulled it out and waved it around and said, "Guess what came in the mail today?", and then before I could answer, he hollered, "We're approved!"
I had to see it for myself. Sure enough, the letter stated it as plainly as could be ... "We are pleased to inform you that upon review of your application for tax exempt status we have determined that you are exempt from Federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to you are deductible under Section 170 of the Code. You are also qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers or gifts under Section 2055, 2016 or 2522 of the Code." It did NOT say, "That was the most ridiculous application we have ever received! What were you thinking? You're going to have to start completely over from the beginning," like I thought it was going to say. No development specialist. Just total approval.
I have probably lost most of you by this point. I realize that this is probably interesting to nobody but me. Why go into all this detail?
Simply to show that only God could have done this.
This application was completed by four totally ignorant people sitting around a kitchen table, using only a book purchased off the Internet as a resource ... and God took it and got it approved with no further development required in just nine months time! From what I've always heard about non-profit applications, that simply does not happen.
For the four of us, it is confirmation that God's hand is on this ministry. And we are so thankful.
Now for the next step. We have to learn how to run a non-profit corporation. Hmmmm ... Wonder if Amazon's got a book about that..... :)