501(c)3 Status: What Does It Mean?

UniPro recently had cause for celebration as we announced that, after a highly painstaking process, we achieved 501(c)3 status. Shared with the group at our 2nd Annual Staff Retreat, the announcement elicited an eruption of applause. And then there was me. Mindlessly cheering along. Whatever 501(c)3 meant, everyone else seemed to agree that it was a good thing. "I think it has to do with taxes," I wondered.

So I'm here to break it down for you, to tell you exactly why this truly is a momentous occasion for UniPro (or any nonprofit organization seeking legitimacy in the community), and to spare you the agony of reading the most boring Wikipedia entry of all time.

First of all, getting our 501(c)3 status is exciting because, well, we've been working on our application forever. A few dedicated staff members have slaved over tough questions, compiled financial records and attended 3 or 4-hour meetings to meet a strict deadline. The process was three years in the making, "so it's been a lot of patience and persistence that's finally paid off," said Jonelyn Planilla, Unipro's current treasurer.

501(c)3 status also means that we are a tax-exempt organization. Taking advantage of this huge benefit,  UniPro can now better serve its community, not having to worry about additional charges for necessary company expenses.

Similarly, UniPro can now incentivize donors with the ability to accept donations tax-free. For many organizations without 501(c)3 status, soliciting contributions can be a challenge. Generous supporters may feel at-risk when donating if they are unable to write off the gift on their taxes. Warren Buffet, here we come....

In the end, our newly obtained status gives UniPro legitimacy. Our young organization is recognized by the United States government as a serious non-profit organization (which isn't a small feat!). Congrats, UniPro! And thank you to all of the incredible staff members who made this goal a reality!