On September 3, 2019, AMCAW president Paula McDowell received the email she had been anxiously waiting for. The organization has qualified for federal non-profit status in the United States. Now, we want to shout this news from the rooftops and explain what it means.

In the U.S., corporations can apply for non-profit status. In order to gain approval as a 501(c)(3), the organization must prove that it is organized and operated exclusively for certain specific purposes, one of which is education. The process is daunting, and the complex application is hundreds of pages long. Approval is not guaranteed, and many organizations are denied.

Paula McDowell

Paula McDowell, AMCAW President

Even after being approved, there is a demanding reporting schedule required to maintain the non-profit status. AMCAW’s founders, under the leadership of McDowell, took on this process without ever having done it before. Our attitude has always been “Let’s just dig in and figure it out,” and that approach has served us well.

Now that we have secured our 501(c)(3) status, AMCAW and its members will see a host of benefits. First and foremost, we will be exempt from federal taxes. Donations to the organization will now be tax deductible for U.S. corporate and individual donors as allowed by law. Because of the additional oversight and reporting required of non-profits, our members can be assured that AMCAW is functioning in the best interests of the community. In fact, the organization is run nearly 100% on volunteer hours.

Beyond the tax implications and oversight, there are other benefits to having our non-profit status. Many grants are available only to non-profits, so this development opens the door for us to start applying for grant funding. And some of our technology partners, such as Zoom and Basecamp, offer discounts to 501(c)(3) organizations.

When asked about this momentous occasion, McDowell commented, “It’s exciting to have our non-profit status approved, right at the one-year anniversary of AMCAW opening our virtual door to new members. This has been a long and stressful road, but it’s all worth it when we look at the programs already in place and the plans being made to help shape the future of metal clay.”