The meeting with the Bath City Council concerning our proposal for the old Nunnery building went well. The city owns this building, but given the limitations of the site, they see no possible use for it and don’t want to put any money into repairs. However this building would be absolutely perfect for a base of operations for HOMEtogether. The Council seemed receptive, and three councilors were interested enough to ask some good questions. Thanks to Elaine and Joanna for their help with the proposal! What happens next is, that during the next few weeks that budget item will come up in the (almost daily) budget sessions, and we will sit down with some councilors to work out exactly how this can happen..
Meanwhile we are talking to the neighbors. I think we have the Recreation Department with us, Sean and I have been talking with the families across the street, and we will be presenting the idea to St. Mary’s tonight. It will be very important to have their support, and I will be very much surprised if we don’t get it. I think they might be a very good source of volunteers!
That’s the good news. The bad news is that the IRS isn’t responding very positively to our 501 c 3 application. It feels a little like Cinderella in reverse – our foot doesn’t fit into any of their glass slippers. We aren’t a school, a museum, an orphanage, a shelter etc.. etc..
The mantra of the Emmaus Communities in the UK is “a charitable business that works”
The IRS seems to be saying that we can be a business or a charity, but not both. According to David Weiss, they don’t want us to be competing with “any commercial entity” (show me any nonprofit that doesn’t!) Joanna and Elaine and I, working with David Weiss, crafted a reply which may satisfy some of their concerns, and sent it off last Wednesday.
I am really impressed with the global internet “Kickstarter” fundraiser that just produced more than enough money to repair the old freight shed on Commercial Street, and I think we could do something like that. I’m going to do some research on it later in the week, and also try to talk to some of the people involved in the Freight Shed fundraiser about how they did it. Margaret Di Rivera up at H.O.M.E. has put me in touch with Josh, their representative to the International Emmaus organization. She tells me that Emmaus international is very concerned about how the two fledgling Emmaus communities in the U.S. (there is another in Georgia) are doing. I’ll send him a packet of information about what is going on here and see what happens.