I was getting the mail on Thursday (it's ironic because I never get the mail, but my mom happened to be out of town), and sifting through it when I came to a thick envelope from the IRS. My heart stopped for a moment... We weren't expecting to hear back about our tax-exempt application until October, so part of me tried to convince myself this was just another step, that they must need more information. In fact, just two months ago they did send a letter asking for another $100 as the application fee had gone up. I waited til I got inside to open it. It was a big moment... my dad and sister Mariah were standing with me as I opened it and read the first line:
"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."
I was ecstatic! Such an unexpected surprise in the middle of just another week! I'm sure it was because I chose to wear my panda shirt in honor of Chengdu (the Panda capitol!) that day... don't you think?
This opens a lot of doors for Hope Station. We can start fundraising directly through our own organization now, instead of through Mills as we had been doing and were so thankful for all along. We can receive grants and are more eligible for major gifts, and simply be more independent and... for lack of a better word, official!
It's very exciting. Thank you to everyone who helped us in the process of applying, and for everyone's encouragements along the way as we waited. And now, let's keep moving forward!