Fulbright Prism Receives Nonprofit Status
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA // March 25, 2019 - The Fulbright Prism board of directors announced on Monday that the organization achieved non-profit status in the United States. Organization leadership says they sought this status to better achieve Prism’s mission to empower LGBTQ Fulbrighters. “After launching our Instagram page in June of 2018, we quickly learned such a public presence was not the optimal service or community LGBTQ Fulbrighters were looking for,” said Prism President and CEO Timothy Sensenig. “LGBTQ Fulbrighters want to share resources, make connections with one another, and create a community, but more often than not, they want to do it away from the public eye.” In the fall of 2018, the three Prism founders announced at the European Fulbright Diversity Initiative Conference in Berlin, Germany that they had decided to become a full-fledged nonprofit organization so that they could build and support a website to provide these very services. In the future, they also hope to curate conferences and even sponsor a stipend or entire grant for an LGBTQ Fulbrighter.
The road to nonprofit recognition, however, was no simple task. The Prism founders first had to draft bylaws and articles of incorporation, which they filed with the Commonwealth of Virginia. Sensenig’s background as a law student no doubt aided this process. “It took us a month or two to draft bylaws and articles that we were satisfied with, and even longer to wait on the state to recognize our incorporation,” Sensenig explained. “Once we were incorporated with the state, we had to fill out an application with the federal Internal Revenue Service. After that, it was a waiting game. We just hoped that we filled out the forms correctly. Finally receiving that letter from the IRS was very exciting, as well as a relief.”
According to the Internal Revenue Service, nonprofit organizations, also known as “exempt,” “charitable,” or “501(c)(3)” organizations, enjoy no tax liability for the revenue they take in. Contributions to these organizations are also tax deductible. To be tax exempt, organizations must be organized and operate exclusively for an exempt purpose under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.