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Re: 501-c-3 - Independence

  • Subject: Re: [cg] 501-c-3 - Independence
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2001 20:51:00 EST

Libby is smart on this but the key point is "a compatible local 
organization".  Land Trust folks, if they're like the ones in Philly and 
Boston or even the Trust for Public Land are nice, friendly folks. But it's 
always a favor.  Sometimes, if you have it together enough, it's best to be 
your own financial entity, especially if you need to move quickly ( the empty 
lot next door suddenly becomes available for sale and you're got a financial 
angel - you can process the check through your own bank accont fast and get 
the land before somebody builds a McDonalds on it or something,) 

Independence is the key.  Most contributions for  community gardens are one 
and two buck -  the profits on t-shirt, coffee mug or flea market sales are 
nickel and dime.  But when somebody wants to  write a check or a foundation 
is reviewing a grant application for a big deal capital investment  (like 
irrigation or a cast iron fence - this was our biggie from the Vincent Astor 
foundation - Brooke Astor visited us in person) having a 501 (c) (3) , which 
makes the contribution tax deductible and says that the IRS has reviewed you 
and says that you're legit, really helps.  The rich person or nervous 
foundation administrator with the fiduciary responsibility sees the muddy 
gardeners and realizes that the bulk of  money is not going to go for  drink 
or a junket to Vegas.  

Years back, the Clinton Community Garden got it's  501(c)(3) through the 
Trust for Public Land which helped us incorporate. Having that structure  
made us have monthly steering committee and annual meetings with record 

When we negotiate the garden lease every few years with the Parks Dept., it 
really helps for them to know that we are an IRS and NY State dept of Finance 
recognized entity and can get insurance. This really helps in a city where 
community gardens are seen as a nuisance and community gardeners are called 
"garden weasels" in the NY Daily News.


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