Official Blog of the Education Exchange Corps

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

We're a 501(c)(3)!

Holy cow, we have a donate button!

After five years of working in St. Louis, the Education Exchange Corps became a tax-exempt nonprofit organization.

This is great news! It makes us eligible for many more grants, donors can now provide us with tax deductible donations, and the government's stamp of approval legitimizes the work we are doing for the children and city of St. Louis.

And we get that cool donate button.

I cannot begin to count the number of hours we have spent to get to this point. On top of trying to do good work with a community, organizations that want to be independent nonprofits have to fill out detailed paperwork, build and manage a corporate structure, and save up a sizable amount of money just to apply for tax-exempt status. (Yup. Nonprofit organizations have to pay to be nonprofits, $850 in our case. Go figure.)

Then there's the wait. The IRS sent us an initial letter saying someone would contact us within three months. Some organizations are then contacted by an IRS employee asking for clarification and assigning more paperwork before they can receive tax-exempt status. In law school, I heard stories that the process can take half a year, sometimes way longer.

Lucky for the Education Exchange Corps, I learned the nonprofit legal ropes from the legendary Peter Ruger. And last summer, we had a wonderful legal intern from Washington University (and a wonderful classmate of mine too!), Bill Bradley, fixing all of the mistakes I made. So within two months of the IRS receiving our application, we were recognized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

No additional questions. No concerns about our paperwork or plan. Just a big ol' congratulatory YES!

This is a big milestone for us, and we couldn't have done it without the support of this community.
I mentioned some folks above, but there are more. The staff at DukeEngage gave our founders the original funding to start our work in St. Louis. The St. Louis Public Schools teachers and administrators have been so welcoming to our program. Eric Greitens and the Mission Continues helped us incorporate two years ago. Jenni Owen from Duke University taught me how to reach out to my community, and Maureen Nolan, now retired from the St. Louis Public Schools, has done so much for us and this city I'd need twenty blog posts just to do her some justice.

And of course a special thanks belongs to all of our volunteers, many of whom gave up so much of their time to help our kids, many of whom are now teaching professionally, and all of whom will be shaped by their experience with us.

But we're not done yet.

Now it's time to push our mission further.
Now it's time to find more volunteers to help in our partner elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the city.
Now it's time for the community to double down on its schools through participation and active support.
Now it's time for us to give our kids the best summer they've had yet.

We need your help to build St. Louis's future through our city's children. Consider volunteering or donating at

Elad Gross is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Education Exchange Corps.