What does it mean to be a 501c3 Nonprofit Organization?
To me and the Wander Project Board of Directors, we think it is one of the greatest privileges as a way to serve our community, but this honor goes back way before our time.
Here is a little history of nonprofit organizations.
In the early 1900s, during a time of increased wealth, the idea of giving back to your community, owing a duty to society and donating to causes was brought to light.
In the 1940s the world was affected by WWII. During this time people, organizations and corporations came together to serve on a global scale. People worked together to make sure communities had the supplies they needed. People volunteered their time and gifts (financial and talents).
In 1969, the Internal Revenue Service code 501c3 was incorporated through the Tax Reform Act. If a charitable organization met the requirements for this status, they would have the opportunity to offer tax exemptions for any donations to that cause; incentivizing fundraising for community organizations doing their part to address community issues.
We at Wander Project are so excited to announce that our 501c3 nonprofit status was recently approved by the International Revenue Service! Now it is our turn to collaborate with a variety of people, corporations and other nonprofit organizations to serve the wide range of communities that we have the opportunity to be a part of.
Our mission is to engage with athletes and endurance racing events to support local communities through inspiring fundraising and service. Truly we want to empower athletes to do more and run for a purpose.
Our charity bib program has raised over $100,000 this year! The athletes that helped raise these funds were given the opportunity to help decide how the funds will be disbursed. They decided that funds raised through the charity bib program will support community programs, in the areas that host the races we are a part of, that focused on: preservation and conservation of public lands, education around local ecology and stewardship, and promoting health and wellbeing within these local communities.
Our virtual community fundraisers have helped raise awareness, and over $40,000 for a variety of community beneficiaries since the pandemic hit the United States. These athletes and fundraisers have raised funds to support organizations such as their local food banks, animal rescues, services for vulnerable populations that have been affected by COVID-19 and we even had a few groups raising funds to support their favorite restaurants.
Recently, we also launched a new program to help ensure that anyone who wants to experience the joy and excitement of being part of an in-person event can have the chance. This new program is called our Sponsor an Athlete Fund, and we hope to work with our already engaged athletes to raise funds to help support athletes that qualify with race entry fees, travel expenses, and/or any other barriers that we can identify that make attending a race impossible.
We feel so proud of what we have been able to accomplish so far this year and look forward to the new possibilities that come with now being an official 501c3 nonprofit organization. If you are looking for ways to get more involved, we have options for you to join us in this journey! We are currently looking to expand our Board of Directors; we have charity bibs available for all of the Vacation Races events (2020-2021), you can donate directly on our website to support our efforts and we are exploring ways to keep our virtual community fundraisers available year round.