But did you know …
… that in order for us to maintain our 501(c)3 status, we must earn 33% of our income from sources other than our endowment fund? Because of the benefits afforded to us as a nonprofit, we are under scrutiny each year to prove that we are important and beneficial to the general population. These benefits include being exempt from paying property taxes and enabling people to make tax deductible donations. Currently, any type of donation you make to the museum, whether it is through admission fees, membership dues, in-kind donations or artifact donations, can be claimed on your income taxes. This makes donating to a 501(c)3 more attractive to people than donating to other types of non-profits.
What happens if we lose our 501(c)3 status?
In addition to losing out on the benefits I mentioned, we also would no longer be exempt from federal income tax and may have to pay corporate income tax on annual revenue. It means that we would not be listed in IRS Publication 78, Cumulative List of Organizations described in Section 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, which is a list of organizations eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions. And it means that private foundations would be unlikely to give a grant directly to us, because federal tax law imposes an excise tax on grants made to organizations that are not tax-exempt.
We face challenges that many other organizations do not. For one, our museum appears to focus on a very specific topic: telephones. For another, we are not feeding starving children, or saving kittens and puppies (both of which are great causes!!). But the work we do here is very important as well. We are not just talking about telephones. We are sharing stories from a special time in history; we are talking about the impact that expanding communication methods had on society; we are taking care of artifacts that are no longer produced, and we are educating people each and every day.
What can you do to help?
There are a variety of ways you can help us achieve our goals:
- Become a Member
- Like and Follow us on Social Media
- Spread the Word
Laura French, Executive Director