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Consultant
  • Writer's pictureCyrina Thomas

Do we need another non-profit?

Updated: Mar 10

Short answer: no.


My journey into non-profit land began with an idea my friend had around exposing more black folks into careers. I learned with her the process to start and the things to get straight before you do. I learned alongside her in the process and the things you need to get straight before you start. Since then, I have repeated the process for myself and another organization (Precious Plastic Cincy, Triiibe Foundation). The steps are the same, but I challenge anyone on this journey to spend time thinking about the long term vision and their "why" which will be essential along this journey.


Committed to doing it anyway? Here's the quick and dirty:

  1. Establish a mission and vision.

  2. Assemble a board (3-4 people depending on your state regulations)

  3. File for an EIN

  4. Register with the IRS to get your 501 (c)(3) tax status.

    1. Look for the 1023-EZ form. They have an online form that you can fill out. It is a pretty straightforward process. Yo need some

    2. Register with your state as well!


You have to start with mission and vision and really envision what you want because what comes afterwork is paperwork and minutiae that will be pretty boring and you want to have a "North Star" to shoot for.


Maintaining a Non-Profit

  1. I learned about this option too late in my journey so I'm starting out here. Fiscal sponsors have the ability to provide back office and financial security to a nonprofit. Find a Fiscal sponsor and/or benefactor who can give you the cash to play, experiment, and explore. Without this you will be in the grant cycle that can be compared to "hand to mouth" cycle more than anything.

  2. Hit up your rich friends or get in spaces with foundation leaders before you file the paperwork. I had the experience to be making enough money at the time so had the flexibility to float the expenses for running one, but I am headed in a different direction because non-profit.



A Special Note to Black Women

I have been trying to put this into words over the last few years, but once I learned the term non-profit industrial complex I can say this a bit more boldly - Black People and specifically black women don't need to to start another non-profit (unless you have an infusion of cash!!). We are under resourced and given less unrestricted funding to start a


What is my point exactly? Before you start, get in touch with someone who is already doing the thing and see if you can join them on their mission :)


Special Note to folks looking to create a Scholarship


This website helps you do this without filing for a non-profit: https://bold.org/donors/


Thank you for reading - Cyrina

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