BWW and League of Vermont Writers Sign Fiscal Sponsor Agreement

LVWwidgetI’m happy to announce that the League of Vermont Writers has agreed to serve as the “fiscal sponsor” of the Burlington Writers Workshop. This agreement unites the efforts of two successful, mission-driven Vermont writing organizations. The LVW is one of the oldest such groups in the country, and we are the largest and most active in the state of Vermont. Good things will happen for both organizations, and I’m happy we’re working together.

What does this new partnership mean for you? It means, in short, that you can contribute financially to the BWW’s efforts and claim a tax deduction. To gain the charitable deduction, you must follow specific steps, which I’ll outline later in this post.

But first, a primer on the use of fiscal sponsors. Organizations that have 501(c)3 status, such as the League of Vermont Writers, can serve as the fiscal sponsor of other groups. These “other groups” are commonly referred to as “projects.” The projects, through their fiscal sponsor, can apply for grants. Donors can also consider their financial gifts to the project “charitable” under the tax code, provided that they donate in ways that meet IRS requirements (again, see steps below).

You may be asking: Will the BWW need a board of directors? No. The League of Vermont Writers has a board, so we’re all set. We will, however, need some folks on a financial advisory committee. These volunteers will help decide our spending priorities. Some people have already volunteered, but if you’re interested, please do contact me.

But back to the charitable gifts: Thanks to the League of Vermont Writers, you can make charitable gifts to the BWW to help us pay for our space, publications, and other expenses related to our workshop. The contributions you have already made still contribute to that effort, but they have not been tax deductible.

How do you make a charitable gift? If you want to write a check, you must make the check payable to “League of Vermont Writers” and put in the memo section “Burlington Writers Workshop.” If you don’t put our name in the memo, the LVW won’t know it’s for the BWW. Their mailing address: League of Vermont Writers, P.O. Box 172, Underhill Center, VT 05490.

For its services, the LVW will keep five percent of your donation. Most fiscal sponsors take at least ten percent, so I consider this a gesture of their immense generosity. Thanks, LVW!

What about online gifts? We are still tinkering with the PayPal machinery to make online gifts tax deductible. If you give through Paypal, there is no need to change that at this point. After we consult with a lawyer and accountant, I will have better information about how you can make gifts online that are tax deductible. Donations made through WePay, including Meetup.com dues, are not tax deductible. If you have experienced confusion about the tax deductible status of your gifts thus far, please let me know, and I’ll straighten it out for you.

Andrea O’Connor has volunteered to help us apply for grants that’ll support specific functions, such as the publication of Best of 2015 and the literary journal. My hope is that, someday, I’ll announce that we have been awarded some cash to help launch our publications into the wider world.

The arrangement we’ve just entered into is quite common. The Burlington Book Festival, for example, uses the Stern Center For Language and Learning as its fiscal sponsor, and grant money pays for most of the authors that visit Burlington during this three-day festival.

The BWW is entering its fifth year. When I think back on what we were five years ago—just a few writers gathered in someone’s apartment to talk about writing—I can’t help but feel amazed by all the work you’ve done to create what we are today. If you have any questions, concerns, comments, or ideas, please let me know. And thank you!

About Peter Biello

Peter Biello is the host of All Things Considered on New Hampshire Public Radio and a writer of short stories, novels, book reviews, and essays. He's also the host of The Bookshelf, a series of interviews with authors from or writing about the Granite State.
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