Greetings and Happy New Year. We are proud to announce that as of today, January 1, 2022, the 1715 Fleet Society is now a 501 c (3) nonprofit organization. Originally, the Society was organized as an LLC which is short for “Limited Liability Corporation”. It was believed at the time of the LLC incorporation that the Society would be capable of generating a profit so that it could be self-sustaining. Unfortunately, despite our efforts to make a profit, it became clear that we could not do so and that it would be more beneficial to incorporate as a 501 c (3) nonprofit.
Nonprofits are eligible for benefits that do not apply to for-profit organizations. We do a lot of work, educational and otherwise, for the public good. When an organization, such as ours, is working for more than profit, it is time to consider whether a change in status to meet those important public goals is merited. As such, the decision was made to become a nonprofit. Here are some of the considerations that went into our decision:
- Tax-Exempt Status: A nonprofit qualifies for special favorable tax status. A non profit is exempt from federal, state and local taxes. This tax-exemption allows organizations to use more of their financial resources on accomplishing their goals. Tax exempt status also allows us to better reward individuals donating their time.
- Limited Liability: A non profit organization limits personal liability; the members of the nonprofit receive protection from personal liability. For instance, if a legal judgment exceeds what the nonprofit can pay, the claimant won’t be able to collect the remainder from the organization’s members. Unless a director or an officer causes some kind of harm or fraudulent activity, he/she cannot be held personally liable.
- Grants: The most important goal for any historical study-based entity is the benefit that a nonprofit is eligible for government and private sector grants and the fact that it can receive non taxable contributions from individuals. Despite the extensive application process, a grant is hugely helpful in both site study and in publication of important historical, scientific or educational information.
Founders are Kept Separate from the Organization: In case there is a lawsuit, fine, debt, or similar legal matter involved with the organization, the personal assets of the individual founders are clearly kept separate from the business structure. Board members and employees of a non-profit organization receive similar protections. The only issue that pierces this shield is if the individual in question acts unethically or illegally.
- Allows You to Make a Positive Difference to Society: Working in a for-profit business may mean just a paycheck for some individuals. However, most individuals who are a part of a nonprofit want to make a difference and contribute to society. When the goal of an organization is to make society better and to aid in education and preservation of history, it makes sense that non profit status is obtained to further those goals.
- Motivation and Leadership: People working for nonprofits claim to feel motivated throughout their work because they feel like their contribution is treasured. Since they generally work for the betterment of society, they gain a sense of satisfaction which motivates them to further keep contributing. We hope to continue to attract and maintain leaders and experts by shifting to non profit status.
We had our first organizational meeting today. We are establishing a new set of priorities and along with that a new organizational strategy. In addition to a formal Board of Directors we will be creating an Advisory Board. All of this takes time of course. But we are moving forward and will be providing more information regarding our internal structure in a future post.
Ben Costello, President, 1715 Fleet Society, Inc.