Tuesday, April 10, 2012

How to Start a Nonprofit Organization

I don't do a lot of Q&A on this blog, but sometimes a kindred spirit e-mails me a question that feels relevant to a wider audience, like this one:

I'm trying to start an Edible Schoolyard program in my home town that will use gardening education to teach the students about healthy eating and sustainable living. I thought you'd be a good person to ask advice from.

Do you have any experience with this type of program, especially through Montessori? Have you come across research for or against something like this? Do you have any resources that would help me with the logistics of leading a start up like this?
First, I love programs like this! In Houston, we had Urban Harvest that worked with schools to set up gardening programs. They were expensive and we couldn't afford to use them every year, but we enjoyed working with them when we could afford it. There's also a program in Houston that involves cooking in the schools. I think a gardening-cooking nonprofit would be an amazing combination. Kids really do like healthy food when they plant, harvest, and cook it. My students loved our salad party and making sweet potato French fries.

The reason I wanted to answer this question for everyone was because of the last part. Do I know any resources that would help with the logistics of leading a nonprofit like this?

Why, yes I do. I am in the middle of applying for 501(c)(3) status to become a tax-exempt nonprofit, and it was an incredibly daunting and overwhelming process until I found this book:

How to Start a Nonprofit Corporation

So there you go. Get your hands on it. It will simplify the process a ton and make you feel like you can conquer the world (or at least start up a nonprofit that can do some good for the world!).

I wish you the best of luck. As Mary Oliver says, "Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?" I hope you find your answer in this awesome new endeavor!

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1 comment:

Amy Harrison said...

I don't think I could love you more.

Thank you for your support & ever-oozing brain of knowledge that finds its way to the right places every time!

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