CHAMPAIGN — C-U at Home is now an official tax-exempt charity, its Executive Director Melany Jackson says.
The organization, which houses Champaign-Urbana's most vulnerable homeless, was notified by the Internal Revenue Service on Thursday that it's been approved as a 501(c)(3) charity.
"This is a game-changer for us," Jackson said.
The IRS made C-U at Home's charitable status retroactive to its incorporation date of May 11, 2012, she said, but that won't make a difference to past donors.
C-U at Home has been permitted to accept tax-deductible donations under the wings of the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois, which has been controlling its finances.
Jackson said she notified the Community Foundation's president and CEO, Joan Dixon, about releasing C-U at Home's funds, and that will be approved by foundation board action.
Dixon said C-U at Home had been requesting disbursements on a monthly basis, and there was already one in progress for a board meeting next week.
"We're going to take a month to cross our "T's" and dot our "I's," she said.
Any donations that come to the foundation on C-U at Home's behalf in the interim will be forwarded to the organization, she said.
Being a charity in its own right will allow C-U at Home to hire employees and accept donated properties, both of which will allow the organization to move forward with its goals, Jackson said.
C-U at Home hopes to earn enough through its One Summer Day fundraiser set for June 29 in Champaign's Hessel Park to hire a case manager to work with the formerly homeless clients being housed.
C-U at Home also has a pending donation of a house it's been waiting to accept. Its other four houses are rental properties.
C-U at Home had five vulnerable homeless people in homes until recently, and it is currently housing three people, Jackson said. One of the five had legal issues, and one returned to the street.
The organization has been discussing housing its first female homeless person, she said.
More information on the C-U at Home fundraiser is at http://www.cuathome.us.