By John Quinney, Interim Publisher and President
For several years now, we’ve used two organizations to publish and sustain the paper. Our donors send their tax deductible gifts to Friends of the Charlotte News a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization which in turn, makes grants to The Charlotte News, the organization that publishes the paper.
Here’s the history.
In January of 2001, The Charlotte News was awarded 501(c)4 status by the IRS. We had applied to receive 501(c)3 status, which would have allowed the organization to receive tax deductible donations from the public. However, our application was rejected, because advertising revenues made up most of the paper’s income.
In response, we set up Friends of the Charlotte News as a 501(c)3 organization that helps support the paper through fundraising, promotion and local initiatives. The Friends makes grants to The Charlotte News on a monthly basis to help pay writers, editors and production staff, to purchase new office equipment and to support other business expenses. The Friends of the Charlotte News and The Charlotte News itself are independent organizations, and no officer or director of the Friends has any influence over content published in The News. Those decisions are made by our editor.
This arrangement served our purposes for 20 years, but maintaining two organizations, two boards, two bank accounts, and so on, was a bit cumbersome. So, in November 2019, when The Salt Lake Tribune became the first daily newspaper to be awarded 501(c)3 status by the IRS, we paid attention. In their application, The Tribune was able to show that their survival depended at least as much on donations as it did on advertising.
The story at The Charlotte News is similar. Our advertising revenues now cover about 60% of our needs; the balance comes from community donations.
In October of 2020, recognizing that the IRS was now likely to be more receptive to applications from nonprofit community newspapers, the Board of The Charlotte News created a new organization, TCN, Inc., (doing business as The Charlotte News) and reapplied for the much coveted 501(c)3 status. The time-consuming application was prepared by three people: board member, Vince Crockenberg; our treasurer, Ted LeBlanc; and our attorney, Michael Russell.
In a letter from the IRS dated May 4, we learned that their hard work had been rewarded, and TCN, Inc. was a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
This development allows us to merge the volunteers in the Friends and The News, to create a single board of directors, a slimmed down management team and more efficient accounting and fundraising processes. Your tax deductible donations may now be sent to TCN, Inc., doing business as The Charlotte News.
Rest assured, you will keep getting the paper in your mailbox every two weeks, our weekly e-newsletter in your inboxes, and website posts updated every week. As we have for 63 years, we remain committed to our mission:
- to publish rigorous, in-depth, fair reporting on town affairs, and,
- to source stories of interest from our neighbors and friends.
And The News will continue to provide a forum for the free exchange of the views of Charlotte residents and community volunteers on matters related to the town and the people who live here.
We are deeply grateful to you, our readers, friends, neighbors, volunteers, advertisers and donors, the community that nurtures and sustains The Charlotte News.