This project is complete!

This project has been completed thanks to the efforts of our volunteers.

Visit the Project Directory to check out other projects that still need your help!

Democracy Policy Network

New 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Compliance, 501(h) Election Review, and 501c(4) Forms 1023 and 8976

Support us as we ensure our 501(c)(3) activites are compliant and help set up our 501(c)(4)

Posted May 6, 2021

Background & Context

We have two compliance questions: (1) We have yet to file our 2018 990-EZ for FY19, which covers our first three months of operation (March-June 2019), because we thought our first 990 would be needed for our first full-year of operation. DPN’s books run on a July-June timeline. We filed our 2019 990-N for FY20 in early November — within the deadline set by the IRS; we have several questions about our 990-EZ form we'd like help on; (2) we need guidance on how we can and can't engage with organizations that provide support to candidates running for office (e.g., political vendors, cooperatives, PACs) and candidates themselves running for office. For example, we get asked all the time by candidates and organizations who provide fundraising and campaigning support to candidates to educate them on our policies resources.And we have one incorporation question: we incorporated our 501(c)4 in Washington, DC in 2019 but have not completed our Form 1023 and Form 8976. We didn't expect to "lobby" any elected officials within our first few years of operation, but now we have questions about how to file the late Form 8976 and Form 1023 since we've technically been "incorporated but inactive" for the past year and a half.

Work & Deliverables

As an interstate policy network focused on deepening democracy, we need guidance either in written form or via a phone conversation on two IRS compliance matters.

Project Plan

Preparation Phase

  • Intro call with COO of organization
  • Review of all materials and questions

Collaboration Phase

  • Assessment of 990 complaince and Forms 1023 and 8976 issues and next steps
  • Guidance on how to engage with politican candidates and organizations that support candidates

Wrap Up

  • Deliver final advice in written form or via phone call

This project is complete!

This project has been completed thanks to the efforts of our volunteers.

Visit the Project Directory to check out other projects that still need your help!

Additional Information

  • Time Commitment: 6-10 hours
  • Training Provided: Yes
  • Additional Training Details: We have all of our 990, 1023, and 8976 materials organized and ready to review, with context and questions prepared.
  • Site-Preference: Remote
  • Open to Law Students: No
  • Bar License(s) required: Any Bar License
  • Required Languages: None
  • Required Legal Expertise: Administrative Law, Good Government, Political Law, Tax-Exempt Organizations, Tax Law
  • Mentoring Provided: No
  • Supervision Provided: Yes
Democracy Policy Network

The Democracy Policy Network (DPN) is a new 501(c)(3) interstate organization campaigning to deepen democracy in statehouses across America so that everyone, everywhere is able to participate fully in the American democratic project. By organizing an army of policy researchers and experts from across the country alongside the next generation of bold statehouse leaders, DPN empowers people to assemble and champion a transformative, deep-dive policy agenda spanning every state issue. DPN works to respond to the multiple crises facing American democracy. As the COVID-19 crisis has starkly shown, the American political structure is in need of transformative change. Particularly, our structure, as it's currently arranged: erodes community connections; overly relies on the market for solving public problems; excludes most Americans from civic participation; fails to take seriously existential threats like climate change; and unnecessarily marginalizes millions of Americans (through health insecurity, housing insecurity, and mass incarceration). We need to respond to the crisis by deepening democracy: strengthening citizens and communities so they can fully participate in the American project; opening up power in our government and our economy to the participation of the people; and breaking down barriers so that our democratic promise can include every American. Without concrete policy alternatives that deepen democracy — and people ready to champion them — our democratic crisis is at risk of only worsening. Fortunately, ideas for deepening democracy are everywhere — from public banks in California to prison voting in DC, from democracy vouchers in Seattle to green co-ops in Cleveland — but they are disorganized and quarantined from one another: they exist only in one city or state or they’re stuck inside academic journals and white papers. In order to be useful to the movement, they need to be organized, fleshed out, and made accessible to every leader, in every state — America’s laboratories for democracy. DPN’s goal is to cohere those ideas into an organized agenda and amplify them through statehouse leaders by educating them on our policy resources. Statehouse leaders — legislators, staff, and advocates — are effective advocates for these ideas because their constituents often take their political cues from them and historically they are our nation’s “first-adopters” of transformative ideas (e.g., marriage equality, marijuana decriminalization, women’s suffrage, abolition). Two programs achieve this goal: our Policy Organizer program trains policy organizers to gather, package, organize and amplify policy kits — deep-dive, comprehensive resources about transformative ideas that deepen democracy — so that the movement’s ideas are made accessible; and our Statehouse Leadership program educates state legislators, staff, and advocates on our policy kits so that the movements ideas are amplified to more states in more ways.

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