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DHS PRIDE

LGBTQ+ DHS Pride 501c(3)Reinstatement

To cement growth, we need to take the next step in formalizing our practices in a way that can serve as a launchpad for greater outreach and durability.

Posted August 24, 2020

Background & Context

DHS Pride was highly active in its first few years, often hosting large social networking events and Pride Month celebrations for the Departments large and widespread workforce. It received 501c3 nonprofit status through the State of Maryland in 2012 and had several hundred active members. Unfortunately, however, the organization went dormant late in 2016 due to personal considerations of the then President and Vice-President. In early 2019, two remaining Board Members began meeting with the intent of revitalizing the group. It was soon discovered, however, that all prior governance documents had been lost when the Board’s last leadership left federal service. All access to emails, social media accounts, public-facing websites, past practices and deliberations, monetary accounts, and membership rosters were lost. The two remaining board members spent several months trying to piece the information back together, and was able to reestablish access to the group’s email account and social media sites. They were also able to verify the accuracy of approximately one third of the original members. With this information, they then began rejuvenating activities, focused primarily on member engagement to bring back momentum. In the Fall of 2019, the group membership had double in size and a vote was held to elect a new Board of Governors. The board has drastically increased activities, engaging members and forming more active professional relationships with the Department’s Diversity and Inclusion professional. The rate of growth continues to accelerate, and we are extraordinarily grateful for the opportunity to increasingly support the Department’s LGBT+ workforce and make our workplace more welcoming to such employees. We have since established two chapters within DHS Pride – one for members located in the Kansas City area, and a second specific to the considerations of those within the Department working in the intelligence community.

Immediate Problem

As we continue to mature and grow, however, one major obstacle remains: fundraising to support these efforts. Late in 2019, the newly elected Treasurer discovered that the organization had ceased to be in good standing with the State of Maryland, and the status as a 501c3 had subsequently lapsed. To pay off the back-fines, the organization would need to raise approximately $1,800. We are currently about halfway to that goal, and plan on submitting paperwork this year to rectify our compliance with the State of Maryland. We do, however, need help in two specific areas related to501c2 status, and are looking for pro bono assistance to help us cement the progress made thus far. 1. Once we renew our standing, what practices do we need to incorporate to ensure continued compliance? (filing requirements, keeping of receipts, allowed expindutures, etc.)? 2. Now that we have chapters, how does 501c3 status intersect their operations? May they raise funds separate from the non-profit designation? If raised through this designation, how do we logistically structure activities to facilitate operations while simplifying filing requirements

Work & Deliverables

Guidance and or action (if able) to help us with 501c(3)Reinstatement, IRS EIN Number, establish financial infrastructure for national chapters. One complicating factor for all of our activities, but especially fundraising, is our nexus to the federal government: while independent of the Department, we are officially sanctioned by them and must comply with additional ethics regulations. It has proven difficult to find consul in navigating these two distinct realms: that of a non-profit organization, and one also obligated to adhere to the higher and stricter standards of federal employees.
Project Plan

Preparation Phase

Details to be provided at a later date

Collaboration Phase

Details to be provided at a later date

Wrap Up

  • 501 status is back up in good standing. We have guidance regarding Chapters

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: 21+ hours
  • Training Provided: Yes
  • Additional Training Details: We will provide them will all the docs that we have regarding out issues.
  • Site-Preference: Remote
  • Open to Law Students: No
  • Additional Location Details: zoom, webex, teleconference
  • Bar License(s) required: District of Columbia, Maryland
  • Required Languages: None
  • Mentoring Provided: No
  • Supervision Provided: Yes
DHS PRIDE

DHS Pride was founded in 2009 as the Department of Homeland Security’s first officially sanctioned employee association, and strives to achieve the following goals: • To identify and address issues particularly affecting gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender employees of the Department; • To support the Department in the development and implementation of effective policies and practices for the elimination of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in all Departmental activities; and • To serve as a resource and point of contact for its members, for those seeking or considering employment with the Department, and for other interested individuals or groups. DHS Pride was highly active in its first few years, often hosting large social networking events and Pride Month celebrations for the Departments large and widespread workforce. It received 501c3 nonprofit status through the State of Maryland in 2012 and had several hundred active members.

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