A LETTER FROM KRISTIAN FENDERSON ABOUT THE ACWORTH COMMUNITY
Dear Fellow Acworthians,
As some of you may already know there is a new and exciting addition to Acworth’s many venerable organizations: The Acworth Community Charitable Trust. As Chair of this new organization I would like to express the Trust’s thanks to The Acworthian for giving us an opportunity to share details as to who we are, how we arose, and what purposes we hope to serve.
Kristian Fenderson presiding over a Charitable Trust meeting.
Thus it was that the idea began to form in my mind for a fully independent, locally directed, charity in Acworth, not associated with any town or religious organization or single purpose, but able to work flexibly with them and others for multiple purposes. In 2006 I broached the subject with several friends and solicited their opinions, and in early January 2007 we assembled a like minded group of people to explore the possibilities of forming a trust.
From the outset one of our goals was to expand local charitable activity and partner with the well established nonprofit organizations in town. To that end, we met early on with representatives of the Church, the Historical Society, the Library, the Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company and the Cold Pond Community Land Trust. Everyone was gracious and generally supportive of our vision. We also met with Lisa Foley of the NH Charitable Foundation to see if there were good options for operating under their umbrella. On learning that locally advised funds had to start with at least $25,000, the working group agreed to pursue forming our own 501c3 (a charitable, tax exempt organization). We set April 1 as the date for presenting our ideas to the public and fielding their questions. Publicity was released to local papers, The Acworthian, The Acworth Community Newsletter and through posters. We also contacted an array of local folk directly so as to encourage broad involvement. A small but enthusiastic group met at Town Hall that day and agreed to press on with the work of drafting bylaws and pursuing steps to bring the trust into being.
Beginning with a meeting on April 29, 2007 the group met every 2-3 weeks to work on bylaws and a mission statement for the Trust. On September 21, 2007 the Acworth Community Charitable Trust became a registered nonprofit corporation when our Articles of Agreement were filed with the NH Secretary of State’s office. On September 30, 2007, after local posting to the community, I moderated the inaugural membership meeting at Town Hall. Twenty-six dues paying members adopted the Mission Statement and elected a Board of Directors, comprised of Guy Russell, Stella Herpel, Wes Marple, Debby Hinman, Olga Bassinne, Carolyn Jerard, Betsy Snider and myself.
The remainder of 2007 and much of 2008 were spent refining our bylaws and developing the forms needed to submit to the Internal Revenue Service to gain 501(c)(3) status. We benefited greatly from generous advice from the Attorney General’s office, and from the wide variety of talents and perspectives the Board brought to the task. We were amazed at how much fun we had working together on such nit-picky stuff! Finally in July we mailed in our application and waited.
We envision the Trust as a fully independent, locally directed, enduring institution in Acworth that will both address and transcend particular immediate needs. Copies of our Mission Statement and By-Laws are available at the Acworth Silsby Library, or by clicking here. As a public charity, the Trust’s original documents and records are available from the IRS and the office of the NH Attorney General, Charitable Trusts Unit, for public scrutiny.
In times of great economic uncertainty such as today, it is all too easy to focus on immediate problems and restraints. We hope and encourage everyone to take a much longer view and have the imagination to think of the potential beneficial effects this organization will have on the lives of Acworth residents a hundred years or more hence.
To these ends we ask for your support in the way of gifts and memorial donations to the trust, including us in your estate planning and joining us in our vision for the future. We sincerely welcome any questions, comments, suggestions, and community participation
Kris Fenderson, Chair
Acworth Community Charitable Trust
Further information contact Kristian firstname.lastname@example.org 835-6748 or
Stella Herpel at email@example.com 835-2925