Getting word that Community Inclusions Ltd. is now a registered charity was a great feeling, says the organization’s executive director.
“It was worth the wait,” said Kevin Porter. “It was worth the effort.”
The non-profit organization can now issue tax receipts to anyone who makes a donation.
Mr Porter said they’ve had incidents in the past where groups wanted to donate to Community Inclusions, but couldn’t because they required a tax receipt.
“For some people it doesn’t matter, but for a lot of people it does,” explained Mr Porter. “It’s important for them to get that tax receipt for their accounting, for their bookkeeping. I think having that and the ability to tell people yes we are a charity and if you are interested in donating to a group that works with people with special needs or you have a loved one, or relative, they can do that now.”
Community Inclusions provides supports to adults aged 18-65 with intellectual disabilities. Those supports range from residential, employment, supportive and recreational.
To receive registered charity status, an application has to be filed with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Community Inclusions has attempted twice in the past to receive the status without success.
The difference this time was getting funding from PEI’s Department of Social Development and Housing that allowed the organization to hire a consultant who could tackle the application process full-time, with Mr Porter and Community Inclusions’ board of directors working along side.
They started the process early 2019 and just received word in August they were granted registered charity status.
“It was great because we put a lot of time and effort into this over the years,” said Mr Porter. “It just goes to show you, if you have the patience and persevere, and you’re willing to work for things out, work with, in this case the CRA, the province and that extra help that we received, we got the job done.”
In order to be successful, Community Inclusions had to update their bylaws.
“Basically, what they recommended, we did,” said Mr Porter. “We had to tweak our bylaws and our schedule of activities to better suit the wording the CRA was looking for. That’s what it took in the end.”
However, the COVID-19 pandemic did throw a ‘monkey-wrench’ into the process.
“Everything was shutdown and we didn’t know for awhile what would happen,” said Mr Porter.
Eventually, the organization was able to connect with the CRA through their 1-800 number and was able to continue the process, with an extension to their application deadline.
Mr Porter said the registered charity status gives Community Inclusions an added creditability.
“It’s a piece to our financial picture,” said Mr Porter. “I think it’s a combination of streams of funding coming in that will help Community Inclusions stay afloat. Which is great because it helps us to fulfil our mandate.”