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Pipestone Area Friends of the Library Celebrates Group Milestone

The Pipestone Area Friends of the Library organized nearly a decade ago, but only just last year secured full 501(c)3 nonprofit status.

Why the long delay? In short, “tales from other applicants of complicated forms, years of legal wrangling, and major expenses deterred any serious attempts,” explained Deb Brockberg, secretary and treasurer of the group.

For many years, the Friends found that they could get by without formally incorporating. “We registered with the IRS and received an EIN, but that was as far as we got… and really, as far as we needed to go, to maintain our small membership and meet our rather limited objectives.”

Even so, the many advantages of incorporating proved tantalizing. “Basically, 501c3 status would allow us to be more visible in fundraising at all levels,” Brockberg said. “If we took this step, PAFL would qualify for grants that require official nonprofit classification. Applying for other awards would become easier, too.” Furthermore, “we knew we could benefit from book sale income that had been in limbo without proper credentials.”

In 2014, at long last, the Pipestone Area Friends of the Library decided to take that next big step. All in all, “it was not as complicated and drawn out as we had imagined,” Brockberg reported. Although Pipestone’s leaders did encounter some form language hard for laypeople to comprehend, “we had helpful guidance from a hired accountant.”

That cost, and several others, were defrayed by the Minnesota Association of Library Friends (MALF)’s special Goss-Nordley Grant. This fund exists for the express purpose of providing developing Friends groups with much-needed funds to defray costs associated with the incorporation process.

Brockberg and her colleagues highly recommend the Gross-Nordley Grant to other unincorporated Friends groups in Minnesota. “Even including all the normal interruptions of busy schedules, the whole process took us only about ten months! We owe that to our great accountant, and to MALF.”