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News Briefs: Oakland LGBTQ center gets nonprofit status

by Cynthia Laird

The Oakland LGBTQ Community Center has received its tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service. Photo: Courtesy Oakland LGBTQ Community Center
The Oakland LGBTQ Community Center has received its tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service. Photo: Courtesy Oakland LGBTQ Community Center  

The Oakland LGBTQ Community Center has announced that it has received its nonprofit status from the Internal Revenue Service.

Executive Director Joe Hawkins wrote in a February 22 email to supporters "we finally have our 501(c)(3) designation letter."

He said that center co-founder and board president Jeff Myers called him with the news.

"I jumped for joy!" Hawkins exclaimed in the email. "We were desperately waiting for this document."

Although the center has been incorporated as a nonprofit since June 2017, it can take months to get the formal document from the IRS.

Hawkins said that the document means that all donations are tax-deductible, and that is retroactive to the incorporation date, which for the center is last June.

"Now, any IRA authorized donation received since June of last year can be written off by our donors," Hawkins stated.

There are a number of other benefits, Hawkins said, including the ability for the center to apply for grants and other public or private dollars available only to IRS-registered 501(c)(3) organizations.

In other recent news, Hawkins reported that the center's call to start a library has been successful; over 240 books are now in bookcases at the center.

"The shelves have been categorized and community members are donating books and making our dream of an ethnically diverse, inclusive, LGBTQ literary-narrative space, inside the center, a reality," he said.

The center is located at 3207 Lakeshore Avenue (entrance on Rand Avenue). For more information, or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit https://www.oaklandlgbtqcenter.org/.

Lambda Legal reception in Redwood City
Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund will have a happy hour reception for members and interested people Thursday (March 1) from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at CRU, 900B Middlefield Road in Redwood City.

Organizers said the event is an opportunity to meet new people and get an update on Lambda Legal cases that affect the LGBT community.

Breast Cancer Action benefit
Breast Cancer Action will hold its sixth annual "Acting Out - For the Health of It" variety show and fundraiser Thursday, March 15, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th Street in San Francisco.

There will be a VIP reception from 6 to 7 where attendees will be treated to an exclusive musical performance.

Organizers said the evening will be filled with performers who share a commitment to health justice. Bay Area musicians, comedians, and dancers will entertain the audience, and there will be readings from BCA members.

Luna Malbroux will emcee the event. A comedian and writer, Malbroux created EquiTable, an app that made headlines for satirically solving the wage gap and providing "reparations, one meal at a time." Her satirical play, "How to Be a White Man," will have its second run in San Francisco beginning March 16.

Featured performers include Aireene Espiritu, Kelly Anneken, San Francisco's Mad Mama and Bone Fide Few, and Caelyn Casanova.

The program will feature an intermission with a concession stand featuring snacks and beverages available for purchase and a silent auction with unique dining, fitness, and retail experience packages.

Tickets are $35 general admission, or $85 to add the VIP reception. For tickets or more information, visit http://bcaction.nonprofitsoapbox.com/actingout2018.

Horizons launches nonprofit emergency loan fund
Horizons Foundation has announced its Horizons-Dorian Loan Fund, an emergency go-to center for nonprofit agencies.

In its email newsletter, the foundation said that nonprofits that serve the LGBTQ community can now receive below-market loans to help them improve their services or deal with unplanned emergencies.

The loans, ranging from $10,000 to $50,000, will help organizations that are facing special circumstances like delays in receipt of committed grant funds, mergers, or closures. In some situations, loans may be available for retaining necessary financial expertise, Horizons stated.

Horizons said that it is grateful to the Dorian Fund and to its trustee, Chris Kollaja, "for their generous support of this new fund."

Nonprofits can contact Marc Rand at loans@horizonsfoundation.org to discuss their individual situations and see if a loan is a good fit.

The loan application is available at https://www.horizonsfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Dorian-Loan-Fund-Application.pdf.

AARP offers tax help
The AARP Foundation is providing free tax assistance and preparation through its Tax-Aide program. Now in its 50th year, Tax-Aide is the nation's largest free tax assistance and preparation service. Since its inception, the program has served more than 50 million taxpayers.

Nearly 35,000 volunteers serve low- to moderate-income taxpayers at thousands of locations nationwide. There are many in San Francisco, Oakland, and other Bay Area cities.

Tax-Aide volunteers are trained and IRS-certified each year to ensure they know about and understand the latest changes to the U.S. Tax Code.

To find an AARP Foundation Tax-Aide site or for more information, including which documents to bring to the tax site, visit www.aarpfoundation.org/taxaide or call 1-888-227-7669.

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is offered in conjunction with the IRS.

SF elections department seeks polling places
The San Francisco Department of Elections is seeking polling places in several neighborhoods for the upcoming June 5 primary election.

Officials said that the department will provide 583 polling places and it has already secured 516.

Polling spaces must be well-lit, wheelchair accessible, and 300 square feet or larger.

The department works with public institutions such as firehouses, schools, and community centers for polling places, and many will be utilized in June. Additionally, officials try to maintain the same polling stations for every election. Legal requirements, availability issues, and other factors may make some places unavailable, and when that happens, the department carefully considers a list of criteria for choosing a new location.

For specific areas where polling places are being sought, visit www.sfelections.org/tools/map_pollsite/.

Those interested in providing a public or private space that might be suitable to accommodate voters can contact the elections department at elections.precinct@sfgov.org or (415) 554-4551.

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