Today, we are excited to announce that Rainbow Street is now recognized as a full-fledged 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit.
Just over two years ago, in November of 2013, Rainbow Street began. At that point it wasn't called Rainbow Street, and we didn't really know what it would become. What we did know is that our friend was homeless, scared, and needed help, and we knew that the plight of LGBT people living in the Arab World extended far beyond a single person. Their needs were immediate, far-reaching, and close to our hearts. So we organized.
We engaged with LGBT leaders in Jordan, asking "What do you need? How can we, a world away, empower you?" We learned about underground communities of LGBT individuals and activists who are struggling to survive and be seen. We learned that a lack of legal condemnation doesn't mean a lack of persecution. We learned of the enormous need of basic living assistance for LGBT people who were living in the shadows, on the fringe of society, on the verge of demise. And so Rainbow Street was born.
We're excited that our new tax exemption status will allow us to expand our operations to address the short-term and long-term needs of LGBT people living in crisis in the Arab World.
Now, what does that mean for Rainbow Street and our supporters like you?
1) Going forward, all donations made to Rainbow Street are fully tax-deductible.
The same goes for any donations you've made directly to Rainbow Street since our official founding on March 10, 2014. Rainbow Street will be sending you a summary of your contributions in early 2016. In the meantime, we welcome your questions, which can be directed to email@example.com.
2) Your donations will no longer be processed through Rainbow Street's umbrella organization, Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV).
We are so lucky to have partnered with Muslims for Progressive Values as our fiscal sponsor back in February of 2015. We at Rainbow Street are forever grateful for MPV's early belief in our mission and look forward to maintaining a close partnership with MPV as we fight together for global justice.
3) You can expect big things from Rainbow Street in 2016.
Federal tax exemption opens the door to exciting opportunities for Rainbow Street, including new partnerships, gift matching, and grant funding. We won't bore you with the details (yet!), but filling out pages upon pages of IRS paperwork really forced us to examine what we're doing, why we're doing it, and how it will work. We're very excited to develop new ways to connect support from donors like you to vulnerable LGBT people who need it most.
Thank you for paving Rainbow Street with us,
Clara Hill and Kevin Steen
Rainbow Street Co-Founders