By Tom McCarter, Board Director, MML, Western Region
You may still be unaware that MDI now has its own 501c3 nonprofit called “Mentoring Men to Lead” (MML). What that means is that people can now donate money to MML and take a deduction on their taxes. MML can then provide grants for the various special community projects that men in MDI are engaged in. People can also donate money to MML for specific projects and take a write-off and MML will then give that money to the project.
At present, we are in the early stages. It took several years for a committee of men led by Brian Childers to jump through the hoops the IRS requires to become a certified 501c3 nonprofit. A Board of Directors has been formed. We are fortunate to have brought on Steve Honyotski from the New England Region to be our Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Steve was CFO for MDI for several years and reorganized our financial system so that it works and is legal within the eyes of the IRS. He also steered us through an audit. Unlike several other nonprofits, none of the money raised will go to salaries, with the exception of the CFO.
We are now starting to put the procedures in place so that we can serve the men better. Currently, we can be a place for people to donate money for specific projects. MML will take 5 percent administrative fee and give the rest to the project. Another advantage to this is that men in MDI often take on projects that do not have 501c3 status, and now people will be able to donate to these projects through MML and take a tax deduction. For instance, the Western Region puts on an annual event called Operation ELF that make Christmas happen for families that cannot afford it. Men in the Atlanta Region have gone down to Louisiana to help people rebuild from Hurricane Katrina. In the New York Region, men have raised money to open a summer camp for foster children. David Ostercy, one of MML’s board directors, has been leading teams to Staten Island to help homeowners rebuild from Hurricane Sandy. All this has been done without the benefit of a tax deduction. So imagine what we could be up to now that we have the ability to give people the tax write-off with their donation! I guarantee you there are similar projects being performed by our men in every Region in MDI, including our efforts to end abuse.
These projects give our men an opportunity to live their higher purpose and serve their communities while exercising the lessons and tools they learned in our leadership trainings.
So now you are probably thinking, “That’s great, but what can I do?” Here’s where you come in: the Board plans to go after corporate sponsorship, but first we need to raise money to show the corporations we are a viable organization. We plan to raise $100,000 to start. You can donate directly. You can hold fundraisers. You can be your division representative for MML. We are building a team of fundraisers throughout the organization. Where do you want to play?
With $100,000 in place, the Board is confident we will be able to approach corporations to increase our fund to 10 times that. MDI’s mission is “to cause greatness by mentoring men to live with excellence…” How much greatness could we produce with $1,000,000? Once our procedures are in place, we will be able to provide grants for projects. We should be able to do this by 2014.
Up until now, MML has been a committee of men meeting once a month, moving the dream forward. Now, we are all Mentoring Men to Lead, working together to create the world we have always wanted to live in.