Juanita Smith By Cora Jackson-FossettSentinel Religion Editor
If your church or ministry needs to acquire their 501c3 non-profit exempt statusor would like to start a community development corporation (CDC), then JuanitaSmith can assist with the process.As the founder of Visualizations, Smith has helped more than 300 faith-basedclients in attaining their 501c3 exemption status, thus making them eligible fortax exemptions, federal grants, and other funding."My company will aid churches individuals, organizations and ministries withdeveloping their vision whether it's establishing an outreach ministry, aneconomic development corporation (EDC) or obtaining a 501c3 Determinationletter," said Smith.
"Visualizations adopt you into our family. We walk you through the process andkeep you informed by communicating to you where we are with your project on aconstant basis every step of the way. We become the liaison between you and allof the legal entities that are pertinent and are associated with the developmentof your vision. Your vision becomes our mission."Smith said many churches believe that since they are grandfathered in as aNonprofit Corporations when they are incorporated with the Secretary of State,no further proof of their exempt status is needed."However, when they begin to solicit funding for their ministry, they will findthat funders require that the church has their 501c3 Determination letter beforethey will consider the application," explained Smith. "My company will assistthem with acquiring this critical component."Visualizations also provides additional services such as assist the churcheswith acquiring State exemption, providing resources to locate the right grant tosecure funding, updating By-Laws based on current IRS rules, establishing loveofferings for pastors the legal way."We also conduct workshops and seminars on grant writing, maintaining yournonprofit corporation, creating a board of directors, and fundraisingstrategies," added Smith. "Through Visualizations, you can learn to brand yourfaith-based corporation with minimal expense or to restore your non-profit inthe case of suspension."In addition, a church or ministry does not need a large membership to establisha CDC or EDC, but as with any nonprofit corporation, Smith said there should bea president, secretary and chief financial officer.Although there are many advantages to starting a 501c3, some faith-based groupsare reluctant to have one. According to Smith, "I believe it's because theysimply do not believe they can find funding to a help them further their causeor they do not know where to begin or where to start. Additionally, cost isalways a factor; however, my company only charges a small fee and offers apayment plan."Her founding of Visualizations was a result of Smith's own spiritualexperience. In 1998, God inspired her to start an outreach ministry to helpthose in need of food, clothing or shelter. But, she had no money for anattorney to assist her with the process."Then I decided that if God gave me the vision, He would also provide theresources to make it come to fruition and He did just that. "I began to read and study all of the legal documents that were required todevelop a non-profit and any type of corporation. With God's help and mydetermination, I have been successful in not only acquiring funding, butestablishing two non-profit corporations entitled All Faith Outreach Servicesand Visualizations Foundation, which is a spin-off of Visualizations," shesaid. Two of Smith's most recent success stories come from assisting Rev. Dr. ShermanA. Gordon with establishing his new ministry, Family of Faith Christian Center,and acquiring exemption status for Sherman Gordon Ministries where she serves asExecutive Director for both ministries."Also, I assisted Dr. R.A. Williams, pastor of the McCoy Memorial Baptist Churchand founder of the WHW Conference, with developing his 'Preaching is my BusinessConference' by acquiring its exemption status and the R.A. William Ministries501c3 Nonprofit Corporations," said Smith. Yet, Smith credits God with her company's success. "It has been my faith thathas brought me thus far and Christ is at the helm. Without Him, none of thiswould have been possible."For more information, email
visit Website: www.visions501c3.org and you may also call (562) 964-4293.