By Cora Jackson-Fossett
Sentinel Religion Editor
If your church or ministry needs to acquire their 501c3 non-profit exempt status
or would like to start a community development corporation (CDC), then Juanita
Smith can assist with the process.
As the founder of Visualizations, Smith has helped more than 300 faith-based
clients in attaining their 501c3 exemption status, thus making them eligible for
tax exemptions, federal grants, and other funding.
“My company will aid churches individuals, organizations and ministries with
developing their vision whether it’s establishing an outreach ministry, an
economic development corporation (EDC) or obtaining a 501c3 Determination
letter,” said Smith.
“Visualizations adopt you into our family. We walk you through the process and
keep you informed by communicating to you where we are with your project on a
constant basis every step of the way. We become the liaison between you and all
of the legal entities that are pertinent and are associated with the development
of your vision. Your vision becomes our mission.”
Smith said many churches believe that since they are grandfathered in as a
Nonprofit 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 find
that funders require that the church has their 501c3 Determination letter before
they will consider the application,” explained Smith. “My company will assist
them with acquiring this critical component.”
Visualizations also provides additional services such as assist the churches
with acquiring State exemption, providing resources to locate the right grant to
secure funding, updating By-Laws based on current IRS rules, establishing love
offerings for pastors the legal way.
“We also conduct workshops and seminars on grant writing, maintaining your
nonprofit corporation, creating a board of directors, and fundraising
strategies,” added Smith. “Through Visualizations, you can learn to brand your
faith-based corporation with minimal expense or to restore your non-profit in
the case of suspension.”
In addition, a church or ministry does not need a large membership to establish
a CDC or EDC, but as with any nonprofit corporation, Smith said there should be
a president, secretary and chief financial officer.
Although there are many advantages to starting a 501c3, some faith-based groups
are reluctant to have one. According to Smith, “I believe it’s because they
simply do not believe they can find funding to a help them further their cause
or they do not know where to begin or where to start. Additionally, cost is
always a factor; however, my company only charges a small fee and offers a
Her founding of Visualizations was a result of Smith’s own spiritual
experience. In 1998, God inspired her to start an outreach ministry to help
those in need of food, clothing or shelter. But, she had no money for an
attorney to assist her with the process.
“Then I decided that if God gave me the vision, He would also provide the
resources 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 to
develop a non-profit and any type of corporation. With God’s help and my
determination, I have been successful in not only acquiring funding, but
establishing two non-profit corporations entitled All Faith Outreach Services
and Visualizations Foundation, which is a spin-off of Visualizations,” she
Two of Smith’s most recent success stories come from assisting Rev. Dr. Sherman
A. Gordon with establishing his new ministry, Family of Faith Christian Center,
and acquiring exemption status for Sherman Gordon Ministries where she serves as
Executive Director for both ministries.
“Also, I assisted Dr. R.A. Williams, pastor of the McCoy Memorial Baptist Church
and founder of the WHW Conference, with developing his ‘Preaching is my Business
Conference’ by acquiring its exemption status and the R.A. William Ministries
501c3 Nonprofit Corporations,” said Smith.
Yet, Smith credits God with her company’s success. “It has been my faith that
has brought me thus far and Christ is at the helm. Without Him, none of this
would have been possible.”
For more information, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or
visit Website: www.visions501c3.org and you may also call (562) 964-4293.