Christy Smith has always been a devout Christian and supporter of America’s armed forces, however inspiration struck her at an unexpected place. In 2008, Christy attended at a Harley Davidson meeting when she volunteered to send soldier care packages overseas. BR Soldier Outreach was formed in 2008 to send care packages to active-duty soldiers overseas four times per year. With various drop-off locations, they accept all sorts of donations such as candy, toiletries, and snacks. As the program began to grow, Harley was a huge supporter by providing postage costs, packaging location, and more. In 2011, they started raising money on their own through the Temple Baptist Church. They were able to start paying for their own postage. Finally, they gained 501(c)(3) status and officially became a “tax-exempt” nonprofit corporation.
Christy is Inspired by, “ the freedom of what they [soldiers] give up for us” and her father’s service in the United Air Force. She made it her goal to get these soldiers the resources and gifts they need. About 90% of the soldiers are ages 18-21. She says she does this so that she can see those young faces out there fighting for our nation. After gaining 501(c)(3) status with help from us at ExemptMeNow, BR Soldier Outreach was able to get many more sponsors including Gorilla Dave, which does custom detailing on motorcycles. With these sponsors, they have been able to expand donation locations as well as raise more money for postage costs. Their goals are to keep expanding their donation locations to at least 25, and hopefully more, locations. They are also working on expanding their marketing material, such as posters to bring more awareness of the organization around Baton Rouge.
Christy heard about ExemptMeNow through her daughter’s organization Magic Happens Rabbit Rescue, who found us on Facebook. They have utilized our New Incorporation, Tax Exemption, Registered Agent, and Compliance services. Christy has loved working with Allie, our Administrative Support Services Associate, on creating their organization.
Christy’s biggest piece of advice is to become a 501(c)(3) organization because it opens up your organization to so many different opportunities and allows for more sponsors.
To learn more about BR Soldier Outreach, check out their Facebook page. To get started on your own nonprofit, check us out at our website. To learn more about starting a nonprofit check out our blog, “The difference between a 501c3 and a 1023”.