So Close

June 16, 2009

Today was to be THE day. The day I finally put the IRS Form 1023, all our supplemental materials, and the check for the application fee in the mail.

I’d been rigorous. I’d double-checked and then double-checked again. I’d matched the organization of the papers to the highly specific IRS requirements. Everything was in order. 

I made a photocopy of the entire application. I was at Henderson’s on NW Second Street. I love this place. Three women. Fabulous service. Great prices and a deal for nonprofits. I was getting ready to sign for our account charge.

“I never remember how to spell your name,” the woman behind the counter said (terrible I don’t know her name.) 

“Isis Initiative; it’s here,” I said, as I pointed to the top page of our bylaws. 

I put my finger under the all-caps name on the header of our bylaws: ISIS INTIATIVE. 

I put my finger on it, alright. A spelling error. In our name. On the top of our bylaws. Below, in the first mention in the text below, the lower-case version is spelled correctly: Isis Initiative.

I withered. These are the bylaws my lawyer’s staff had prepared. The bylaws we’ve had since last October. The bylaws that our board members and a number of friends have all had eyes on. Heck, I’ve looked at them I don’t know how many times.

Good news. I caught the error before I submitted our application. One obvious concern: the application becomes public record; it would be egregious to have such a blatant mistake, particularly given three of the four board members are career journalists.

Another concern: the IRS states that the corporation’s name must be exactly as it appears on its Articles of Incorporation. It might not have been a serious enough mistake to have them return the document, but…it was enough for me to change my plans.

Instead of heading to the post office, I went straight to my lawyer’s office two blocks away. I love downtown Corvallis.

Ashley fixed the typo pronto. Justin, our lawyer, said that spell check doesn’t catch errors in all-caps text. A hint to the wise.

I now have a flawless version of the bylaws.

Tomorrow, June 17, will be THE day. Really!

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