March 22, 2019 was a day that any non-profit dependent upon their 501c3 status would classify as a "bad day". Five minutes before the scheduled Freedom Center Board meeting, one of the Board members notified the newly appointed CEO, Patrick Colbeck, that she had learned that the IRS had revoked our 501c3 status back on February 15, 2018. Since fundraising is the principle duty of the CEO, this was not a good way to start his tenure...especially when it typically takes as long as two years for non-profits to have their 501c3 tax-exempt status reinstated.
The good news is that the 501c3 status for the Michigan Armed Forces Hospitality Center (aka MI Freedom Center) was reinstated only five weeks after the receipt of the news of March 22...and the reinstatement was retroactive to February 15, 2018. The reinstatement was a result of heavy lifting by the Freedom Center Board Secretary/Treasurer Stephen Ihrig, Kate Hude of Hude Legal Services, Karen Ruth in Congressman John Moolenaar's office, and the new CEO. The reinstatement letter from the IRS can be viewed on the organization's homepage at
as we await the update of the Federal Tax Exempt Organization online database which can take as long as two months.
Throughout this ordeal, the MI Freedom Center learned that we were not alone in our struggle to maintain our 501c3 status. Many non-profits throughout the state have gone through similar trials. In the case of the Freedom Center, the temporary disruption in 501c3 status traces back to a change in fiscal year dates and address changes which were never captured accurately in IRS records and thus created discrepancies with subsequent filings. Minor clerical discrepancies in Form 990 paperwork can have major impacts on non-profit operations. All non-profit organizations are encouraged to use our paperwork tribulations as a reminder to proactively review their filing status with the IRS and state organizations such as Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
In the wake of the 501c3 status reinstatement, the Freedom Center Board has taken steps to mitigate the risk of any recurrence of this issue. In the spirit of being proactive, the Board is pleased to announce the enlistment of the services of the well-respected non-profit CPA firm, Maner Costerisan based in Lansing.
“Maner Costerisan’s mission is to enable others to reach their full potential. We are excited to partner with the Freedom Center on their accounting and compliance needs. By utilizing our expertise and excellent client service in the non-profit area, the Freedom Center should be able to focus on their core mission enabling them to reach their full potential. We find this opportunity as a privilege to be able to support our military personnel and their families.”
Brandy Terwilliger, CPA, Maner Costerisan
The focus of the leadership of the MI Freedom Center now turns to other matters instrumental in the fulfillment of our mission to serve those who serve us. One of the more important tasks we face is that of the fundraising which has been greatly facilitated greatly with the 501c3 reinstatement. Supporters of the Freedom Center are encouraged to help celebrate getting our freedom train back on track by participating in the
3rd Annual Tee It Up for Freedom Golf Outing
on August 2 at the Lake Forest Golf Club in Ann Arbor. A variety of sponsorship opportunities are available. A special challenge coin will be issued to our supporters at the event in commemoration of the military service of the Apollo 11 astronauts. July 20, 1969 will be the 50th anniversary of America fulfilling President Kennedy's challenge to land men on the moon and return them safely home by the end of the decade.
The mission of the Freedom Center volunteers, staff, and board members is to "serve those who serve us" in the military. Now that our government paperwork is back in order and the services of Maner Costerisan are in place to keep it that way, the Freedom Center is well-positioned to fulfill our mission for years to come.
For more information, please contact the Freedom Center team at (734)744-7507 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.