So, I Co-Founded a Non-Profit This Year…

by "Get it Done Girl" on December 19, 2014 · 0 comments

in Des Moines


Who does that?

Earlier this year, I had trouble sleeping. Christmas had just ended and I was infatuated with the German-inspired Christmas markets (Christkindlmarket, Christkindlmarkt, Weihnachtsmarkt,) that I was seeing displayed all over Facebook. Having lived in Cologne, Germany for two years, I was able to experience these markets first-hand.

The nostalgia, the smells, the history, the culture. This is what kept me up at night. With my event planning/marketing experience and my knowledge of the Christmas markets, I thought Des Moines could use an event of this type. And I was the one to make it happen.

So, I started researching and making lists of everything that needed to be done. Becoming quite overwhelmed, I reached out to members of Stammtisch – Des Moines German Club which I founded over 5 years ago as a way to maintain my language skills. Fifteen members attended the feasibility meeting which really warmed my heart. These individuals also felt that I was on the right track and they wanted to be involved.

After several additional meetings, we realized that to produce this large community event and to make it sustainable for many years to come, we needed to create a non-profit (independent of my business). Two individuals have stayed with me for this portion of the journey. None of us have experience with neither the legal nor the financial aspects of establishing a 501c3, but we were referred by a friend to the Drake Legal Clinic. They offer an amazing pro-bono support service to groups like ours. We worked with two legal interns for a semester to draw up the by-laws, articles of incorporation and apply for our 501c3 status. The tax-exempt status for the “Des Moines European Heritage Association” is in the works.

If you would have asked me earlier this year if I would ever be the Co-Founder of a non-profit and President of its Board of Directors, I would have laughed. My passion for celebrating Iowa’s European heritage remained my focus and helped get me through the tedious paperwork.

We would love to have you support “Christkindlmarket Des Moines” taking place the first weekend of December 2016, whether that be as a sponsor, vendor, volunteer or attendee. Please stay tuned for more details as the event comes together! If you’d like me to add you to our mailing list to receive details about the event, just send me an email!

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