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What does it mean to operate a 501(c)(3), public non-profit corporation?

Simply speaking, it means that John and Carla Sherman are the principal officers of a corporation that has been granted non-profit status by the IRS.

The process required to be granted that status began with the incorporation of The River Ganga Foundation as a California Non-Profit Public Benefit Corporation on December 20, 2000. Upon the completion of the process of incorporation, we began the process of applying for non-profit exemption from the IRS. This process entailed a total of five years supervision by the IRS at the end of which we were granted full exemption from state and federal corporate income tax.

There is little or no difference in the day-today operations of a for-profit and a not-for-profit corporation other than that the income of a not-for-profit corporation is not passed on to anyone. The standard profit and loss accounting requirements are the same as they are for a corporation formed to generate income for stockholders, but there are no stockholders in a public non-profit, and no profits are distributed to anyone.

In a public non-profit corporation profits can be spent only on programs in service to the mission that was defined in the IRS application, on salaries for staff, on equipment needed to serve the mission, and on general operating expenses. We are required by the IRS to file a comprehensive annual report designed to insure that the organization remains in compliance with the rules.