WCAAP Applying for 501(c)(3) Tax Exempt Status

Rupin Thakkar, MD, FAAP
President, Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

The WCAAP is a non-profit organization currently operating with a 501(c)(6) tax exempt status.  Our board has determined that our organization should apply for conversion to 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.  Both c3 and c6 organizations are non-profits but differ in their purpose.  501(c)(6)  organizations promote the common business interests of a particular trade or industry while 501(c)(3) organizations operate for charitable, educational, or scientific purposes. Since the WCAAP’s primary missions are to advance child health and safety in our state and to support pediatric providers through educational activities, the c3 designation better reflects our operations. 

We have historically enjoyed a very productive relationship with BestStart Washington, which has operated as our c3 arm in order for us to receive grants and tax-deductible donations. We are grateful to BestStart Washington for their years of support. However, many foundations are shifting away from allowing fiscal agents for grants, so our current model can limit grant opportunities.  Our current model also creates extra layers for individuals to donate to our chapter.  Further, as a c6 organization we have not been able to tap into certain financial benefits offered to c3s such as reduced cost software or free programs to support our strategic planning. BestStart Washington will continue to operate as a charitable organization dedicated to developing resilient children, and we will continue to closely partner on programs and initiatives. 

A key difference between c3 and c6 status is the percentage of an organization’s budget which can be spent on direct lobbying efforts. We have carefully evaluated these limits and have found that we operate well within them.  Therefore, we will not need to adjust our legislative advocacy efforts at all to comply with the new tax exempt status. 

In the coming months you can expect to hear more from us about this change, including a required membership vote.  We will discuss this process in greater detail at our December 7th board meeting, which will be held via phone from 7:00-8:30PM. Please email admin@wcaap.org if you would like to participate in that meeting. We will hold a member vote on this transition at our February 2nd board meeting that will take place in Olympia immediately following our annual Advocacy Day.  We will also communicate alternatives to in-person voting.

Should you have questions or want to learn more about this transition, please email admin@wcaap.org