As of March 11th, we are officially registered as a nonstock corporation for the State of WI, which is the first step towards registering as a 501(c)3 non profit with the IRS. We sent in our Articles of Incorporation and have created our bylaws and elected our board officers. We have completed most of the IRS paperwork (30 pages!), and hope to have that sent in by next week. If the IRS accepts our registration, any donations made after March 11, 2011 will be tax deductible for our donors. We are eternally grateful for our friend, Rebecca Markert, who is volunteering her time and expertise of the law to help us complete this process. I've spoken with other families who have started similar non profits who have taken a year or more to complete this process and spent much more money. We'll still have several months to hear from the IRS, but getting the paperwork completed is a big step!
We were able to visit the hospital to drop off the donation of the CD player for the Family Care Suites. Claire, the mommy of James and Sophia, was able to be present with me for the donation. We happened to be there at a shift change and there were quite a few nurses present in the conference room who cared for Claire while she was on hospital bedrest with her son Isaac who was born recently. I was able to tell them about our story and how we got started with Mikayla's Grace, and Claire was able to give the nurses an update on Isaac too. It made me so excited about our upcoming donation in June for Mikayla's birthday.
I also had a wonderful meeting with two nurses from St. Mary's Hospital, Chantel Schneeburg and Laura Ziebarth. We discussed ideas for both the NICU care packages and the Angel Memory boxes. They are excited about our plan and were able to offer a bit of guidance for some of the logistics of getting the boxes donated. We also discussed ways that the items we are donating can be used to help families have a more positive experience in the hospital. I was able to give them some feedback from our experience when Mikayla was in the hospital.
While St. Mary's does have money in the budget to purchase small memory boxes, like the one we received, St. Mary's currently does not have a group who donates memory boxes. I've had several people ask me why we are doing these donations, because they assumed that this is something the hospital would automatically provide for parents. Unfortunately, that is not the case. We hope that through our donations to be able to make sure that every parent who leaves the hospital without their baby has at least had the opportunity to make the most of that short time in the hospital. We hope to ensure they will come away with memories of their baby and items that they will be able to cherish to remember their babies.
St. Mary's does have a volunteer group that donates knitted hats and blankets on a regular basis, but there are many things we are going to include in our donations that they do not receive currently. We will be focusing a little more on the items that the hospital does not receive donations for currently after our first donation. There are certain items that we will need more volunteers to help us make, especially the knit/crochet and sewn gowns. I am working on a post (hopefully within the next few weeks) with some of the patterns I've been using and some ideas for the gowns. You'll see a wedding dress (pics below) that a friend donated so that we can use the material to make gowns, and I'll have more information about that soon too! If you know how to knit, crochet or sew and would be interested in making some of these gowns please email me at email@example.com.
I wrote a guest blog post called Do Not Be Afraid of Their Tears that gives advice on how you can be supportive to bereaved parents. I'm hoping to have a resource area on this site eventually.
This month we received many donations and you can see an updated list of our supporters on this page. Here are some pictures. There are still other items we will need to purchase once we get our fundraising money in May, like the cameras and hand/feet casting molds.
Once again, thank you all for your support. Without our volunteers and your generous donations, none of this would be possible!
Somewhere on this planet, someone has a solution
to each of the world's problems. It might be one of us. With your help, we can build a more hopeful world.