Pensacola CAN Helps Community’s Helpers
Pensacola Community Action Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that supports the work of other local charitable groups. It handles their administrative and financial functions so that they can spend their time achieving their environmental or social missions. “Many people with great ideas for improving their community do not enjoy or have an easy time with financial and administrative work, so we can handle that for them,” says Executive Director Christian Wagley.
Local businessman Tom Hutchins launched Pensacola CAN in 2014, after seeing similar organizations work well in other communities and recognizing a need for that type of service in the Pensacola area. “Marin Link in California is a great example of what we’re doing,” Wagley says. “We consider them a role model.”
The idea is to remove the legal and bureaucratic hurdles that can prevent people from implementing plans for improving their community, he says. “Perhaps you want to do a tree-planting project, or feed homeless residents, or hold a summer camp for kids. If you’re not incorporated and registered as an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, it’s pretty much impossible to do.”
Pensacola CAN has a board of directors and contracted accountants and other professionals to provide fiscal sponsorship and financial management to its partners.
“With fiscal sponsorship, monies that our partners raise or receive from grants come to a dedicated account with Pensacola CAN, which allows donors to receive a tax deduction for qualified donations,” Wagley says. “We also can provide a space on our website for the partner to securely collect donations online. We provide this for a small percentage of income the partner brings in—usually around 8 percent. It’s a subsidized rate that’s in line with what other groups nationwide charge for the service.”