Making RREF a Charitable Org

Yeah!  A lawyer has volunteered to help apply for 501c3 (charitable organization) status.

Here are the next steps for RREF:

1. Review 501c3 application with lawyer and then submit it following http://www.stayexempt.irs.gov/Starting-Out/Interactive-Form-1023-Prerequisite-Questions.  Pay $800 application fee

2. Work with lawyer to do an ‘equivalency determination’ of the local NGO, Peace Learning Center.  PLC will be primary administrator of the school. My intention is to direct the majority of RREF funds directly to the local NGO to pay teacher salaries, rent, utilities and supplies. The org will also directly purchase services and supplies. Fortunately the NGO was granted official status by the Malaysian government just last week. I’ve requested the paperwork from that formation plus English translated copies for your review. ( http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/rp_1992-94.pdf ) I read somewhere on IRS.gov that as of 2012 this ‘equivalency determination’ must be carried out by a lawyer.

Near term to-do list:

Once the 501c3 application has been submitted:
1. set up website for collecting donations (I’ve lined up a designer – she’s ready to start when I give the word)
2. open bank account in WA at Chase Bank. RREF VP will handle this (my mommy)
3. get a Chase credit card for supply purchases ( makes tracking easier )
4. Recruit local advisory board for the school

Once the 501c3 is approved
1. Fund raise (goFundMe, MrMoneyMustache, Facebook, activate handful of ‘connector’ friends who are far more skilled at soliciting help than I).
2. Continue to work with advisory board to develop a proper curriculum and plan for academics

School Operating costs ( per month) 
– rent $1000
– 1 teacher’s salary $600-$1000
– supplies / other : variable

Fund-raising goals
– $3,000 to buy much needed supplies including 10 cheap computers for my 10 kids – set up khan academy and duolingo for out-of class learning, reimburse charitable org formation fees.
– $18,000 to hire two more teachers and increase current teacher’s salary, fund 2015
– $40,000 for 2016 operations
Stretch Goal:
– $1M endowment fund to finance teacher salaries perpetually
Beyond $1M: hire more teachers, tutors, fund scholarships, bolster endowment principle.

Let Cops Know Civil Forfeiture Laws are Bullshit

If questioned by a U.S. police officer, I will refuse to answer without a lawyer present. If asked permission to search my property, I will say ‘no’.

Until civil forfeiture is abolished, the practice violates my 5th amendment rights. In the meantime, refusing to cooperate is the most effective way of protect me from unlawful seizure of property, and sending the message that CF is wrong.

I propose all of us law-abiding citizens protest civil forfeiture laws. If telling a cop ‘no’ doesn’t work for you, I suggest you read up on CF laws and contact your representatives to demand its abolition.

Civil Forfeiture Wikipedia

Some recent examples

College Student loses life savings to CF

New Yorker Article

Rohingya Refugee Education Fund Is a Thing!

It’s official – the Rohingya Refugee Education Fund (RREF) is an actual US organization, complete with federal EIN number and WA state UIB number.  But it can’t accept donations quite yet…

Next steps:

  • ‘equivalency determination’ for local School of Peace NGO
  • gain 501c3 status with IRS
  • Open a US based bank account under the RREF org

Thanks mom for being the Vice President of US operations!  You’ll be opening the bank account :).

This needs to happen soon. I love the kids in my class. I do. I mean, look at the cards three girls presented me with this morning:

Rohingya-Girls

See?  They’re pretty darned lovable.   The truth is, the sooner we can hire more REAL teachers, the better.  I’m just not cut out for this. After trying oodles of techniques, the boys just keep talking!  They won’t shut the heck up!  Perhaps they’re lost – maybe I’m not keeping my words basic enough.  Could be.  But half the time, I think they simply aren’t aware that their mouths are running.  It’s really bizarre. Are they bored? Maybe.

I try to make the material interesting. Today’s lesson was on salmon and rivers.  It was engaging for most of them, but they still struggled to zip their mouths.  Then I totally lost them with math word problems.

  • “I can walk 1 km per hour.  How far have I walked after 1 hour?”
    -> Responses: 6!  10! Finally: 1km. Nods.  Okay, they get it.
  • “I walk 10km per hour.  How far have I walked after 1/2 hour?”  Responses: 100! 1!  TOTALLY BAFFLED.  Really?

Surely they would understand these math word problems in their native tongue.  Some of them are whip smart with arithmetic.  I’m probably pushing topics that are too advanced given their English proficiency.

So tomorrow, I’m backing off.  I’ll come at them with an attempt at edu-tainment.  We’ll discuss seats, posts, wheels, spokes, pedals.  Then I’ll let them hop on a couple of unicycles and see how they like that.  Will they remember class rule #3: ‘English only’?  Probably not.

Sigh.  Yeah – I need to get this charitable org formation done and start raising money to hire a real teacher to take my place.  Then perhaps I could volunteer for after-school activities. We could start with unicycling.