COLUMBIA — The Columbia Interfaith Resource Center is now a legally recognized tax-exempt, nonprofit organization since it has received 501 (c) (3) status from the Internal Revenue Service.
The resource center is a 10-month-old organization overseeing the operation of the Interfaith Day Center, a day shelter for the homeless.
The responsibilities of the resource center include finding facilities, maintaining management and looking into ways to expand the shelter's services, said the Rev. Steven Swope, chair of the board of the resource center and a pastor at Columbia United Church of Christ.
The Columbia Interfaith Resource Center used to be a part of the Columbia Interfaith Council, which is a collaborative effort bringing together faith communities and human service agencies to support Columbia’s needy.
“Until they got the 501 (c) (3) process started and done, we were one group in order to make progress and do a better job of serving the homeless,” said Janet Schisser, president of the Interfaith Council.
The council has been a financial sponsor of the Interfaith Day Center, according to a Columbia Tribune article.
Swope said that with the tax-exempt, nonprofit status, the Columbia Interfaith Resource Center can do "all sorts of things that the Interfaith Council never was able to do without that status." The resource center can now collect tax-deductible contributions from individuals and apply for foundation grants, he said.
The resource center plans to use the ability to receive tax-deductible contributions to expand its Day Center ministry, Swope said.
The approval of the nonprofit status of the Columbia Interfaith Resource Center is also meaningful for the Interfaith Council.
The council can spend less energy managing the Day Center and can focus more on communicating and connecting different faith groups and social agencies, Swope said.