ECM working to regain tax-exempt status

The acting administrator for Ecumenical Campus Ministries has confirmed the organization has lost and is attempting to regain its tax-exempt status.

The administrator, Loring Henderson, said Thursday that ECM ran afoul of the Internal Revenue Service because certain paperwork was not filed in a timely manner. That echoes what Douglas County Commissioner Nancy Thellman said Wednesday when the body decided not to award a $106,000 grant to ECM for an upcoming project.

“It’s a difficult situation, but it’s one that can be rectified,” said Henderson, who added he is confident that ECM will regain its 501(c)(3) status as a tax-exempt organization.

Henderson said ECM was notified in March that it had lost its status.

He said ECM is not facing burdensome taxes, and it is telling donors that their gifts are not currently tax deductible.

News of ECM’s troubles came to light Wednesday when the County Commission approved grants to various applicants under the Heritage Grant Program, which usually divvies out around $250,000 in public funds to projects that preserve Douglas County’s heritage and natural resources.

The Heritage Conservation Council, which evaluates the applicants, recommended that ECM receive a $106,000 grant to “hire an architect and engineering team to design construction and site work renovation in conjunction” with a city water tanks project, according to county documents.

The city and the KU Endowment Association also plan to build a nearby low-level parking garage for the KU Alumni Center and possibly ECM. The building ECM operates in at 1204 Oread Ave. is included in national, state and local historic registries.

Henderson said missing out on the grant will “handicap” ECM’s participation in the project.

While not an official Kansas University entity, ECM is a registered community organization through KU’s Student Involvement and Leadership Center