Ecumenical Campus Ministries regains tax-exempt status

Organization still lacks funds to rehire full-time minister

The Ecumenical Campus Ministries building, 1204 Oread Ave., is pictured in this Journal-World file photo from November 2009.

After operating roughly a year without its tax-exempt status, Ecumenical Campus Ministries has regained its 501(c)(3) designation from the IRS, leaders say.

“We feel like we’re back in business,” said Loring Henderson, chairman of the ECM’s board of directors. “We were already doing activities and programs and keeping things running. Some people were continuing to support us when the tax-exempt status had lapsed. But now we’re more able to ask for donations and support.”

In March 2015, the ECM was notified it had lost its tax-exempt status.

Henderson said the organization had failed to submit returns and pay taxes on time. No money was missing or foul play involved, he said, “we just got behind.”

The ECM paid all the taxes owed — with the exception of a small amount for which there’s now a scheduled repayment plan approved by the IRS — and reapplied for tax-exempt status, Henderson said. He said as part of the plan with the IRS, the ECM has hired an outside bookkeeping service.

Paperwork was submitted in February, and the IRS notified the ECM in April that its tax-exempt status was approved, Henderson said.

The recognition was retroactive, so donations to the ECM during the lapse are now tax-exempt, he said. The ECM has been working to contact individuals to let them know.

Henderson said regaining tax-exempt status is hoped to help the ECM move closer to its goal of hiring a new minister, because there currently isn’t enough money to do so and more donations will be needed.

The ECM has been without a minister for about a year and a half, Henderson said.

Longtime minister Thad Holcombe retired in 2013. Dwight Welch was hired as campus minister on a part-time basis because of financial constraints, according to ECM newsletters, but Henderson said he has since left for another job.

The ECM does have a permanent director, Kim Brook, who was hired last year. Henderson, a board member who became board chairman in January, was serving as interim director in early 2015.

The ECM, at 1204 Oread Ave., is located across the street from the Kansas University campus and serves the KU community. While not an official KU entity, ECM is a registered community organization through KU’s Student Involvement and Leadership Center.

Offerings include a weekly Veggie Lunch, a Solidarity Library home to progressive literature and films, and other discussion forums and fellowship activities focused on the ECM’s mission of engendering “love and understanding that results in compassion, justice and interdependence.”