FrostburgFirst is pleased to announce that it is now classified by the IRS as a public charity with 501(c)3 tax-exempt status! From its original incorporation in 2003, FrostburgFirst (tax name Historic Frostburg, a Maryland Main Street Community, Inc.) has functioned as a 501(c)6, which limited funding sources available to the organization. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, FrostburgFirst will now have access to a larger pool of funding through grants, private donorship, corporate sponsorship, private foundations, event revenue, fundraising, and other tax-exempt fundraising sources.
Executive Director Deirdre Robertson shares her excitement for how the new tax-exempt status will help realize FrostburgFirst’s vision of downtown Frostburg as a thriving arts, cultural, and business community in the midst of Appalachian beauty. “The shift to a 501(c)3 nonprofit makes it possible for FrostburgFirst to create new partnerships in the community, take a stronger role in economic revitalization, and seek increased funding to support new programs, events, and goals for the future.”
The transition to 501(c) nonprofit status was impacted significantly by grant funding provided by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, which oversees the Maryland Main Street program. Grant funds made it possible to address accounting and legal fees, engage the services of a non-profit consultant to adapt and update FrostburgFirst’s bylaws and policies, and increase the reach of FrostburgFirst within the community.
FrostburgFirst is a member-led economic development and revitalization organization formed and operated exclusively for the purpose of promoting and advancing downtown Frostburg. Specifically, FrostburgFirst engages the community, enhances streetscape aesthetics, supports and promotes small businesses, and organizes programs and events to make Frostburg a wonderful place to live, work, and visit.
“FrostburgFirst has been making many strides to better serve our community and businesses,” remarks Diana Iman, President of FrostburgFirst. “With our new status, a whole new world of options has opened up, allowing more events to promote our downtown area.”
As the state and nationally accredited Main Street program and managing entity of Frostburg’s Arts & Entertainment District, FrostburgFirst organizes annual events, including the recently concluded Small Business Saturday event, Fall and Spring Arts Walks, Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctioned Pig Out in the Park: Backyard BBQ Bash, and assists in organizing and promoting other community events, including the Annual Cocoa Crawl, Storybook Holiday, and Pirates Ahoy.
In the past year, FrostburgFirst also led the 10-year re-designation process for Frostburg’s Arts & Entertainment District in the state of Maryland, initiated the process of making Frostburg a Keep America Beautiful affiliate, and worked with regional partners to promote Frostburg’s interests.
FrostburgFirst works regularly with community partners to organize and promote downtown events, provide resources to local artists and businesses, and regularly applies for and secures funding to support projects to improve the downtown. In the new fiscal year, FrostburgFirst will work with the City of Frostburg to update signage and provide new map stations downtown. FrostburgFirst will also be introducing a Pop-Up Shop Program to encourage entrepreneurship and economic revitalization in downtown Frostburg.
Iman continues, “one cannot imagine the hard work our Executive Director and our Board of Directors have put in to make this happen. It has been a strong goal of our Board and we are very excited about our future with the new status.”