The Internal Revenue Service approved this month 501(c)(3) status for The Record Community News Group, the organization that operates TheRecordNorthShore.org.
The Record has operated as a nonprofit since its inception in June of 2020; however, the official exempt designation by the IRS provides necessary financial flexibility for the startup newsroom.
With the status, which was approved retroactive to last summer, The Record is exempt from federal income tax and may accept gifts that are tax-deductible for donors.
Throughout the past year, The Record paid to partner with a fiscal sponsor, The Institute for Nonprofit News, to collect and manage donations.
“Receiving 501(c)(3) status involves a long process and approval is not guaranteed, so hearing positive news from the IRS was a wonderful feeling,” said Joe Coughlin, editor in chief of The Record. “This is critical to our model and our success as a responsible, nonpartisan newsroom.
“Thank you to the Institute for Nonprofit News for being such a valuable resource and asset.”
The Record Community News Group was founded by Coughlin, Megan Bernard and Martin Carlino, three former newsroom leaders from 22nd Century Media, a suburban media company that shuttered in March of 2020.
The nonprofit is governed by a four-person board of directors: President Jennifer Gordon, Vice President John Jenks, Secretary J.A. Adande and Fouad Egbaria.
The first goal of the group was to reestablish regular community-news coverage in New Trier Township, an area where all three founders had reporting experience.
Thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign, the website launched on Oct. 1, 2020, and has since published nearly 800 stories. The Record was named Best Startup in the Chicago Headline Club’s Peter Lisagor Awards.
The Record believes responsibly produced local news and information is a public good and publishes all of its public-service journalism for free. Some of The Record’s sports and feature coverage is for subscribers.