Bayview Hall to go non-profit

"A lot has changed at Bayview Hall over the past year, and as of mid-April, the facility will look different even in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service.Looking to attract more donations and foundation grants, the hall's five-member board of directors will ask the membership to approve a plan to apply for 501(c)(3) federal non-profit status at a special April 19 meeting. And during the lead-up to the meeting, the board will also try to increase membership at the hall to emphasize the point that Bayview Hall belongs to all South Whidbey residents.The hall has been a non-profit corporation in the eyes of Washington state since 1927, owned by its members. With the new federal tax-exempt designation, the hall will be able to qualify for grants and donations from foundations such as the Boeing Good Neighbor Fund, which could in turn be used to upgrade the hall's kitchen and to make the facility handicapped accessible. Further, donors will be able to write off their donations on their taxes, which could provide more incentive for giving. And, said board member Sue Ellen White, the hall will be able to sponsor events that make the facility more available to the community.We will be in a better position to be an active part of our community and the Bayview neighborhood, White said.Duke LeBaron, president of the Bayview Hall's board of directors, said the non-profit designation will not change much about how the hall is operated, except in the area of hall rental. There's a question as to how much we can deal with profit-making versus non-profit activities, LeBaron.A profit-making organization, Island Gymnastics, provided much of the income the hall needed to stay open during the past decade, LeBaron said. The organization no longer uses the hall. Sue Ellen White said everyone on South Whidbey should take an interest in Bayview Hall, as it is owned by the South Whidbey community. A membership at the hall still costs what it has for over a decade -- $5 a year. To qualify as a member, a person need only be a registered Island County voter, or an Island County property taxpayer, or a resident of the South Whidbey School District.To vote on the hall's non-profit status, you must be a member of the hall association by April 3. The April 19 meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the hall. To become part of Bayview Hall's membership rolls or to renew your membership, send your name, address, phone number, email address if you have one, and $5 to Bayview Hall Membership, P.O. Box 1066, Langley, WA 98260."

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