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Impact Stories Published June 12, 2018

The Chief Musician

In 2016, Kenesta T. Mack,  founder of The Florencia M. Mack Educational Fund, a memorial fund awarding scholarships for textbook expenses to Philadelphia high school and college students majoring in instrumental or voice music, reached out to LawWorks. Mack had established the fund in honor of her mother, Florencia, who passed away after a 70-plus-year career as a music teacher and church organist. “The mission of the fund is to preserve her memory by promoting the study of music,” Mack said.

To maximize its impact, the fund needed to obtain tax-exempt status. “I needed help with the incorporation and 501(c)(3),” Mack said. “It seemed like an overwhelming and confusing process for someone who had never done this before. I found Philadelphia VIP through the Free Library of Philadelphia and they were extremely supportive.” LawWorks paired Mack with volunteer attorney Steve Park. “He was phenomenal,” she said. “He was so patient and knowledgeable.”

Within months, Mack was notified by the IRS that the fund had obtained tax-exempt status. “More folks are willing to donate to a 501(c)(3) organization and the status also allowed me to get a sales tax exemption.” she said. “The first year we gave out two scholarships and in 2017 we gave out five. I hope to double the number of scholarship recipients each year and eventually have the fund be endowed so it lives on forever.” Learn more at thechiefmusician.org.

Reflecting on her overall experience with LawWorks, Ms. Mack said: “I’m a teacher, so the law is not my area of expertise and, with a nonprofit, you’ve got to make sure you’re on solid [legal] ground. I’ve learned that you have to ask for help – it’s out there for people who really put in the time and ask for it.”