Nonprofit status to open doors for the Creative Enterprise Zone

Home to many nonprofit groups, the CEZ itself became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit this fall, qualifying it for funding from a wider range of foundations. “We’ve generated significant stakeholder interest in what we’re doing,” said board chair Catherine Reid Day. “Some cannot fund us unless we are 501(c)(3). We have a long-term vision to fulfill.”

What is that vision? The mission statement says it best: “The Creative Enterprise Zone promotes and connects individuals and organizations in the Raymond-University area of St. Paul, Minnesota, to advance creative, economic, and cultural development.”

Originally formed in 2011 as a task force of the St. Anthony Park Community Council, the CEZ now has a seven-member working board. Some of the work is done by contractors, including coordinating the Knight Foundation grant received in 2016. With more resources and staffing, capacity can grow. “The CEZ will benefit from having tax-exempt status, both in terms of offering tax deductions for gifts or in-kind donations, as well as increasing our legitimacy in the nonprofit community,” said board member Jack Becker. “This designation will help launch the next phase of our organizational growth.”

Julie James