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is the snack sack a non-profit?

The Snack Sack has intentionally chosen not to be a U.S. 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit. Instead, the Snack Sack is a mutual aid fund. The money we receive is given directly to people in need through food deliveries, rent and utility support, cash, and other services. Mutual aid is about communities supporting one another (and acknowledging that some have less opportunities than others). You can read more in the Snack Sack blog post, Nobody Gets Turned Away: 3 Differences Between Mutual Aid and Charity.

 

We have chosen to remain a mutual aid fund and not a nonprofit for multiple reasons:

  • 1. Mutual aid provides no-strings-attached support for those in need of support.
    This means they don't have to prove their income levels, engage in required activities, or do check-ins to prove they are still in need. We fully trust that those asking for our help truly need it, and anyone accepting our services is doing so for a reason. Families opt out once they have more financial stability, as they understand that others need support more. We know first-hand the oppression that marginalized people, especially Black and brown families, face in this country, and our primary goal is to redistribute wealth to counteract that oppression.
  • 2. Mutual aid is able to provide the support people need, not just what grant funders require."
    The Snack Sack provides wrap-around support, which can include food, hygiene products, rental assistance, education, and more. One of the limits of 501(c)(3) organizations is they are often funded for specific programs and the organization has little flexibility for services that fall outside of those, even if they are important. The Snack Sack also funds JOY, like the Disney December to Remember campaign in 2021, movie nights, and cookie baking. We believe that people living with financial insecurity deserve so much more than the bare minimum to survive, and instead should have full access to fun foods and joyful activities for their happiness and mental health.Unfortunately, that is often not funded by grants. Enjoyment of life should not come at a certain income level.
  • 3. Mutual aid’s flexibility helps fill in the gaps left by nonprofits.
    As you can read in the next section, charitable organizations simply do not address all of the needs of people living in this country. Due to the increased flexibility with funding mentioned in the previous paragraphs, The Snack Sack is able to provide support that nonprofits miss for a variety of reasons. Due to the decrease of bureaucratic structures, we can also provide support more quickly than many nonprofits can, such as food delivery within a few days or immediate support for emergencies. In order to become a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit, a certain amount of fees, compliance, and paperwork is required. Most grant funders require significant reporting of metrics and outcomes to justify their funding. While this itself is not a bad thing, this means that there is much more work that goes into managing bureaucracy as a charitable nonprofit. The flexibility of mutual aid means organizations like The Snack Sack can fill in what nonprofits do not address in part due to these restrictions.

In addition to the above, there are some common misunderstandings about the roles, services, and benefits of charitable nonprofits:

  • 1. Mutual aid provides no-strings-attached support for those in need of support.
    This means they don't have to prove their income levels, engage in required activities, or do check-ins to prove they are still in need. We fully trust that those asking for our help truly need it, and anyone accepting our services is doing so for a reason. Families opt out once they have more financial stability, as they understand that others need support more. We know first-hand the oppression that marginalized people, especially Black and brown families, face in this country, and our primary goal is to redistribute wealth to counteract that oppression.
  • 2. Mutual aid is able to provide the support people need, not just what grant funders require."
    The Snack Sack provides wrap-around support, which can include food, hygiene products, rental assistance, education, and more. One of the limits of 501(c)(3) organizations is they are often funded for specific programs and the organization has little flexibility for services that fall outside of those, even if they are important. The Snack Sack also funds JOY, like the Disney December to Remember campaign in 2021, movie nights, and cookie baking. We believe that people living with financial insecurity deserve so much more than the bare minimum to survive, and instead should have full access to fun foods and joyful activities for their happiness and mental health.Unfortunately, that is often not funded by grants. Enjoyment of life should not come at a certain income level.
  • 3. Mutual aid’s flexibility helps fill in the gaps left by nonprofits.
    As you can read in the next section, charitable organizations simply do not address all of the needs of people living in this country. Due to the increased flexibility with funding mentioned in the previous paragraphs, The Snack Sack is able to provide support that nonprofits miss for a variety of reasons. Due to the decrease of bureaucratic structures, we can also provide support more quickly than many nonprofits can, such as food delivery within a few days or immediate support for emergencies. In order to become a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit, a certain amount of fees, compliance, and paperwork is required. Most grant funders require significant reporting of metrics and outcomes to justify their funding. While this itself is not a bad thing, this means that there is much more work that goes into managing bureaucracy as a charitable nonprofit. The flexibility of mutual aid means organizations like The Snack Sack can fill in what nonprofits do not address in part due to these restrictions.

We hope this has provided more insight about our nonprofit status and the reasons we have chosen this path. You can read more in our blog post series about mutual aid -

  1. Supporting Mutual Aid Without White Saviorism

  2. The Racial Wealth Gap in the United States

  3. Solidarity, not Charity - Mutual Aid as Reparations

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