Spark 2019 is free thanks to a generous grant from the John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation, a fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation. Now it's time to come together so we can have a Spark 2020, and we're asking you to be part of it.
Please donate to ARDA via its staffing partner CI:Now by visiting CI:Now's GuideStar profile and clicking the Donate button at upper right. Give whatever you feel moved to - any amount helps us keep the Spark alive. (See what we did there?)
To make sure we maintain transparency and trust, we've compiled lots of information about donating and organized it into an FAQ format. ARDA's Steering Committee and CI:Now welcome your questions as ARDA takes these first steps toward sustainability. If you still have any questions at all after looking through the FAQ, please use the ARDA contact form to send your questions or feedback to Steering Committee and CI:Now staff.
Thank you for supporting ARDA!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I donate to ARDA?
To donate to ARDA please visit Community Information Now’s GuideStar profile and click the Donate button at the upper-right of the screen. All contributions received between May 1 and May 15 will be considered donations to ARDA, but you can make a record of that by noting “ARDA” in the Dedication field.
What will my contribution be used for?
ARDA’s Steering Committee is currently fundraising to support Spark 2020. Those costs typically include venue rental; event planning, setup, and teardown; materials preparation and printing; and light catering.
Is my ARDA contribution through CI:Now tax-deductible?
Yes. CI:Now is a "qualified organization" under current IRS rules for deducting charitable contributions.
Who is Community Information Now (CI:Now)?
CI:Now is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit local data intermediary serving primarily Bexar and surrounding counties. Our vision is improved lives and decreased disparities through democratized data. Based in San Antonio, CI:Now is staffed through and housed in the UTHealth Houston School of Public Health in San Antonio via a community-academic partnership now in its 11th year.
Why is my donation going to CI:Now instead of ARDA?
As an informal and unincorporated network rather than a corporation, ARDA can’t accept contributions directly. It has no bank account and none of the accounting systems and financial controls that would enable good stewardship of funds. The two primary reasons ARDA remains unincorporated are because (1) none of its goals or strategies to date have required incorporation, and (2) the founding Interim Steering Committee and elected 2017-18 Steering Committee intended that ARDA never compete with its partners for grants and contributions. In coordination with ARDA's Steering Committee, partner organizations can directly receive and administer grants that fund work that supports ARDA’s goals and/or ARDA staffing costs.
Why CI:Now instead of another nonprofit?
Although almost all Steering Committee members' time is effectively donated by their employers, CI:Now is so far the only organization that has provided staffing support to ARDA or received grants specifically to staff ARDA. Using its own funds from the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County investment, CI:Now initially donated it own staff time to do the work of standing ARDA up in 2016 and the first half of 2017, including helping the Interim Steering Committee draft the Charter and the Community Strategy, planning and running Steering Committee elections, planning and holding community convenings like ARDA Spark, and managing the website and other communications. That work was subsequently funded in 2017 and 2018 by grants from the San Antonio Area Foundation and from the John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation, a fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation. Both grants were awarded to CI:Now as an eligible nonprofit and were restricted for use to staff ARDA. The current award, which ends in July 2019, is governed by a detailed scope of work formally approved by the Steering Committee at initial award in January 2018 and again in November 2018.
Does it have to be CI:Now who receives contributions that help ARDA?
No. Any of ARDA’s partner organizations - in close coordination with ARDA's Steering Committee, of course - could receive grants and contributions to support ARDA, either directly by providing staff time or indirectly by tackling some portion of the Community Strategy. The data-related trainings that UP Partnership and CI:Now are rolling out in 2019 are one example of partner organizations indirectly supporting ARDA by raising funds for work that addresses some piece of ARDA's shared Community Strategy. Several partners are working to improve free online access to data.
Are there any other ways to contribute to ARDA?
Not yet. ARDA’s Steering Committee is in the earliest stages of rolling out strategies to ensure that ARDA’s work is sustainable, and that includes receiving contributions of all kinds. Given that ARDA Spark is just around the corner, contribution through CI:Now was the most feasible and transparent way to enable people to donate right now. The Steering Committee is exploring a variety of other models, and the way to donate to ARDA may change within the next few months. One model is for ARDA to receive funds via PayPal or some other payment processor for immediate transfer to an ARDA bank account, with or without the aid of a fundraising platform like Razoo or GoFundMe. In that model, donations are not tax-deductible for the donor. Another possibility is to establish a Donor-Advised Fund or Field of Interest Fund at the San Antonio Area Foundation, much like the new Live to Ride Fund. Many more options exist, all with different costs and benefits to consider carefully.
How can I be sure that my contribution to CI:Now goes to fund ARDA expenses?
CI:Now tracks the ARDA grant and other restricted grants separately, releasing dollars from its Temporarily Restricted Grants account only as ARDA-related costs are incurred. Reports from Network for Good, GuideStar’s donation processor, and from CI:Now’s own financial statements will be provided to the ARDA Steering Committee on a monthly basis or as requested. ARDA-related financial information is also available through CI:Now’s Form 990 tax returns available through GuideStar.
Is CI:Now ARDA’s fiscal agent or fiscal sponsor?
No, at present CI:Now does not serve as either fiscal agent or fiscal sponsor to ARDA. The model so far has been the “backbone organization” as described in the Collective Impact model.
Who do I talk to if I still have questions?
The ARDA Steering Committee and CI:Now welcome your questions as ARDA takes these first steps toward sustainability. Please use the ARDA contact form to send your questions or feedback to Steering Committee and CI:Now staff.