Around August 2019, when I first envisioned beginning a nonprofit for our disabled veterans, I never realized just how different this journey would be from the three "for-profit" businesses that I had previously owned. I discovered that even the most well-thought out plans will come crashing down if you aren't familiar with all of the rules. As I begin to get everything in place, the little nuances of law began to throw out road blocks that ultimately moved my ideas in a different direction.
Our original intention was to purchase a boat around January or February 2020 and just take a disabled vet or two fishing with me on the weekends. This ultimately would have been the simplest route to take, but as I began to share my dream with friends and build a network of contacts, the ultimate decision to begin a nonprofit corporation really began to take shape. In late November 2019, a boat became available that I thought would suit our needs perfectly, so after much deliberating with my wife to determine what our maximum budget would be, we made our only offer to the seller. Immediately our hopes were smashed as he let us know our offer was too low. Not to be deterred, we immediately began looking to see what other suitable boats were available. We knew we had a little time and we didn't want to inherit someone else's problem. To our surprise, we received a call several days later from the owner of the boat we had made the offer on, and he was ready to sell.
Fast forward to February 2020 and my wife Vicki had suggested "Casting for a Cause" as a name for the organization. After much discussion, that concept became "Casting for a Cause Disabled Veterans Foundation." From that point on, things started moving rather quickly as we reserved the business name, filed our articles of incorporation with the state and began to look for ideal participants for our Board of Directors. However, about the time things really began to fall into place, the nation was struck by COVID and all of the social distancing measures that really began to impact businesses that otherwise would have flourished. This was the defining moment where my wife and I knew the money we had spent and would need to spend would have to likely come out of our own pockets for a few months. This also meant we would take the slow approach to really getting things in place. After a few discussions with our Board of Directors, our Executive Vice-President and General Counsel, Stephen Albright suggested we file for nonprofit status using the EZ form. This would limit the amount of donations we could receive in a given year, but it also meant taxes would be a breeze. Since we are in our early years, we don't expect our donations will exceed the maximum limit and easier is better until we gain the competency to handle a more complex operation.
Enter 2021. The election has passed, a divided nation now has to determine if they will meet in the middle. As far as our organization goes, politics has no place. Our members are not separated by their political affiliation because we participate as brothers and sisters regardless of whether we are fishing as a team of building a boat. COVID still impacts the ability of people to donate to our organization, but we are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel. However, many of the tournaments we had hoped to enter our disabled veterans in were cancelled. Even the Redfish World Series has been suspended until things begin to normalize.
As we begin to restructure how the year will look, we now have to determine if we are going to host a tournament of our own this year. We had planned a tournament for October and we still hope to make that happen. We are also looking at starting a kayak fishing series that we hope to expand for 2022. Look for more information regarding this in our next blog. As we begin to build on the ideas and put the rules in place, we will be reaching out to retailers and entrepreneurs to assist our efforts through various sponsor opportunities. We will also be looking to build our member base and our social media platform. Even the smallest donations help as we take care of the expenses incurred by providing disabled veterans an opportunity to fish at no cost to them.
If you have an interest in helping our organization, reach out to us. We are in need of fishing professionals that also know how to write. Instructors in the art of rod building and fly-tying are also needed. We can also use volunteers that are experienced in marketing to help us obtain much-needed grants and sponsorships. Send us an email or call me at the number listed in the contact information. We look forward to growing with each of you playing a major role in the success of our organization.