Milwaukee County Labor Council AFL-CIO

November 1, 2014

Labor Community @ Work

Labor Community @ Work
Public school children carry boxes out after the annual Health & Hygiene Drive.

In 2003, the Milwaukee County Labor Council created Labor Community@Work, a tax-deductible way to support the charitable and community functions of the organization. Labor Community@Work is open for contributions from the entire community.

But because of more deeply publicized nonprofit formations under the complicated Internal Revenue Service codes, certain confusion emerged for the public. Suddenly, citizens had to look for the (3) and not the (4) in understanding the government's numerical soup.

In 2003, the Milwaukee County Labor Council carefully jumped through all the IRS regulatory hoops to create a genuine 501(c)3 for its charitable activities, in order to make contributions to specific causes transparently clear (and tax-deductible) and to better focus contributions on worthy community causes.

The Labor Community@Work 501(c)3 was created foremost to maintain the Workers Memorial artwork and education environment created at Zeidler Union Square Park in downtown Milwaukee. It also incorporates other specific charitable aid to the community. This includes the annual Health & Hygiene Drive that collects needed products for homeless shelters in cooperation with the United Way, and the meals for the homeless that labor volunteers are active in supporting.

This 501(c)3 was meant to be a simple avenue to support such community advances. There is a separate board of directors that operates Labor Community@Work and there has been strong encouragement for contributors to make checks out to Labor Community@Work rather than the Milwaukee County Labor Council to ensure the deductible nature of the gift.

But LaborCommunity@Work and its 501(c)3 was created just as the turmoil emerged around a totally separate political entity allowed under IRS rules. It is known as a 501(c)4. It is also nonprofit - but can engage in politicking if it is less than half of its function. However, the 501(c)3 cannot - it is all community all of the time.

The difference between a 3 and 4 is a lot deeper than one number. The 527s spawned during political season can only be associated with the 4s. Deductions that are completely about charity go to the 3s.

Tax-deductible charitable contributions should be made out to LaborCommunity@Work and can specify specific campaigns or functions of the charitable division. Contributions can be addressed to LaborCommunity@Work, 633 S. Hawley Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53214.

For more information, contact 414-771-7070 or mclc@milwaukeelabor.org .