How to Start a Nonprofit Corporation in Hawaii (2024 Guide)


Steve Bennett
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Start a Nonprofit Corporation in Hawaii

If you would like to form a corporation in Hawaii, you should also consider starting a nonprofit corporation since it plays a crucial role in our society, addressing a wide range of community needs and positively impacting countless lives. Starting a nonprofit corporation in Hawaii can be rewarding, but it requires careful planning, dedication, and a thorough understanding of the various legal and financial requirements.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through Starting a Nonprofit Corporation in Hawaii, from initial planning to ongoing compliance, so that you can make a meaningful difference in your community.

If you want to know more about nonprofit corporations, you may read the whole article until the end, which the Webinarcare Editorial Team had thorough research. Before starting a nonprofit corporation in Hawaii, you must cross-check all the factors and be guided by the steps.

What is a Nonprofit Corporation?

A nonprofit corporation is a legal entity formed under a given state’s specific laws and regulations in the United States. It is created to serve a public or mutual benefit rather than generating profits for its owners or shareholders. Nonprofit corporations typically operate in education, healthcare, social services, arts and culture, and environmental conservation.

In a nonprofit corporation, any surplus income the organization generates is reinvested into its programs and services rather than distributed to shareholders or members. This allows nonprofits to focus on fulfilling their mission and addressing community needs without the pressure to maximize profits.

An example of a nonprofit corporation in Hawaii is Hawaii Foodbank – Collects, warehouses, and distributes food to help feed Hawaii’s hungry..

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Steps on How to Start a Nonprofit Corporation in Hawaii

To start a nonprofit corporation in Hawaii, you must follow the below steps that, include research and planning, choosing a corporate name, appointing directors, filing for Articles of Incorporation, creating corporate bylaws, holding the initial board of directors, issuing stock, obtaining required licenses and permits, registering with state tax agencies, Annual reporting and ongoing compliance. All these steps are basic ones. It can be changed depending on the type of corporation you form and the nature of your business.

Step 1: Research and Planning

Before starting your nonprofit corporation in Hawaii, you must research and plan. This stage is critical to the success of your nonprofit, as it will help you refine your mission, identify potential supporters, and avoid pitfalls. By conducting thorough research and developing a well-informed plan, you can establish a nonprofit corporation that makes a real difference in the lives of those you serve.

Step 2: Choose a Name for the Nonprofit

Once you have a clear vision for your Hawaii nonprofit corporation, it’s time to choose a name. Your organization’s name should be unique, memorable, and reflective of your mission and purpose. Follow these steps to choose and register your nonprofit’s name in Hawaii:

Consider the Mission and Purpose when Choosing the Name

Your nonprofit’s name should be closely tied to its mission and purpose, making it clear to potential supporters what your organization is about. Choose a name that is meaningful and easy to remember, as this will help with marketing and fundraising efforts.

Check for Name Availability with the Hawaii Secretary of State

Before registering your nonprofit’s name, you must ensure another organization still needs to use it in Hawaii. You can do this by checking the Hawaii Secretary of State ‘s online database or contacting their office directly.

Register the Name

Depending on your Hawaii ‘s requirements, you may need to register your nonprofit’s name with the Secretary of State. This typically involves completing a name reservation of 120 days or registration form and paying an online reservation fee of $10, and mail reservation fee of $10. Be sure to follow your state’s specific guidelines and procedures for name registration.

To check the availability of your desired corporate name, you can search the Hawaii Secretary of State’s business name database and Hawaii Business Name Search.

If your nonprofit corporation plans to operate under a name other than its legal name, you may also need to register a fictitious or “doing business as” (DBA) name.

The DBA filing can be done by several methods, online, fax, email, by mail, or in-person, which costs around $50. In addition, the DBA’s validity in Hawaii is five years, which you can file in Hawaii Secretary of State.

You can check out How to File a DBA in Hawaii for clearer understanding.

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Step 3: Hire a Resident Agent

Hiring a Resident Agent is essential in starting a nonprofit corporation. Resident Agent is a person or company responsible for receiving important legal documents, tax notices, and other correspondence for your nonprofit corporation. They ensure that your nonprofit corporation remains compliant with state regulations and requirements. There are Hawaii Resident Agent Services to check in forming Hawaii Nonprofit Corporation.

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Step 4: Establish Governance and Bylaws

With your nonprofit’s name in place, it’s time to establish your organization’s governance structure and create bylaws. These important documents will outline how your nonprofit will be run, including the roles and responsibilities of board members, the decision-making process, and the procedures for managing finances and record-keeping.

  • Choose the Initial Board of Directors: Your nonprofit’s board of directors will guide your organization’s activities and ensure its long-term success. Choose individuals passionate about your mission, bring diverse skills and expertise to the table, and are willing to commit the time and effort needed to fulfill their responsibilities as board members. In Hawaii, you need to have at least Three directors for you to operate a nonprofit corporation.
  • Create Bylaws: Your bylaws are the governing document for your nonprofit, outlining the roles and responsibilities of board members, the decision-making process, and the procedures for managing finances and record-keeping. Be sure to cover board meetings, voting, committees, officer positions, conflicts of interest, and amendment procedures. Your bylaws should be tailored to your organization’s needs and requirements and developed in consultation with an attorney experienced in nonprofit law.
  • Hold the First Board Meeting: Once your bylaws have been drafted, hold your first board meeting to review and approve them. This meeting should also include the election of officers, such as the president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. Be sure to document the meeting’s discussions and decisions in meeting minutes, as these records will be important for maintaining your nonprofit’s legal compliance.

Step 5: Incorporate the Nonprofit

The next step in starting your Hawaii nonprofit corporation is to formally incorporate your organization with the Hawaii Secretary of State. Incorporation establishes your nonprofit as a separate legal entity and provides limited liability protection for its board members and officers. To incorporate your nonprofit, follow these steps:

Prepare the Articles of Incorporation

The Articles of Incorporation is the legal document formally establishing your nonprofit corporation. This document should include your organization’s name, purpose, Resident Agent, and principal office address. Be sure to follow your state’s specific requirements for the content and format of the Articles of Incorporation.

File the Articles of Incorporation

Once your Articles of Incorporation is complete, please submit them to the Hawaii Secretary of State’s office, along with any required filing fees. The filing process may vary depending on your state, but it typically involves mailing or submitting the documents online. Keep a copy of the filed Articles of Incorporation for your records.

Filing Articles of Incorporation in Hawaii may be done with four ways, online, by mail, fax, and email. The Articles of Incorporation fee may vary from different state. However, in Hawaii, it costs $50 for filing online, by mail, fax, or by email.

  • Online Filing: Get the online form from Secretary of State, fill it up, and submit. Don’t refresh the page during the process. It will erase everything. Email it to [email protected].
  • Offline filing: Send the form by mail to Office of the Secretary of State, 450 N 4th Street, P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0080 or Fax it to (808) 586-2733.

Step 6: Apply for State and Federal Tax Exemptions

Your organization may be eligible for state and federal tax exemptions as a nonprofit corporation. Obtaining tax-exempt status can save your nonprofit money and make it more attractive to potential donors. To apply for tax exemptions, follow these steps:

Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An EIN in Hawaii is a unique number the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assigns to your organization. You’ll need this number to apply for tax-exempt status and open a bank account for your nonprofit. You can obtain an EIN by completing the online application on the IRS website or submitting Form SS-4 by mail or fax.

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Apply for Federal Tax-Exempt Status (501(c)(3))

To apply for federal tax-exempt status, you’ll need to complete and submit Form 1023 or Form 1023-EZ, depending on the size and complexity of your organization. This application requires detailed information about your nonprofit’s finances, governance, and programs. Be prepared to provide supporting documentation, including your bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, and financial projections. You’ll also need to pay a filing fee, which varies depending on the size of your organization and the form you submit.

Apply for Hawaii Tax-Exempt Status

In addition to federal tax-exempt status, your nonprofit may be eligible for state tax exemptions. The process for applying for state tax-exempt status varies by state, so research your specific state’s requirements and procedures. This may involve submitting additional forms, documentation, and fees to the Hawaii Department of Taxation.

Step 7: Obtain the Necessary Licenses and Permits

Depending on your nonprofit’s activities and location, you may need to obtain various licenses and permits to operate legally—research local, state, and federal requirements and apply for any necessary licenses and permits. Be sure to maintain compliance by renewing licenses and permits as needed and staying up-to-date on any regulation changes.

Step 8: Develop a Fundraising Plan and Strategy

Fundraising is critical to the success of your Hawaii nonprofit corporation, providing the financial resources needed to carry out your mission and programs. Develop a comprehensive fundraising plan that outlines your goals, strategies, and timelines for raising funds. This plan should include various funding sources, such as grants, donations, and special events. Create marketing materials and strategies to promote your nonprofit’s fundraising efforts and engage potential supporters.

Step 9: Open a Bank Account for the Nonprofit

With your legal and financial foundations in place, it’s time to open a bank account for your nonprofit corporation. Choose a bank that offers services tailored to nonprofits and provides the features and support your organization needs. To open an account, you’ll typically need to provide your EIN, Articles of Incorporation, bylaws, and a resolution authorizing the account opening. Establish proper financial controls and procedures to ensure responsible management of the organization’s funds.

You can check out the Hawaii Best Banks to know which bank will suit your nonprofit corporation.

Step 10: Establish Record-Keeping Systems

Effective record-keeping and reporting are essential for maintaining your nonprofit’s legal and financial compliance and demonstrating transparency and accountability to your supporters. Set up systems for tracking financial transactions, maintaining records of your organization’s activities, and reporting to the IRS, state, and other relevant agencies. Stay up-to-date on reporting requirements and deadlines to ensure your nonprofit remains in good standing. Hiring a CPA in Hawaii for this reporting system is best.

Step 11: Launch and Promote the Nonprofit

With your Hawaii nonprofit corporation officially established and your financial and legal foundations in place, it’s time to launch your organization and begin making a difference in your community. Develop a marketing plan to promote your nonprofit’s mission and services, including creating a website, social media presence, and other marketing materials. Network with other nonprofits, community organizations, and stakeholders to build partnerships and collaborations to strengthen your organization’s impact.

Step 12: Ongoing Compliance and Management

Starting a nonprofit corporation is just the beginning – maintaining your organization’s legal and financial compliance is an ongoing responsibility. Stay informed about changes in nonprofit laws and regulations, file required Annual Reports and financial statements, and regularly review and update your bylaws, policies, and procedures as needed. Foster positive relationships with board members, volunteers, and supporters to ensure your nonprofit’s continued success.

Cost of Forming a Nonprofit Corporation in Hawaii

In forming a nonprofit corporation in Hawaii, the filing and Annual fees must be paid. Without it, your nonprofit corporation won’t operate. In Hawaii, the nonprofit costs $50 for filing online, by mail, fax, or by email, and should file an Annual Report. You should ensure you comply with all the necessary fees and costs so your Hawaii nonprofit corporation will run successfully and smoothly.

Is Forming a Nonprofit Corporation in Hawaii Worth It?

Forming a nonprofit corporation in Hawaii can be worth it if you are dedicated to a specific cause and prepared to meet the challenges and responsibilities of running a nonprofit organization. It is essential to carefully consider your goals and resources and consult with a Business Attorney in Hawaii or other professionals experienced in nonprofit formation and management to ensure that you are making the best decision for your situation.

FAQs

What is a non-profit corporation?
A non-profit corporation is a type of organization that is established for charitable or educational purposes, as opposed to making a profit.
What are the benefits of starting a non-profit in Hawaii?
Some of the benefits of starting a non-profit in Hawaii include tax-exempt status, eligibility for grants and other funding opportunities, and recognition from the community as an organization that is committed to making a difference in the world.
How do I start a non-profit corporation in Hawaii?
To start a non-profit corporation in Hawaii, you will need to file incorporation documents with the Secretary of State’s office, obtain tax-exempt status from the IRS, and comply with any applicable state and federal regulations.
Can anyone start a non-profit in Hawaii?
Yes, anyone can start a non-profit in Hawaii as long as the organization meets the eligibility requirements for tax-exempt status set forth by the IRS and complies with state and federal laws.
How long does it take to start a non-profit in Hawaii?
The time it takes to start a non-profit in Hawaii can vary depending on a number of factors, including the complexity of the organization’s goals and structure, the amount of time and resources available for the founder(s) to commit, and the workload of state and federal agencies.
What are the first steps to start a non-profit in Hawaii?
The first steps to start a non-profit in Hawaii are to research the organization’s mission and purpose, create a board of directors, develop a business plan, and file incorporation documents with the Secretary of State’s office.
What is the process involved in obtaining tax-exempt status for a non-profit in Hawaii?
The process of obtaining tax-exempt status for a non-profit in Hawaii involves completing and submitting an application to the IRS, which may require additional documentation and information to verify the non-profit’s eligibility.
Is there an advantage to being a 501c3 non-profit in Hawaii?
Yes, being a 501c3 non-profit in Hawaii provides significant advantages, including tax-exempt status, eligibility for grants and other funding opportunities, and recognition from the community as an organization committed to making a difference in the world.
What are the eligibility requirements for 501c3 tax exempt status in Hawaii?
The eligibility requirements for 501c3 tax-exempt status in Hawaii include having a charitable, educational, scientific, religious, or literary purpose, benefitting a broad and diverse public interest, and having limitations on private benefits and political activities.
Can a non-profit in Hawaii pay its directors or officers?
Yes, a non-profit in Hawaii can pay its directors or officers as long as the payments are reasonable and tied to legitimate business expenses.
Are non-profits in Hawaii required to have a physical location?
No, non-profits in Hawaii are not required to have a physical location, but they do need to have a mailing address and a registered agent located in the state.
Can members of a non-profit in Hawaii profit from their involvement with the organization?
No, members of a non-profit in Hawaii cannot profit from their involvement with the organization, as the organization must be operated exclusively for charitable, educational, scientific, literary, or other similar purposes.
What are the ongoing requirements for non-profits in Hawaii?
Ongoing requirements for non-profits in Hawaii include filing annual reports, maintaining accurate financial records, holding regular board meetings, and complying with state and federal regulations.
Can I start a non-profit in Hawaii by myself?
Yes, a non-profit in Hawaii can be started by a single person; however, it is generally recommended to have a board of directors to provide oversight and support for the organization.
Can non-profits in Hawaii conduct fundraising activities?
Yes, non-profits in Hawaii can conduct fundraising activities as long as they are compliant with state and federal regulations governing charitable solicitations.
What should I name my non-profit in Hawaii?
When naming a non-profit in Hawaii, it is important to choose a name that accurately reflects the organization’s purpose and mission and is not already in use by another entity in the state.
Do non-profits in Hawaii have to pay taxes?
Non-profits in Hawaii are generally exempt from paying federal and state income taxes, but they may be required to pay other taxes such as sales tax or property tax.
Can I use a lawyer to help me start a non-profit in Hawaii?
Yes, it is recommended to use a lawyer to help you start a non-profit in Hawaii, as they can provide legal advice and assistance with filing paperwork and complying with state and federal regulations.
Is registering a non-profit in Hawaii expensive?
The costs associated with registering a non-profit in Hawaii can vary depending on the organization’s structure and needs, but generally, they are not considered to be highly expensive.
Can I register a non-profit in Hawaii online?
Yes, you can register a non-profit in Hawaii online through the Secretary of State’s website.
Are there any loans or discounts available for non-profits in Hawaii?
Yes, there may be loans and discounts available for non-profits in Hawaii through state and local organizations, as well as national programs specifically for non-profits.
Does Hawaii have any specific requirements for non-profits compared to other states?
Hawaii does have some specific requirements for non-profits, such as the Hawaii Nonprofit Corporations Act and the business registration requirements enforced by the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.
How can I find resources for starting a non-profit in Hawaii?
Some resources for starting a non-profit in Hawaii include consulting with local non-profit organizations or professionals, using online guides and resources, and attending workshops or seminars offered by the state or local organizations.
Can a for-profit business convert to a non-profit in Hawaii?
Yes, a for-profit business can convert to a non-profit in Hawaii if it meets the eligibility requirements for tax-exempt status and goes through the proper legal process.
Are there any specific laws related to soliciting donations for a non-profit in Hawaii?
Yes, Hawaii has laws governing the solicitation of charitable donations, which require certain disclosures and registration with the Attorney General’s office.
Can I start a non-profit to help a specific individual or family in Hawaii?
No, a non-profit in Hawaii must be run for the benefit of the general public, rather than for the benefit of a specific individual or family.
Can I run a non-profit out of my home in Hawaii?
Yes, a non-profit in Hawaii can be operated out of a private residence as long as it complies with any applicable zoning and licensing laws.
What happens if a non-profit in Hawaii does not comply with state or federal regulations?
If a non-profit in Hawaii does not comply with state or federal regulations, it may face penalties, fines, or loss of tax-exempt status.
What is a non-profit corporation in Hawaii?
A non-profit corporation in Hawaii is a legal entity that is exempt from paying certain federal and state taxes because it is organized and operated for community, educational, religious, or other charitable purposes.
How much does it cost to start a non-profit corporation in Hawaii?
The filing fee for articles of incorporation with the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs is currently $50.
What are the requirements for incorporating a non-profit in Hawaii?
Some of the requirements for incorporating a non-profit in Hawaii include having a board of directors, adopting bylaws, and obtaining tax-exempt status from the IRS.
How long does it take to incorporate a non-profit in Hawaii?
The processing time for articles of incorporation in Hawaii is typically about a week, but it can take longer if additional information is needed or if there are delays in processing.
What is the process for getting tax-exempt status for a non-profit corporation in Hawaii?
To get tax-exempt status for a non-profit corporation in Hawaii, you need to file an exemption application with the IRS.
What are the benefits of having tax-exempt status in Hawaii?
The benefits of having tax-exempt status in Hawaii include being exempt from certain federal and state taxes and being able to receive tax-deductible donations from individuals and companies.
What types of non-profit corporations can be formed in Hawaii?
Hawaii allows for non-profit corporations that operate for charitable, education, religious, or scientific purposes, among others.
What is the name requirement to incorporate a non-profit corporation in Hawaii?
When incorporating a non-profit corporation in Hawaii, the name must include the words “corporation,” “incorporated,” or “company.”
What is the first step in forming a non-profit corporation in Hawaii?
The first step in forming a non-profit corporation in Hawaii is to select a business name that is not already in use.
Can you incorporate a non-profit in Hawaii if you are not a resident of the state?
Yes, you can incorporate a non-profit corporation in Hawaii even if you are not a resident of the state.
How do I determine if my organization is eligible for Hawaii tax-exempt status?
To determine if your organization is eligible for Hawaii tax-exempt status, you should review Hawaii law and consult with a tax professional.
Does forming a non-profit corporation in Hawaii require a lawyer?
It is not required to have a lawyer to form a non-profit corporation in Hawaii, but it can be helpful to consult with one to ensure that the incorporation process is successful.
What happens after I file articles of incorporation for my non-profit in Hawaii?
After you file articles of incorporation for your non-profit corporation in Hawaii, you will need to obtain an EIN from the IRS and open a bank account.
How do I obtain an EIN for my non-profit corporation in Hawaii?
To obtain an EIN for your non-profit corporation in Hawaii, you can apply online through the IRS website.
How soon can I begin fundraising after incorporating my non-profit corporation in Hawaii?
You can begin fundraising for your non-profit corporation in Hawaii as soon as you receive tax-exempt status from the IRS.
What are some common mistakes to avoid when starting a non-profit corporation in Hawaii?
Some common mistakes to avoid when starting a non-profit corporation in Hawaii include not having a clear mission statement, not having a solid business plan, and not obtaining tax-exempt status from the IRS.
What are some resources that can help me as I start my non-profit corporation in Hawaii?
Some resources that can help you as you start your non-profit corporation in Hawaii include the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and the Hawaii Non-Profit Council.
When is it necessary to register my non-profit with the Hawaii Attorney General?
It is necessary to register your non-profit with the Hawaii Attorney General if you plan to solicit donations from the public.
Can I change the name of my non-profit corporation after it has been incorporated in Hawaii?
Yes, you can change the name of your non-profit corporation in Hawaii by filing a Name Change Amendment with the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.
What is a Certificate of Good Standing for my non-profit corporation in Hawaii?
A Certificate of Good Standing for your non-profit corporation in Hawaii is a certificate that indicates that your corporation is up-to-date on all required filings and is in compliance with state requirements.
How often do non-profit corporations in Hawaii need to file annual reports?
Non-profit corporations in Hawaii need to file annual reports with the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs every year.
Can the board members of a non-profit corporation in Hawaii be held personally liable for the corporation’s debts?
In general, the board members of a non-profit corporation in Hawaii cannot be held personally liable for the corporation’s debts.
Does a non-profit corporation in Hawaii need to have employees?
A non-profit corporation in Hawaii does not need to have employees, but if it does, it must comply with all state and federal employment laws.
What is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation?
A 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation is a non-profit organization that is exempt from federal taxes because of its charitable, religious, educational, or scientific purposes.
How do I qualify for 501(c)(3) status for my non-profit corporation in Hawaii?
To qualify for 501(c)(3) status for your non-profit corporation in Hawaii, you need to file an exemption application with the IRS and meet certain requirements.
Can a non-profit corporation in Hawaii engage in political activity?
Non-profit corporations in Hawaii can engage in some forms of political activity, but it must be limited in scope and cannot be a substantial part of the corporation’s activities.
How do I dissolve my non-profit corporation in Hawaii?
To dissolve your non-profit corporation in Hawaii, you need to file Articles of Dissolution with the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

Also Read

Why You Should Start Hawaii Nonprofit

One of the key reasons to start a nonprofit in Hawaii is the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of its residents. Whether you are passionate about helping the homeless population, protecting the environment, or promoting arts and culture, a nonprofit organization provides a platform to address issues that are close to your heart. By mobilizing resources and rallying volunteers, you can create tangible change in the communities you serve.

Furthermore, starting a nonprofit in Hawaii can be a deeply rewarding experience on a personal level. The sense of fulfillment that comes from knowing you are making a positive impact in the lives of others is unparalleled. It offers an opportunity for personal growth and leadership development as you navigate the challenges and opportunities that come with running a nonprofit organization. The skills and experiences gained through this endeavor can be invaluable and applicable in various aspects of your life.

Nonprofits in Hawaii also benefit from a strong sense of community support. Hawaiians are known for their spirit of aloha and willingness to come together to support worthwhile causes. Whether through donations, volunteerism, or partnerships, the community in Hawaii is often eager to support the work of nonprofit organizations that are making a difference in their backyard. This sense of solidarity and shared purpose can be a powerful motivator for those looking to start a nonprofit in Hawaii.

Moreover, Hawaii offers a unique and diverse environment that can inspire innovative approaches to addressing social issues. From the pristine beaches and lush forests to the bustling cityscapes, Hawaii provides a wealth of resources that can be leveraged to create sustainable solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing society today. By tapping into the natural beauty and cultural richness of Hawaii, nonprofits can find creative ways to engage communities and drive meaningful change.

In conclusion, starting a nonprofit in Hawaii can be a deeply fulfilling and impactful endeavor. By harnessing the natural beauty, cultural richness, and spirit of aloha that define the islands, nonprofit organizations have the potential to make a lasting and meaningful difference in the lives of individuals and communities. If you are passionate about making a positive impact and creating change in Hawaii, starting a nonprofit may be the next step towards realizing your vision and leaving a legacy of compassion and service. So why wait? Take the first step towards starting a nonprofit in Hawaii today.

Conclusion

Starting a nonprofit corporation is a rewarding and challenging endeavor that requires careful planning, dedication, and a thorough understanding of the various legal and financial requirements. By following the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide, you’ll be well on your way to creating a nonprofit that makes a meaningful difference in your community. As you embark on this journey, remember to stay focused on your mission and your organization’s impact on the lives of those you serve. Never underestimate the power of a passionate, committed team working together to improve the world.

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