After six months of waiting, Wellington finally got an answer from the Internal Revenue Service:
Yes, the village can divorce itself from the Wellington Community Foundation and turn the government-run organization into a “wholly separate and independent” not-for-profit charity.
The Village Council voted in December to privatize the foundation but it needed IRS approval to transfer the foundation’s tax-exempt status to the soon-to-be private entity.
Village Attorney Laurie Cohen wrote in a memo to council members this month that the village “recently received IRS approval of the transfer.”
To finalize the separation, the council needs to appoint initial board members to oversee the private charity and adopt new bylaws and articles of incorporation.
That’s expected to happen in July when the council meets for the final time as the foundation’s governing board.
The foundation was established in 2009 by the village to raise money for Wellington capital projects, namely Scott’s Place barrier-free playground and the village’s 9/11 Patriot Memorial.
But Palm Beach County ethics laws enacted since then prohibit the council from raising money on the foundation’s behalf, so the organization fell by the wayside.
When the council met in December, they voted 4-0 to privatize the foundation, rather than dissolve it altogether. Several members said they felt the foundation could still have value in the community.