501(c)(3) Application Sent to the IRS

Our application for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status (Form 1023) has been sent to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). If approved, U.S. taxpayers' donations to us will be tax-deductible, and we will be able to apply for grants and other forms of support only available to tax-exempt organizations. Please note that, if you have already made a donation to us, or make one before we receive 501(c)(3) status, your donation will likely be considered tax-exempt, retroactively, if our application is approved.

The time it takes to process applications apparently varies widely, depending on how much additional information is requested by the IRS. Because there is urgency in providing educational aid to refugees from Darfur, and because we believe this aid qualifies as disaster relief, we have submitted a request for expedited processing of our Form 1023. Below is the actual request, explaining why we think we meet the IRS' criteria for expediting. If/when our application is approved, we will post the entire application, too.

Re: Request for Expedited Processing of Form 1023

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request for expedited processing of Form 1023 for Book Wish Foundation (EIN: 26-1285319). We believe there is compelling reason to expedite because the central purpose of this newly created organization and the focus of its past, present, and planned activities is to provide disaster relief to victims of an emergency. The emergency is the humanitarian crisis in the eastern part of the country of Chad, caused by the civil disaster in the Darfur region of Sudan. This emergency, its recent worsening, and the importance of providing disaster relief to meet the needs created by it have been recognized by the U.S. Government, as explained below. There is also U.S. Government precedent, which we quote, for providing the same type of disaster relief (educational) to the same group of victims, as we will provide.

The President Has Recognized This Emergency

According to the January 31, 2008 fact sheet from the U.S. Department of State entitled, “Additional United States Contribution to Refugees and Conflict Victims in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Africa,” the President has authorized the use of $2 million from the U.S. Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance (ERMA) Fund for “refugees, conflict victims, and humanitarian relief workers in Eastern Chad.” This group includes the victims to whom Book Wish Foundation will provide disaster relief: the more than 60,000 refugees from Darfur living in the Bredjing, Treguine, and Gaga refugee camps in eastern Chad. Since the purpose of the ERMA is to “meet unanticipated refugee and migration emergency needs whenever the President determines that it is important to the national interest to do so,” we believe that the importance of our providing this relief has been recognized at the highest level of the U.S. Government.

Urgency: The Emergency is Worsening

The recent escalation of the emergency in eastern Chad is highlighted by a Travel Warning issued by the U.S. Department of State on February 20, 2008, which advises that “American citizens should defer all travel to Chad due to the unstable security situation throughout the country. On February 14, 2008, citing a need for heightened control over the country, Chadian President Idriss Deby declared a state of emergency in a speech broadcast on national radio and television.” The same Travel Warning recognizes the presence of humanitarian relief efforts in eastern Chad in stating that “U.S. citizens affiliated with humanitarian relief efforts in eastern Chad are strongly urged to coordinate travel plans with UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) security officers.”

The UNHCR maintains a website entitled, “Chad/Darfur Emergency,” devoted to the “Chad-Darfur Humanitarian Crisis.” Two very recent stories in the “Latest News” section of this website also highlight the escalation of the emergency in eastern Chad and its effect on refugees from Darfur.

A February 11, 2008 article entitled, “Thousands of refugees flee Darfur and seek shelter in Chad” begins: “Up to 12,000 people have fled militia attacks in Sudan’s Darfur region over the past few days and sought shelter in neighbouring Chad amid a marked deterioration in the regional military situation.” The article includes a quote from the head of the UNHCR office in Guereda, Chad that “All the new refugees we talked to said they did not want to go back to Darfur at this point, they wanted to be transferred to a refugee camp in eastern Chad.” This may lead to an increase in the number of victims of the emergency to whom we provide disaster relief, and a strain on resources available to victims from other relief organizations.

A February 19, 2008 article entitled, “UNCHR recalls staff from Chad border after air strikes in Darfur” indicated that the influx of refugees from Darfur to eastern Chad was continuing: “As of yesterday, refugees from Darfur were still crossing into Chad.” Thus, despite the fact that the civil disaster in Darfur has been ongoing for several years, the emergency created by the humanitarian crisis in eastern Chad has worsened very recently – within the past month of the date of this letter.

Book Wish Foundation Will Improve Education for Victims of This Emergency, Recognized As Disaster Relief By The U.S. Government

The types of disaster relief we will provide to victims of this emergency are described in Part VIII, line 13b of our application and in more detail in the attached printout of our website. All of our relief improves education for victims of the Darfur civil disaster. We will provide relief in the form of: secondary school textbooks, school supplies, construction of public libraries, reading glasses, English as a Second Language learning and teaching material, and multilingual dictionaries.

Education is considered a “critical service” in Sec. 406 (42 U.S.C. 5172) of the “Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act”.

Provisions for education have been made in disaster relief legislation, such as the “Pell Grant Hurricane and Disaster Relief Act” (H.R. 3169), which considers the effect of disasters on student withdrawals from education institutions. The civil disaster in Darfur has disrupted students’ education as a result of geographic displacement, severe economic hardship, homelessness, and physical and mental injury.

Following Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. Department of Education quickly released almost $2 billion to reopen schools and “to help educate the diaspora of students,” according to the report, “Hurricane Katrina: What Government Is Doing”. We will similarly help to educate the diaspora of students created by the civil disaster in Darfur.

Most importantly, the U.S. government has provided international disaster relief to improve education, such as the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) four-year, $200 million Earthquake Reconstruction Program begun in 2006, that included $13 million to “improve the quality of classroom instruction”, and, as very clear precedent for the relief we will provide, $471,147 given by USAID to the Refugee Education Trust in FY 2005 specifically for “education for adolescent refugees” from Darfur in Eastern Chad, part of the same group of disaster victims we aim to help.


We believe that the U.S. Government has already recognized that 1) the people our distributions will help are victims of a disaster, 2) there are emergency educational needs as a result of this disaster, and 3) meeting these educational needs qualifies as disaster relief. There is special urgency in our work because of the recent worsening of the emergency, and because of the need of students to receive aid in a timely fashion, so that they can advance in grade level at an appropriate rate and not fall behind others of their age. The longer education is delayed or compromised, the greater the victims of this disaster will suffer.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.