starting a nonprofit

Testing out the kinks before entering the rink: Taking the road less traveled when embarking on the nonprofit journey

posted by
Melissa Lopez, CNP,


Many individuals start off already knowing their purpose, having several ideas for a nonprofit, or even believing that they need to jump on filling out Form 1023 as soon as all parties agree on a mission. Well, my journey was a little different. In fact, it was a little backwards. I started a community organization that, by choice, has yet to be registered. But before I jump into why I have made the decision to hold off on registering my wonderful organization as a 501(c)(3), I think I should give you some background on the little gem.

Let me take you back to March 2012. During that month my friend Magui and I had both received some very unpleasant news about our health condition. Apparently our M&M nickname went from “Mel and Mags” to Medical Mystery! We were both frustrated with the fact that although we led very active lives and were at the top of our physical goals, our immune system always appeared to say the opposite.

Well, because we both felt the most invincible when we ran, and because we wanted a way to feel like we were getting back at our ridiculous immune system, we decided to sign up for our first full marathon. We agreed that no matter how bad the diagnoses or the news, illness would always have to try its hardest to catch us!  That night we discussed starting a Facebook page to document our training and gain our friend’s emotional support, but our random spurts of creative ideas led us to something bigger. Creating a community of kindness by getting runners together, with those who did not know they loved running yet, became our calling.