The Magnolia Chamber of Commerce recently announced the formation of the Magnolia Better Together organization after it was officially designated a nonprofit with tax-exempt status.

The Chamber of Commerce and Magnolia Beautification Committee has been pursuing 501 (c) (3) status for this new organization so it can raise funds for charitable purposes, activities and streetscapes, as well as other community development projects, Magnolia Better Together Board President Joan Enticknap said.

“One of our main functions will be to raise money to support these activities,” Enticknap said.

As a nonprofit, Magnolia Better Together can apply for more foundation and government grants that are only given to nonprofits with 501 (c) (3) status, as well as receive tax-deductible donations, Enticknap said.

Currently, the main priority is to broaden funding opportunities for the Reimagine Magnolia Village project, which has completed streetscape projects in the heart of the village shopping area and is raising funds to make further improvements.

“The news of Magnolia Better Together obtaining 501 (c) (3) status gives the Reimagine Magnolia Village project a real boost,” said Cheryl McQuiston, chairperson of the Magnolia Beautification Committee, a part of the Magnolia Chamber of Commerce, in a press release. “We see residents and businesses alike enjoying the streetscape improvements already in place. As we fundraise for Phases II and III, it is an incentive for more donors to invest in the project and know their donations are now tax deductible.”

Enticknap said after the pandemic ends and the nonprofit is better established, the board would like to award funds to different projects in the neighborhood as Magnolia has multiple business districts that could benefit.

“Over time we hope to be raising money through Magnolia Better Together to fund more projects to beautify and revitalize this community,” she said.

Right now, fundraising for the Magnolia Village streetscape project is primarily through word of mouth, posters, letters and newsletters because COVID-19 is making it hard to conduct other fundraising activities, Enticknap said.

“Until the very appropriate prohibitions end and it’s safer, the only thing we’ll be working on is the beautification for the near future,” she said.

The improvements already made in Magnolia Village have been popular.

“I think we’ve gotten really positive feedback from people,” Enticknap said. “The fact that we have these tables, chairs and particularly umbrellas has allowed us to interact with people at a safer distance. It’s turned out to be a huge asset during a time that we can’t really have other activities.”

Magnolia Better Together will also fundraise to support a new Magnolia Chamber Excellence Fund, according to the press release from the Chamber of Commerce.

Tax-deductible donations will be used to support events like ArtWalk, Halloween in the Village and Winterfest.

“We’re looking forward to how the new non-profit will help grow donations for community development projects and events,” Chamber of Commerce President Pat Craft said in the press release. “It’s always a big win for us to support donors who are supporting the place we call home.”

For more information about the Magnolia Chamber of Commerce, or the Reimagine Magnolia Village beautification project, go to www.discovermagnolia.org or www.discovermagnolia.org/mbc.