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Des Moines Historical Society Earns 501c3 Tax Exempt Status

Posted February 05, 2014 in Des Moines West, Downtown, Community Web Exclusives

DES MOINES –Des Moines history will continue to have a growing voice now that the Des Moines Historical Society has been granted non-profit 501(c)(3) status, making all donations fully tax-deductible, retroactive to May 15, 2013.

With the mission to promote the preservation and study of the history and heritage of Des Moines, Iowa, DMHS has worked to increase its presence and voice in matters of historical significance to the city of Des Moines. One of the biggest goals of the organization is to operate a museum dedicated solely to Des Moines history.

“A museum for Des Moines history is an absolute must,” said Sarah Oltrogge, DMHS president. “Many people confuse the State Historical Museum of Iowa as the ‘Des Moines Museum,’ but the focus there is statewide. We want a place where Des Moines residents can be engaged in history specific to them.”

Oltrogge said DMHS’s goal of obtaining nonprofit status has been in the works for a while. In September, the organization will celebrate five years in existence, and becoming a nonprofit was the goal all along. Last spring, DMHS leaders made a more concerted effort to file the application with the Internal Revenue Service. The request was submitted in April, 2013, and notification of nonprofit status was received Jan. 28, a quick turnaround compared to the two year average waiting time for approval.

“As with all nonprofits, fundraising will be essential for our programs and obtaining 501(c)(3) status is a major milestone for the Des Moines Historical Society,” Oltrogge said. “This opens the door for us to expand fundraising activities and will help us achieve our goals to increase the awareness of our city’s history. It gives us a sustainable funding mechanism going into the future to keep our events, programs and membership growing.”

Other plans for the Des Moines Historical Society include starting a scholarship program for high school students, making improvements to the Fort Des Moines II cabin near Principal Park for greater usability, and conducting a needs assessment for DMHS programs and activities. More information about the organization is available at

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