I launched freeCodeCamp in late 2014 as an open source project. On paper, freeCodeCamp was just me — a 30-something teacher coding in his closet — with no legal entity behind it.
But as millions of people started to use the learning platform, two things became clear:
- A lot of people were learning how to code through freeCodeCamp.org and the community that had sprung up around it. Thousands of people were getting their first developer jobs, and many more were getting raises and promotions as a result of their new skills.
- If some of these people could donate even a few dollars each month, we could afford to improve freeCodeCamp much faster than if I continued to pay for everything out of my own personal savings.
So in early 2017, we formally registered freeCodeCamp as a US-based nonprofit and started accepting donations.
Today, more than 3,000 people donate to freeCodeCamp each month, providing us with a growing budget to pay for servers, wages, and other expenses.
And yesterday, after a lengthy application process, the US Internal Revenue Service declared that freeCodeCamp is a public charity, and granted us 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.
This is a huge milestone for the freeCodeCamp community. And its implications are huge.
For starters: every donation that you all have ever made to freeCodeCamp — and all of your future donations — are now tax deductible.
What freeCodeCamp’s public charity status means for you
When you’re doing your 2017 US taxes, you may be able to reduce your total tax bill by claiming donations you made to freeCodeCamp in 2017 as deductions.
And any donations you make this year will be tax-deductible on your 2018 US taxes, as well.
Also, If your employer has a donation matching program, you may be able to get them to match your donations to freeCodeCamp.
And if your employer has a volunteer hour match program, you may even be able to get paid for contributing your time and talent to the freeCodeCamp community. That’s right — your employer may let you work on freeCodeCamp while on the clock and getting paid.
What this means for the greater freeCodeCamp community
Now that donations are tax deductible, even more people will be able to donate. This will give us more resources to pay for servers and create more learning resources. We’ll even have the resources to hire long-time contributors to work on freeCodeCamp full time.
This may also give us new options for helping support the thousands of local freeCodeCamp study groups around the world.
A huge thank you is in order
It’s been a long road to public charity status. And we’ve had a lot of help along the way.
Kyle Mitchell worked as a developer before attending law school and studying intellectual property law. After working at firms in Silicon Valley, he went into private practice. He has helped freeCodeCamp pro bono since 2015, and was instrumental in our successful 501(c)(3) application.
And most importantly, I want to thank all of the campers who’ve supported us over the years and helped us get to this point.
We have some amazing improvements in store for early 2018. Your donations are helping us expand the community and all these learning resources much faster than would otherwise be possible.
If you haven’t started donating to freeCodeCamp.org yet, you should join our community of supporters and set up a monthly donation you can afford.
Thanks for your support, and happy coding!