While I enjoyed the informality of bikerichmond.org, this meant there was no legal entity that checks could be addressed to, and we did not directly qualify for one mini-grant from the Wayne County Foundation that we could receive if we were a formal non-profit or a government organization.
I shopped around for organizations or city departments that could be a “fiscal sponsor”– someone who would receive checks from supporters and write the check to the printer, but won’t necessarily provide any funds on their own. Such a sponsor organization would also allow us be the recipient of some kinds of grants.
A contact within the city advised me that trying to use a city department for even this expense-free task could add more red tape than it was worth. So, although I would like the map to be a public project of the city, eventually, I continued to work outside the city for now.
Eventually, our local Cope Environmental Center agreed to be an organization sponsor for the project. I was up front them that I expected this to be a short-term arrangement. If Bike Richmond continues to have a financial life, it makes sense to becoming a formal legal entity.