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What does the IRS have to do with SDL?

What does the IRS have to do with Self-Directed Learning, and why am I writing about tax deductible donations on the blog page for the International Society for Self-Directed learning?

Let’s start with Self-Directed Learning (SDL). If you are a frequent visitor to this site, then you know the value of SDL in business, education, medicine, and society in general. You know the value employers place on self-directed learners. And you know the International Society for Self-Directed Learning (ISDSL) is a leader in promoting SDL in institutions and individuals.

Why is this important to me? Years ago, while leading a small non-profit organization serving underserved children, I realized I didn’t know enough about the accounting and tax reporting process to be as effective as I could be. Self-direction skills helped me to learn how to form a non-profit organization and obtain tax-exempt status from the IRS. As is a typical of self-directed learners, I did research, sought out experts, and took courses to become more knowledgeable. With the new information, I was able to create a new tax-exempt non-profit supporting.

Later, after relocation and a career change took me into K-12 education, there was another recognition of the need to acquire new skills, to deal with the demands of the modern classroom and student. Once again, SDL became a factor, and enrollment in an Educational Leadership program the solution. In short, that is where the connection to the ISDSL and its leadership was cemented. It is a privilege to serve on the ISDSL Board and several committees. My personal experiences combined with a high esteem and respect for the ISDSL organization and leadership convinced me that another IRS non-profit registration was in order. After consultation with the Board, the forms were completed and submitted, and the IRS approved.

What does this mean to you? It means several new ways of supporting the ISDSL are now open. First, any contribution you make to support the organization is now tax deductible as allowed by law. Second, the methods of making donations are expanded. Planned giving, including through endowments, wills and trusts, and gifts of stock, insurance, and other properties are now allowed. Donors may choose to direct their contributions to support specific areas, such as the annual Symposium, the Journal, or grants designated for scholarship and research. For more specific information, see the IRS Publication on Charitable Contribution, or contact your tax advisor.

From our bylaws, the purpose of the ISDSL is to promote, support, and contribute to research on self-directed learning internationally; to provide a forum for programs, presentations and publications representative of fundamental interests and concerns to self-directed learners and researchers; and, to aid in the development and advancement of the discipline. We do this by promoting the inclusion of self-directed learning in the education process; influencing education and educational practice through public relations and other activities as appropriate; and promoting and encouraging collaborative relationships with national and international organizations related to self-directed learning.

If these goals are important to you, consider contributing to the ISDSL. You or your organization can be a sponsor for the annual International Symposium on Self-Directed Learning by using form on our website: or simply make a donation to the ISDSL.

Thanks for your time and consideration!

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