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IRS approves World’s Greatest Hobby as a charity

By Hal Miller
Published: August 3, 2011

The Internal Revenue Service has approved World’s Greatest Hobby Inc. (WGH) as a non-profit public charity, giving it 501(c)(3) status. The new status means contributions to the entity are tax-deductible.

WGH Executive Director Dave Swanson says he thinks the charitable status will be useful in several ways. It will allow “individuals, companies and organizations to make tax-deductible contributions, which will be used to promote model railroading.” Additionally, it will allow the organization to purchase media and supplies at a discount and may convince media outlets of the value of covering a story on the WGH, because of the increased credibility of a non-profit charity project.

He adds, “Lastly, I think the formation of a corporation with charitable status gives a permanence to the program, so that it will be around for many years helping create new model railroaders.”

WGH President Terry Thompson said, “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Dave Swanson for all his help with this process. We’re very pleased to have reached this milestone, which will open the door to other opportunities. World’s Greatest Hobby remains a unique example of an industry and its customers working together to promote a hobby.”

WGH works with associations, clubs and hobby stores to promote model railroading to the public. Its outreach efforts include the World’s Greatest Hobby On Tour shows and The program’s primary sponsors are Atlas Model Railroad Co., Bachmann Trains, Kato, Wm. K.Walthers and Kalmbach Publishing Co. (publishers of Model Railroader and Model Retailer magazines). Additional sponsors include Digitrax and Caboose Industries.