By Mike Sokol
A few weeks ago I announced the incorporation of No~Shock~Zone as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation so I can take my RVelectricity training to the next level. And I also hinted of a seed grant I was promised by a reader to get the process started, whose identity I can now reveal. It’s Charles (Charlie) Davis from RVfinancing.com.
This all started several months ago when I had a call from RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury, who said he knew a business associate who wanted to help support my RVelectricity training efforts. While I do receive dozens of contributions from my regular readers every month, it’s hardly enough to purchase my advanced test gear, let alone afford for me to give gear away to the thousands of RV owners, campgrounds and technicians who need this test equipment but can’t afford to buy it. However, that’s exactly what I’ve been proposing to do, as well as personally visit dozens of rallies and shows across the country, most of which have zero travel and speaker budget for me.
Yes, that’s right… the majority of seminars I’ve presented over the last 3 years have been totally paid for out of my own pocket, even for rallies as large as Alumapalooza. So I paid for my own airplane flights, hotel rooms, campground cottages, rental cars, gasoline, etc., for most of the rallies you may have seen me at.
This also includes several virtual training classes I’ve streamed including the Heartland Rally and FMCA Expo I did a few months ago. In each of these cases I presented my training classes for free, even though I’ve spent thousands of dollars in test gear, as well as gave up my own paying gigs in the process. Sadly, it seems that most RV rallies that really need my help have zero funding to even pay to get me there (sometimes taking place on the other side of the country from my home), let alone pay a speaker’s fee for the days I’m away from my regular job. But I felt it was important for my readers’ education, which is why I did these rallies for free (actually, negative income).
In addition, I’m now developing a pedestal test and maintenance Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for campgrounds that will require each of them to purchase around $500 of test gear for their maintenance staff to use throughout the year. They will also need a lot of training to learn how to properly test and maintain campground pedestals, and know how to keep safe while doing so. But there needs to be some serious grant money for even a statewide pilot program, as this is going to require some serious time and brain power on my part.
If all goes as planned this training schedule will soon become a full-time job for me, meaning I’ll have to give up my other paying jobs. And a little arithmetic shows that it will require at least $100,000 a year in funding to make these type of training programs happen. While there may be some limited funding from a few RV rallies and trade shows, I can’t count on any of it this camping season and possibly the next one as well.
So back to Charlie Davis from RVFinancing.com, who for the last 22 years has been providing financing to thousands of RV owners around the country. Chuck Woodbury called and said that Charlie had been reading my RVelectricity and No~Shock~Zone articles for years, and wanted to help me take it to the next level. So after several hour-long phone conversations between me and Charlie (he says I’m the only guy who can talk as much as he can), I proposed the idea of finally starting a non-profit corporation that could procure state and federal grants as well as accept tax-deductible contributions from individuals and businesses. So I began the process of creating a 501(c)(3) corporation called No Shock Zone, Inc.
All the paperwork with the government is finally complete, a bank account has been set up with the appropriate EIN number, and a 3-person board of directors installed. I’m now listed as the Executive Director of No Shock Zone, Inc., so I won’t have direct control of any spending without the approval of the board. And a few weeks ago Charlie Davis sent a pretty significant check to No Shock Zone, Inc. as seed money. Charlie is now issuing a challenge to RV manufacturers and business owners across the country to have their own Foundations provide grants to No Shock Zone, Inc., because he feels that I’m providing very important safety information and training that’s good for the entire industry, and it needs funding to be able to grow.
With all that said, I’m now applying for a grant from OSHA this July that would allow me to create a pilot training program for campground maintenance staff in a single state. If that’s successful there’s a number of private foundations I can also approach to take this training to more states as well as develop additional training materials for RV technicians. And with sufficient funding I could also show up at more RV rallies and shows next season, both in person and virtually.
So, thank you Chuck for hooking me up with Charlie, and an especially big thank you to Charlie Davis for getting the ball rolling with a seed grant. And if any of you know of a foundation or business that can help provide a grant or tax-deductible contribution to No Shock Zone, Inc., please email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you additional information. Also note that I’ll soon be making my I LIKE MIKE donation campaign part of this 501(c)(3) corporation as well, so your online contributions will be tax deductible beginning September 1, 2020.
Thanks to all of you for your support, and let’s play safe out there….
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
For information on how to support RVelectricity and No~Shock~Zone articles, seminars and videos, please click the I Like Mike Campaign.