A group raising money to promote Ridgefield — its arts, culture, restaurants, and businesses — with a goal of encouraging visitors to town, increasing tourism and trade, has town officials’ support. But the selectmen aren’t sure whether the Marketing Initiative Project, led by village retailer and landlord Wayne Addessi, qualifies as a tax-exempt charity that would fit under the umbrella of the “Friends of Ridgefield” organization.
The Friends of Ridgefield has tax-exempt status, allowing people to donate to it and take tax deductions on their gifts. It has had about a dozen member organizations — such as CHIRP, which puts on concerts in the park, the Ridgefield Independent Film Festival, and the Ridgefield Holiday Trust Fund, which finances the Halloween Walk and Main Street’s holiday lights. Membership allows them to accept tax-deductible contributions under the Friends of Ridgefield umbrella, and also gives them access to some town support in the from of bookkeeping by the town finance department.