A regional group gained approval for tax-exempt status from the IRS.

A regional group that includes Texas and nine counties has cleared a milestone with the approval of not-for-profit status from the IRS.

Contributions to Southern Ozarks Alliance for Rural Development (SOAR) will be tax deductible, according to the federal agency.

The group is focused on improving the educational and economic well-being of the area — from everything from housing and jobs to telecommunications.

Mary Sheid, president of SOAR, thanked Sharon Vaughn, member of the board from Summersville; and other board members, attorney William Swain Perkins, Koshkonong; and banker Joe Garrison, Couch, for their help on the IRS project.

A planning retreat for board members is 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Charles Ferguson building at Willow Springs. Board members are encouraged to attend and bring a guest.

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