Get SPARSA Funded for 501c3 Status!

UPDATE 01/06/2020
We hit our second funding goal! The update contains some more info, but we added another $500 goal to donate to this year's ISTS. Please check out for more info, but this will help the RIT folks with equipment setup and food for competitors.

UPDATE 01/02/2020
Holy cow! We hit our funding goal in less than 24 hours! Thank you EVERYONE who has donated. To keep this momentum going, Im adding an additional goal on top of our 501c3 funding goal (which is now complete) for a professional branding kit. This will allow us to hire a professional designer to create a logo, custom font, color scheme and the associated CSS and images for a slick, professional feel for SPARSA. Again, THANK YOU EVERYONE!

The Security Practices and Research Students Association (SPARSA) was one of the original information security college clubs in the world. For example, the earliest snapshot on the WayBack Machine was in October of 2002!">

The mission statement on the homepage of SPARSA in 2002 still rings true today:

"The Security Practices and Research Student Association is a RIT student run organization that addresses security-related issues and how these issues affect multiple majors and disciplines. The ultimate goal of this organization is to provide students with experience and co-op and employment opportunities in security related fields."

RIT now has the RITSEC club, which was a merger of SPARSA and a number of other security clubs. Although the mission remains virtually the same, many SPARSA members have graduated and are doing great things in industry!

The community within SPARSA and RITSEC is strong, and RITSEC serves as a fundamental building block for current students at RIT. But what about after RIT? With so many alumni of the program and the club, we believe that it is time to make something more.. well, official, for SPARSA/RITSEC alumni. 

What better way to foster the original SPARSA mission, but with professionals, than a non-profit? Members and donators can take advantage of the many benefits of a 501c3. With alumni backing, we can set up an entity to allow better independent research opportunities.

So, in order to get this started, we need some funding to get off the ground. We will be registering "SPARSA" or, The Security Practices and Research Scholar's Association, in Maryland as a 501c3. Luckily, Maryland has a website and services set up to bootstrap a non-profit.

For our original goal, we will be aiming to raise $2,020 to help offset the personal costs of setting up the non-profit. This money will include a startup package with the Maryland Non-profits association (legal fees, drafting of documents), articles of incorporation filing and a 1023 filing fee. Any additional cash will be used to setup bank accounts, donation sites, web hosting and logo design (a SPARSA globe redesign perhaps?).

We will be announcing more news and information on here and on We will also be announcing news and updates at our unofficial official meetup at Shmoocon with RIT Alumni Office and RITSEC.

Is this just for alumni of RIT?

Nope! This will be open to all security practitioners and researchers. But, a lot of our support comes from this network :) 

Who's doing this?

- As of now, Zack Allen (RIT 2012) will be spearheading this campaign as well as working with Maryland nonprofits. He will also be working with other alumni to help with funding, drafting bylaws and a board selection.
- Chaim Sanders (RIT 2013)
- Kirk Pinto (RIT 2012)
- Rusty Bower (RIT 2012)
- Ben Kelley (RIT 2014)
- Bryan Harmat (RIT 2016)
- Brandon Myers (RIT 2013)
- Tyler Fornes (RIT 2014, 2016)
- Garry Sallman (MCC 12, RIT 14, U Phoenix 16)
- Bo Yuan (RIT infosec emperor)

and a myriad of others!

Board of Directors

- Every 501c3 needs a board of directors. Actually, the IRS requires it! We will be reaching out to those who have helped keep the SPARSA tradition alive, whether it has been helping with alumni relations, ISTS (RIT's yearly cybersecurity competition), CCDC and organizing smaller meetups. We will announce a board and will be ratifying bylaws during our first board meeting.

Mission Statement / what are you trying to do?

Currently, many alumni projects or relationships are being self funded through the hard work and dedication of our members. We plan to use SPARSA as a way to help fund projects, for example, to buy software/hardware or cloud space, for members or college students. We will also use donations as a way to fund local events and provide support to furthering cybersecurity education for the masses.

How can I help?

Even a donation of $5-$10 goes a LONG way. If you cant donate, no worries! Amplify our message and share this page on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and spam your parents, grandparents and ex's. 

Once funded, what will you plan to do?

We will first setup a Board, mission statements and bylaws. Afterwards, we will work on a redesign of the SPARSA brand and launch a website. We will then setup ways for people to donate and become SPARSA "members", and setup special email addresses and a Slack server/Discord for coordination. From there, we will set up ways to provide funding for projects, special events and scholarships to conferences!

New Cash Goal $3020, for a Branding Kit

Since we hit our original goal so fast (thank you everyone), I am adding an additional $1000 for hiring a designer for a branding kit. Branding is always important for any non-profit, and having a slick professional looking brand means people will take you more seriously, and it shows good attention to detail and professionalism. A typical job for one is $1000, so anything past our original goal will go towards this next huge step for SPARSA.
  • Ryan Peck 
    • $100 
    • 19 mos
  • Kayla Green 
    • $100 
    • 22 mos
  • Benjamin Kelley 
    • $200 
    • 23 mos
  • Bryan Harmat 
    • $100 
    • 23 mos
  • Christopher Bower 
    • $500 
    • 23 mos
See all


Zack Allen 
Baltimore, MD
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