The decision, first shared with The Associated Press Monday, begins the 25-year-old's plan for the unprecedented outpouring of support that he received after his heart stopped following a tackle during a 'Monday Night Football' game in January.
'We have been very deliberate and intentional about taking our time to set my charity up properly,' Hamlin said in a statement. 'I'm excited to begin sharing news about programs we are creating to impact a generation of youth and give back to others.'
That people continue to give weekly, if not daily, to the fundraiser is just one measure of the emotional power and connection that Hamlin has with so many.
So far, they've given more than $9 million to a GoFundMe campaign and nearly a million to a second online fundraiser set up by The Giving Back Fund, a nonprofit which helps athletes and celebrities manage their charitable giving, according to Kelley Denny, a spokesperson for Hamlin's charity.
Hamlin's marketing representative said in January that his family had arranged for The Giving Back Fund to act as a fiscal sponsor for the funds given to GoFundMe, which allowed Hamlin's team to fundraise as a charitable entity.
At the time, Hamlin's team said the millions given to the GoFundMe would eventually be transferred to The Giving Back Fund, but they have not been.
Last week, the news outlet Sportico reported on turmoil within The Giving Back Fund in part sparked by the question of whether gifts to Hamlin's GoFundMe are charitable donations.
Marc Pollick, CEO of The Giving Back Fund, disputed the accuracy of Sportico's reporting in a statement and said the organization's leadership 'has always operated ethically, appropriately, and legally.'
'My charity is not connected to the challenges being faced by the leadership of The Giving Back Fund,' Hamlin said in the statement, adding, 'Donors will have full tax-exempt status.'
Hamlin first started Chasing M's Foundation in May 2020 when he was still a student playing with the University of Pittsburgh and applied last month for retroactive tax-exempt status, according to Denny. It was incorporated as a nonprofit in Pennsylvania.
Experts say the question of whether the donors can claim a tax deduction for what they gave to the GoFundMe after his injury may depend on decisions by the IRS.
Philadelphia attorney Don Kramer, who edits the website Nonprofit Issues, said the IRS has the discretion to retroactively recognize Hamlin's nonprofit as tax exempt.