Nonprofit Law/Earmarked funds

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Question
I have been a part of a church (501 c3 organization). We have been in existence for about 20 years. Through the years we have asked for funds for a building fund to be used at a later date. Along the way we have used some of those funds. Many people who gave have left and some have died...  Many we are uncertain where they are. Out of state etc.  Due to difficult times the church may need to close. Can we disperse the funds on an as needs basis: for other bills, etc. Or what recourse do we have with these earmarked funds?

Answer
I am assuming from what you wrote, that the church never signed an agreement with the donors that, if the funds were not used for the building fund, they would be returned to the donors.  Please confirm.  Also let me know whether the church is an Ohio Nonprofit Corporation. After you give me that information I will reply further.

Harvey Mechanic, Attorney at Law -
Harvey108@hotmail.com

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.  

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Harvey Mechanic

Expertise

I am an attorney and I volunteer time to answer general questions about U.S. Federal income tax issues of nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charities only. Those questions could be about establishing and maintaining legal requirements for such non-profit organizations in the United States, including Internal Revenue service filings and requirements. I will not be working on this free forum to answer questions about Nonprofit's possible unrelated or for-profit businesses or how to fill out forms. This forum is only for general questions about federal tax law, not as the law applies to your specific situation. If you do not make your question public then I will not be spending much of my donated time on answers that would not benefit the public. If you have other questions, please contact me at Harvey108@hotmail.com I will reply from my email. In any case, do not reveal confidential information to me until after I have contracted with you to provide personal legal services. My responses on this forum are intended to be general statements of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, and do not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather extensive information about the situation. To search my previous answers you can do a Google search by "site:allexperts.com/q/nonprofit" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.

Experience

I have been practicing law and especially the law of nonprofit organizations since 1990 when I was admitted to the New York Bar and I have maintained my status with the Bar since that time.

Education/Credentials

B.S. Columbia University in New York City, 1970

J.D. (Law Degree) Brooklyn Law School, 1990 -- Cum Laude.


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