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Nonprofit Law/US nonprofit partnering with foreign NGO


We have a US nonprofit that has assisting orphans and the underprivileged around the world as part of its purpose.  It now seems that it will be easier to find good, established NGO's in foreign nations that we can "partner" with (or fund) to accomplish some of our goals, such as starting an orphanage or a school.  This seems to be an easier process than trying to get established in the foreign country ourselves.  What issues need to be considered when helping fund a foreign NGO?  Should some level of control (i.e. board seat) be sought to try and make sure the funds are used as we desire?  Any legal issues we might be missing?  Also, can a foreigner be added to our US nonprofit board?

See the IRS publication at for details about
international grants to and international activities of U.S. exempt
organizations, and, especially page 3-4 about grants to foreign
organizations starting on page 3 at "Deductibility - Control

You do not need a board seat, but that may be helpful. I have in my profile that this free forum is only for general questions relating to IRS federal exemption issues of 501(c)(3) organizations. Your question about a foreigner on the board is controlled by state law and states may differ somewhat with how they would treat such issues. Even though this forum is not for such state law issues, I will direct you the Nonprofit Corporation law in Tennessee
and, after agreeing to Lexis' terms, you would wait for the next
page to load and then:"
click on the + to the left of "Corporations and Associations"
then click on the + to the left of  "Nonprofit Corporations"
then the + to the left of  "Directors and Officers" and you will
then see the Parts to read, such as "Part 1 Board of Directors"

Harvey Mechanic, Attorney at Law -

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


DO NOT GIVE ME INFORMATION THAT YOU WANT KEPT CONFIDENTIAL. 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 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 "" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.


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.


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

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

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