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Nonprofit Law/501(c)(3) investments/donations?


QUESTION: I'm researching a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and was wondering if its endowment, investments, etc. are public record? Or where might one find this information?

ANSWER: If a nonprofit has received IRS exemption determination or files annual returns (Form 990) with the IRS it has an obligation to provide anyone with certain copies. See FAQs About the Exempt
Organization Public Disclosure Requirements

If the organization has voting members, then state laws sometimes grant to members rights to inspect more financial records.

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.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you Harvey for the prompt response.

I'm specifically interested in the American Public Health Association (APHA). It has a voting membership body as well as a board of directors. Is there a way for me to search the IRS site for APHA? Or if I am soliciting APHA directly, who should I be contacting for this information? And how (i.e. what kind of wording) would I use to request it?

Thank you!

You are welcome.  You can address your request to their headquarters:

APHA Headquarters
800 I Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

If you want some older Form 990s go to

The IRS would only provide such information after you file a request and their backlog is over 60 days so I don't think you want me to give you details as to that procedure.

If you get one of their voting members to cooperate, then that member may, under the state law of the incorporation of APHA obtain more extensive financial records.  Let me know when you have found such a member or board member who is willing to help you and then I will provide more information about the procedure.

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


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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