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Nonprofit Law/Non Profit donation to member


Can a 501(c)(7) make a cash donation to a current member of the organization that has fallen on hard times?

IRC 501(c)(7) exempts from federal income tax, clubs "organized for pleasure, recreation, and other nonprofitable purposes, substantially all of the activities of which are for such purposes and no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder."

The term "private shareholder or individual" is defined in regulations 26 C.F.R. 1.501(a)-1(c) "The words `private shareholder or individual' in section 501 refer to persons having a personal and private interest in the activities of the organization." on the right column of page 2

A member of a relatively small group, such a social club is consider such a person and, the granting of funds to such a person would be considered inurement, just like the granting of funds to an insider of a 501(c)(3) organization is considered inurement, even if that person has fallen on hard times.  The point is that any benefits of charitable activities should be able to be granted to members of the town, city or county and not that some insider would get preference. See pdf page 13 of under the heading
"Charitable Class
--start of excerpt  ---
The group of individuals that may properly receive assistance from a charitable organization is called a charitable class. A charitable class must be large or sufficiently indefinite enough that the community as a whole, rather than a pre-selected group of people, benefits when a charity provides assistance.
--end of excerpt  ---
More details are found starting at pdf page 6 of

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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