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Can earmarked contributions be used for 'general funds' purposes, is this permissible?

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Can earmarked contributions be used for 'general funds' purposes, is this permissible?

If people give money specifically designated towards a “building fund” of a church for a new sanctuary, and some of the money is used to build the pastor a new office in the OLD building by vote of the deacon board (without congregational input), is this permissible? If people contribute money specifically earmarked for a new vcr/tv setup for a Sunday school room, and it is used instead for 'general funds' purposes, is this permissible?

Gifts given to a charity for a specific purpose should be used only for the purpose given, unless the donor releases the restriction or you get approval from the Attorney General or an appropriate court. It is not appropriate to use funds given for one purpose to support another, and directors could be asked to replace the funds personally if they do so. 
 
The former CEO of the Allegheny Health Education and Research Foundation in Pennsylvania was actually convicted of a crime for taking funds given for scholarships and research and using them for the general purposes of his hospitals before they went bankrupt. We have found that fact very sobering for Boards, and it usually ends any discussion of diverting funds from their stated purpose when Board members hear it.
Thursday, June 2, 2011

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