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Can we have a virtual meeting of board or members?

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Can we have a virtual meeting of board or members?

We are a 501 (c)(3) private foundation. Our Bylaws require board and general membership meetings in person. The state law of our state confirms that in this case only meetings in person are allowed, no phone or online meetings are allowed.  Do you see a possibility for online meetings during the current coronavirus crisis without violating state law and our bylaws?

Check your state nonprofit corporation law again. It has a provision (which was apparently revised last year) that specifically allows meetings of the members, the board, and committees of the board by conference telephone or other suitable electronic communications system, including video conferencing.  There is no limitation in this provision that would recognize contrary limiting language in your bylaws. The provision also refers back to a similar provision in the business corporation law, which is subject to a limitation in the governing instruments. But the business corporation law specifically states that participation in a meeting is considered presence at the meeting. I think you would have a good argument that such electronic meetings would be effective for a nonprofit and that anyone who participated would be “present.”

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

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