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Does founder of charity have recourse for changed direction?

Your Legal Questions Answered

Does founder of charity have recourse for changed direction?

The founder of a charity has stepped back from running the organization to avoid founder's syndrome. But the new director is now burning the relationships the founder built and is taking the charity in a direction that is contrary to the principles the charity was founded on. In addition, they've changed the bylaws that were placed there to protect the founder. Is there any recourse?

Are you sure the founder wants to avoid founder’s syndrome?

You don’t say exactly what role the founder had in the governance of the charity or what the bylaw provisions were that were supposed to protect the founder. Presumably, the organization was not a sole member corporation formed with a governance structure designed to protect the interests of the founder and assure the continuation of the mission.  (See Ready Reference Page: “Sole Member Bylaws Can Protect Founder of Nonprofit”

But if there were protective provisions in the bylaws, did they require the approval of the founder before being revised?  (They weren’t very protective if they didn’t.) Or was the founder still on the board and not given notice of the proposed changes?  A lawyer familiar with nonprofit law could tell whether there is any clear legal recourse (even though it might be financially infeasible to assert).

Assuming there isn’t legal recourse, the only avenue is political. The founder and those who support him/her would have to seek a change from those currently in power. At this point, it is not likely to be effective, but it may be the only opportunity.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020


Having this exact issue with our founder

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