I am founder of an animal welfare corporation that has 501(c)(3) charitable exempt status. It's time for me to retire and let younger folks take over. How do I legally go about "giving" it to them?
Since we usually get questions from the founder about how to protect himself or herself from a young and eager board, or from members of the board about how to get rid of a founder who is hanging on long past the time to go, this is a refreshing question. And one with a relatively simple answer.
Since no one “owns” a nonprofit, you are not giving ownership, but merely control of the existing organization. If you are the sole member, you can amend the corporate bylaws to eliminate the membership and create a self-perpetuating board to run the continuing organization. You can remain a member of the board or not as you wish. If it is not a sole member corporation and you already have a self-perpetuating board, or if you have a broad-based membership that elects the board, you can just resign your position as an officer, and as a director if you want to step aside fully. Presumably the board in either situation will elect new officers and will not include you among them.
In either case, however, you ought to talk with your board, as a group or individually, to assess who is both willing and able to take over so that you can arrange a smooth transition without a big disruption in service.