Our 501(c)(3) nonprofit social service corporation recently applied for a grant from a public charity that collects contributions from the general public and then makes larger grants to organizations they think can help alleviate problems in the community. In the interest of “transparency and accountability,” they have asked to see copies of our board minutes for the last year. Can they do that?
They can ask for whatever they want, but it certainly sounds like overreaching to me. If they have a concern about a specific issue, they can ask you about it without having to fish through a year’s worth of minutes that may contain summaries of significant discussions that are not for pubic distribution.
Since they depend on public contributions and are obviously in favor of transparency, you might tell them that you are considering whether or not to renew your annual personal gift and are unwilling to do so unless they give you a copy of all their board minutes for the last year. It would be interesting to see their reaction.