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We are only asking for $15,000. Can we get it?

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We are only asking for $15,000. Can we get it?

We are a 501(c)(3) art gallery and are having a lot of friction among the board and members. Our group has decided to split and start our own 501(c)(3) but the existing board is refusing to part with any of the corporation’s treasury of approximately $50,000. We are only asking for $15,000 for our start up. Can we do anything?

I assume from your question that you have no legal claim to any portion of the money. And you don’t indicate any reason why the board should give you anything, let alone 30% of the entire treasury.  What proportion of the membership is in your group?  Did your group raise most of the money?  Can you convince any of the directors to give you something, even if only to get rid of you on good terms and avoid continuing friction?

I realize that $15,000 is a lot of money if you don’t have any, but if you have no legal right and you can’t come up with a convincing rationale, I wouldn’t spend a whole lot of time chasing it.  I would solicit the donors who have supported your work in the past, or lend yourselves the money to organize the new (c)(3) and run a fundraising event.  The upside of seeking new support from others seems a lot greater than haggling over a pittance from those who don’t have any reason to be helpful.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016
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Another consideraton is that the money in the original group's treasury was given or acquired under the rights conferred by that group's Determination letter, i.e. to the EIN named. Grantors and donors might take the position that the money is not within the fiduciary venue of the original organization's to bestow on a break-away rival.

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