I am the founder of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit spay/neuter program that I started in 2013. When I got sick in 2016, I wanted to close the program and asked the other three board members to start their own nonprofit or work with another organization. We agreed they would continue until the end of 2017 since we had funding until then. I didn’t participate in any more events or meetings and focused on getting healthy. Although I had concerns with what they were doing, I didn’t say anything. In December 2016 I started asking for a board meeting but either got excuses or was ignored. I was recently removed as administrator of our Facebook page and my organizational credit card was cancelled. I made a factual post on my personal Facebook page to let my supporters and donors know what had happened. An attorney on the board then wrote a defaming and inaccurate post about me and removed me from the board, putting herself in as the president. I never received any notice they were going to do this. Is this legal? What can I do?
I assume that you didn’t create the organization as a sole member nonprofit so you were merely one of the four directors and could be outvoted any time the others wanted to do something different from what you wanted to do. It is unfortunate that more founders don’t protect themselves when they care so much about the mission and are the driving force to make the organization effective. (See Ready Reference Page: “Sole Member Bylaws Can Protect Founder of Nonprofit”)
Having said that, however, it is unlikely that they would have had the power to remove you from the board without some advance notice and an opportunity to be heard. You might actually win a suit against them. But even if you were to spend the time and money to win, they could probably follow the proper procedure and remove you anyway or fail to re-elect you at the end of a term.
If you can’t work things out with them directly, your best bet may be to post another factual statement on your Facebook page, giving your side of the story, and go on with your life. They will be able to continue, or not, on the basis of what they do from here on out. But they may have to do it without the help of your supporters and donors.