When Volunteer Leadership Goes Bad: Personal Liability

Can nonprofit volunteer leaders ever be held personally liable in relation to their work for an organization?  Unfortunately, the answer is emphatically yes.  Most state nonprofit laws protect directors and officers from personal liability for acts performed in such volunteer capacities, but significant limitations exist.  Leaders need to be attentive to applicable legal requirements, to govern their organizations well, and to pursue available protections such as directors’ and officers’ insurance and other risk management measures. 

A Peek Inside Fraternal Societies - 501(c)(8) and 501(c)(10)s

From a federal tax perspective, what characteristic do the following organizations share:  The Elks Lodge, the Moose Lodge, the Knights of Columbus, the Order of the Eastern Star, the Freemasons, and the Shriners?  They are all “fraternal societies” under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) sections 501(c)(8) and 501(c)(10).  These organizations are therefore tax-exempt, although unlike Section 501(c)(3) organizations, they are not qualified to receive tax-deductible contributions unless such contributions are to be used exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational pu

Supreme Court to Hear Same-Sex Marriage Cases

Today (January 16, 2015) the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to four cases appealed from the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on the issue of same-sex marriage.  The Court’s decision to hear the cases addresses the recent split between the federal circuits on the issue.  At issue are the following: (1) whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires states to license marriage between two people of the same sex, and (2) whether states must recognize marriages between same-sex couples performed in other states.