Foundation Series: 501(c)(3) Language, Members, & Directors

If a church is setting up a foundation or if a church is concerned about their foundation’s setup, hopefully this is a help. The template is linked below which gives you some good language. The video gives more of the reasoning behind the language.

Here’s the bullet-point version:

  • 501(c)(3) Language: This is mandatory if you are applying for 501(c)(3) status for your church foundation. You do this through Form 1023. It’s a long process so give yourself 6-12 months…even if you have the correct language. Double that number if you get it wrong.
  • Members: Every corporation has members. These are the “owners” of the foundation. The church should be clearly established as owner of the foundation. The foundation is to keep the church’s mission in mind as they work to fulfill their duties.
  • Directors: You want people on the board of directors that want to serve. That does mean allowing people an easy exit ramp when it’s time to step off the board.

Useful Links

  3 comments for “Foundation Series: 501(c)(3) Language, Members, & Directors

  1. Jim Allen
    May 9, 2022 at 11:56 am


    Many (most?) nonprofits do NOT have members. Perhaps the “boss” of a foundation is the governing documents?

    • May 9, 2022 at 1:14 pm

      Jim, you’re likely correct. Even if the governing documents are the “boss,” hopefully those docs point right back to the church in some way. It’s always sad to see a disconnect between a church in their foundation where they are pulling in different directions.

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