[Foundation-l] Mission & Vision statement updated

Anthony wikilegal at inbox.org
Thu Apr 26 23:04:46 UTC 2007

On 4/26/07, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton at gmail.com> wrote:
> That's as may be (I don't believe that's the case under UK law, which
> is what I was going by, but US law could well be different), but it
> doesn't really make any difference. If I donate money to a charity,
> they cannot use that money to do something I haven't given permission
> for, however charitable it may be. If I donate to a charity to provide
> fun activities for children aged 7-10 and they let 11 year olds in, I
> can sue.

In the US charity assets are divided into restricted and unrestricted
funds.  Restricted assets can only be used for the specific purpose
designated by the donor.  Unrestricted assets are "freely available to
a charity for its general purposes".  The vast majority of Wikimedia's
assets were unrestricted, as of (and according to) the last publically
available financial statements.

There are still some restrictions on what a foundation can do with
"unrestricted assets", of course.  As Kelly Martin pointed out, for
instance, a foundation can only use its funds in a way which is
consistent with its purpose as designated in its articles of
incorporation.  A mission statement, therefore, should be functionally
equivalent to the purpose in the articles of incorporation, or else be
a subset of it.


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