Nonprofits: Law and Policy

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
WED, THU 2:15 - 3:30 pm JON 6.207

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location
Final April 30, 2014 1:30 pm A-Z in 2.138


This course will consider the laws, policies, and ideals affecting the creation and governance of non-profit organizations. These organizations include medical and health-related institutions, educational institutions, cultural institutions, social clubs, service delivery organizations, religious (or "faith-based") institutions and advocacy organizations. We will consider how such organizations contribute to civil society and social pluralism, how they cooperate with or rival for-profit entities, and how they should be governed. The readings will include relevant laws, regulations, and cases, pertinent historical and theoretical materials, and case studies. It is available to all students who have not taken a course in the area from Prof. Carson. This course will be concerned with the legal treatment, under federal and state law, of the world of non-profit organizations, charitable and otherwise. Initially the lawyer's role in organizing, incorporating, obtaining tax exemption for, and providing continuing care to nonprofit organizations will be explained. These sessions will include an overview of tax and non-tax regulation of the non-profit sector. The class will then examine in greater detail a number of issues relating to the financing and governance of non-profits, including a review of the theory and practice of tax "subsidization" and several modes of government control over such matters as fund raising, mergers, salary levels, self-dealing, investment standards, international operations, and policies toward minority groups, women, and low-income populations. Along the way, the class will consider various law-related policy and management dilemmas that confront the non-profit sector, relating to the expansion or reduction of its mission (should non-profits operate railroads, prisons, daily newspapers?); its accountability (pecuniary and programmatic); its search for revenue (herein, involvement in commerce); and its quest for impact (herein, involvement in politics).


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