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Fundraising and Designated Gifts

Church board members may be personally liable for diverting designated funds or trust funds to some other purpose.

Key point 6-07.05. Church board members may be personally liable for diverting designated funds or trust funds to some other purpose.

* The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom prevented it from resolving the claims of a donor that her gift to her church should be rescinded due to misrepresentations made by the pastor at the time of the gift. An Italian immigrant (James) established a successful gravel business and owned several tracts of land. Upon the death of James and his wife, most of their property passed to their six children. The pastor of a Catholic church was interested in acquiring an 8-acre tract from the family as the site of a new sanctuary. Two of the six siblings agreed to donate their interest in the land to the church, but the other four siblings were reluctant to transfer their interests until the pastor assured ...

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