Churches, Nonprofits, and the Law

Your community, no matter how dedicated, is made up of imperfect people. They, and the governments where you are located, will give you legal problems. Lawyers who help you manage these need to know about your income, property, and sales tax exemptions, your staff management, your entity and associated denomination or other group governance, and your volunteers.

Case Study 1:

After teaching business law at the Stuart Graduate School of Business, Illinois Institute of Technology for more than a decade, Growthlaw lawyer Bill Price was used to following instructions from Dean Zia Hassan. Dean Hassan, similarly, thought his instructor should provide him legal advice for the other institution he ran, and so Bill became the outside general counsel for the biggest mosque in North America, the Islamic Foundation of Villa Park. Board policies, employee dishonesty, teachers and other educational staff management, construction projects, aggressive garbage service providers, government inquiries, and anything else you could imagine can and has come up over the years.

Case Study 2:

The Islamic Foundation was by no means his first religious client. His then home church, Immanuel Presbyterian, called on Bill when they needed applications for property tax exemption, separation from a denomination without lawsuits, new site acquisition, building project contracts and finance, volunteer screening policies, and drafting and defense of a trust naming the church as a beneficiary. Service as a deacon involved him in poverty law, Board membership in and organization of other nonprofits, and support trusts for disabled congregants. The only defeat, in more than 20 years, was service on the key committee: taking away keys would offend a lot of people, replacing the locks would cost a lot of money, and there was no list of who had keys to the church building. That committee, like many before and since, decided to do nothing.

Case Study 3:

New churches and parachurch organizations have also used Bill’s time and advice. He has drafted Articles of Incorporation, bylaws, and tax exemption petitions for a Korean Christian and Missionary Alliance church, for Christians for Biblical Equality, a national organization dedicated to promotion of women’s leadership in evangelical organizations, for Presbyterian churches abroad, and for others. His work has included property transfers, governance disputes, annual meeting organization and minute taking, Attorney General’s Charitable Trust Bureau filings, and executive director contract drafting and administration.

Call or email us if your group needs problem identification, management, or solutions. Tel. 1-800-630-4780, email