Charities


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Related to Charities: Red Cross, UNICEF

Charities

Organizations created for the purpose of philanthropic rather than pecuniary pursuits.

A charity is a group designed to benefit society or a specific group of people. Its purpose may be educational, humanitarian, or religious. A charity goes beyond giving relief to the indigent, extending to the promotion of happiness and the support of many worthy causes.

The law favors charities because they promote goodwill and lessen the government's burdens. They are therefore ordinarily exempt from paying income or property taxes.

Charitable Gifts and Trusts

A charitable gift is something that is donated by an individual or organization with the intent to benefit the public or some segment of it as a whole. It is meant for use by an indefinite number of people. Similarly, charitable trusts or public trusts are trusts of religious, political, or general social interests, or for the relief of poverty or the advancement of education.

Charities are ordinarily supported by gifts from donors and most states have set forth statutes controlling the manner in which funds are solicited for charities. In addition, the state will generally require charities to disclose their financial structure and condition.

Charitable gifts are often testamentary, or created by will. If there is a problem in determining the actual donative intent of the testator, the court might have to pass on his or her intent.

Cy Pres is a doctrine applied by a court so that it can carry out a trust made by will for charitable purposes even when the testator's charitable purpose can not be accomplished in the precise manner specified by the testator. For example, if a testator wished to donate money to a certain hospital whose name had changed, for example, this would not defeat the gift. With cy-pres the court would interpret the donor's intent to be to give money to the hospital in spite of the change of name.

Charitable Societies and Institutions

To determine whether an institution is charitable, the test is whether its major purpose is to aid others or to make a profit.

Charitable corporations are nonprofit corporations that have been created to minister to the physical needs of the indigent or to advance a particular goal, such as the aid of a particular religious group or country. In order to receive a tax-exempt status, such organizations must meet certain criteria.

Ordinarily, charitable corporations have no capital stock and they obtain their funds primarily from private and public charity. These funds are held in trust to serve the charitable objects of the institutions.

Beneficial associations also exist mainly for a charitable purpose and not for financial gain.

Religious organizations, such as the Young Men's and Women's Christian Associations and the Salvation Army, are also considered to be charitable societies.

The test for determining whether or not an educational institution is a charitable organization is the question of whether it exists for a public purpose or for a private gain.

While charities may charge a nominal fee for some of their services and still be considered charitable societies, they are organized primarily for the public good and not for profit.

References in classic literature ?
Oh, you may make sure of him; his charities alone amount to
Kings have adorned her with fantastic buildings, endowed her with charities, crammed her with pensioners, and drenched her with blood.
and Elizabeth, to do her justice, had, in the first ardour of female alarm, set seriously to think what could be done, and had finally proposed these two branches of economy, to cut off some unnecessary charities, and to refrain from new furnishing the drawing-room; to which expedients she afterwards added the happy thought of their taking no present down to Anne, as had been the usual yearly custom.
For two years his faith was spurned, his zeal denied recognition, his charities taken in ill part, and he remained a prisoner to one of the cruelest tribes of the Nyambarra, the object of every species of maltreatment.
But my needs is as great as the most deserving widow's that ever got money out of six different charities in one week for the death of the same husband.
The physician could not bear to see his people weep, to see flock round him the poor of the canton, to whom Athos had so often given life and consolation by his kind words and his charities.
With some endowment of stupidity and conceit, she might have thought that a Christian young lady of fortune should find her ideal of life in village charities, patronage of the humbler clergy, the perusal of "Female Scripture Characters," unfolding the private experience of Sara under the Old Dispensation, and Dorcas under the New, and the care of her soul over her embroidery in her own boudoir--with a background of prospective marriage to a man who, if less strict than herself, as being involved in affairs religiously inexplicable, might be prayed for and seasonably exhorted.
He had no patience with the organized charities and the professional charity mongers.
He gave to all local charities, and was gravely depressed for a week when the Titanic went down.
His quarrels with my amiable sister--which took their rise from his interested charities toward me--ended in producing a separation.
He acted as her almoner and secretary as well as her steward--distributed her charities, wrote her letters on business, paid her bills, engaged her servants, stocked her wine-cellar, was authorized to borrow books from her library, and was served with his meals in his own room.
Where is the modern hermit who is not familiarly acquainted, by hearsay at least, with the fantastic novelty and humor of her opinions; with her generous encouragement of rising merit of any sort, in all ranks, high or low; with her charities, which know no distinction between abroad and at home; with her large indulgence, which no ingratitude can discourage, and no servility pervert?