Question: Distribution of PTO Funds

Our PTO recently donated $$ to a non-profit organization in regards to huge Power Lines that will be placed in our county and in front of our school. We were told the $$ was to be rescended because of it's political nature. The organization endorses no political party or person. They are against the power lines . Is there anything in writing that states that the PTO is not allowed to donate in suppport of a non-profit organization?

Asked by Anonymous



Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
The IRS absolutely prohibits 501c3 organizations (like PTOs and PTAs) from supporting candidates for office or political parties, even in small ways. You are allowed to get involved in issue campaigns as long as those campaigns don't become a significant part of your work and the campaigns aren't directly associated with a candidate or party. (ie "Join councilman's Smith's fight to prevent the new powerlines.") The way you describe it, it doesn't sound like you would be prohibited under IRS rules from contributing. I will add, though, that we advise parent groups to be very cautious about getting involved in political issues. Even things that seem straightforward can become divisive and split your group. In most cases, it's really better to ask people to donate individually rather than contributing money raised by (and from) people who may not agree with your position on the issue.

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