Jen Adams’ proposal for a nonprofit corporation is most likely a “charitable purpose” under both state and federal law. The legal definition of a charitable purpose is much broader than the ordinary use of the word. In general, it means a function to promote the general welfare that is not violative of public policy. Casebook, 87. There is no exhaustive list or hard and fast rule as to what is a charitable purpose. Rather, there are broad guidelines and the government evaluates the charitable purposes individually.
Oregon state law does not have its own definition of a charitable trust under Chapter 65. Rather, the Oregon DOJ states that a “corporation or trust granted tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code is presumed to be organized for a charitable purpose.” So, it appears that Oregon has adopted the same definition as the IRS. It should be noted, however, that Oregon does define “charitable purpose” with regard to charitable trusts under chapter 128. In that section, ORS defines a charitable purpose as “the relief of poverty, the advancement of education or religion, the promotion of health, the promotion of a governmental purpose or any other purpose the achievement of which is beneficial to the community.” ORS 128.316. This definition only applies to the charitable trust section of ORS, though.
Therefore, it is necessary to look at IRC 501(c)(3) to determine whether Amazon Forever would comply with the charitable purpose requirement. While Congress has never defined the term “charitable,” Section 501(c)(3) lists eight purposes enabling an organization to qualify for a “charitable exemption.” The exempt purposes set forth in IRC 501(c)(3) are charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to children or animals.
Amazon Forever is likely a...