Consider a high school in New York, with a variety of clubs for different after-school activities. Clubs that need additional funds, such as Theater and Robotics, conduct fundraisers to raise such funds (on the order of $5k-$50k).

If the administration were to remove such funds from club accounts, without stating where the money is going, would this be legal? If it is illegal, what law(s) does it violate?


1 Answer 1


Probably legal

Almost certainly, these “clubs” are administrative divisions within the school rather than seperate legal entities. If so, then the “clubs” are not raising money, the school is and the money belongs to the school and can be used however the school sees fit.

Now, if the school raised money under false pretences - inducing people to believe it would be spent in one way and then spending it in another, that may have legal issues but it would be the donors who would have standing, not the “club”.

At a college or university, these clubs would be seperate legal entities run by the students with affiliation to the educational facility established in their constitutions and/or by contract. Then the money would belong to the club and couldn’t be taken.

  • I've been part of a student organization, in New York State, that raised funds, but was not, to my knowledge, an independent legal entity from the school that it was a part of (consider, for instance, the additional complications this would raise for each club to need to register and comply with the requirements to receive tax-exempt donations). Additionally, why wouldn't the club members who donated their labor to the fundraiser have standing under a similar theory?
    – Ryan M
    Oct 7, 2023 at 2:30

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