Legally Speaking

Of course, Dignity/Houston, Inc. is a legal entity in the State of Texas. Specifically, we are:

  • A nonprofit corporation in the State of Texas
  • A tax-exempt organization under the Internal Revenue Code §501(c)(3) classified as a public charity. (That means that most of your contributions are tax-deductible; we'll note where they aren't. Despite what you may think about what public charity means, a public charity cannot give money to individuals. It can only provide services as we discuss below.)

Now for some of the legal stuff. Please don't dismiss this as a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. It really does offer much insight into who and what we are.

  • Restated Articles of Incorporation. Article Four of this document gives you a great introduction to the purpose of Dignity/Houston, Inc. Be sure to read it!
  • Bylaws. These govern our day-to-day operation. If we violate them, we can lose our corporate status and our right to exist in the State of Texas. Another careful read!
  • Certificate of Fact and Status. OK, this is legal mumbo-jumbo. Just to let you know that the Texas Secretary of State thinks we're legal.
  • Texas Business Organizations Code, Chapter 22, Nonprofit Corporations. This is the primary Texas law that governs nonprofit corporations, like Dignity/Houston, Inc. Once again, if we don't follow this statute, we lose our corporate status and our right to exist in the State of Texas.
  • Compliance Guide for 501(c)(3) Public Charities (IRS Publication 4221). You really wouldn't want to read the actual Internal Revenue Code §501(c)(3); it is convoluted and difficult to read. The IRS has distilled the requirements for the class of 501(c)(3) organizations called public charities into this document. The IRS generally defines a public charity as "… not a private foundation, normally receives a substantial portion of its income, directly or indirectly from, the general public or from the government. The public support must be fairly broad, not limited to a few individuals or families." As a public charity we can provide services such as social, religious, humanitarian, educational, health care, and other services, but we may not dispense money to individuals. (We can dispense money to other 501(c)(3) organizations.) We also cannot pay our Board of Trustees anything for their services. If we lose our 501(c)(3) status, your donations will not be tax-exempt, but we lose even more than that.

If you have any questions, please jump over to our Contact Us page, and let us know.