Requirements for a 501(c)(3) Board of Directors?

This isn’t FIRST related, but I know a bunch of teams have set up 501©(3)s and might know the answer. Does someone have to be 18+ to serve on the Board of Directors of a 501©(3)? I’ve searched through all the 501© information on the internet and can’t seem to find an answer. It doesn’t affect me now, but for something I’d like to try after college if I end up teaching.


I think it varies from state to state. You should check your Secretary of State’s website for more info.

The Texas one says the following: "Do you have to be a U.S. citizen or a US resident to incorporate a nonprofit corporation in Texas? Do you have to be 18 or older to be an officer or director?

Neither the Texas Business Organizations Code nor the Texas Non-Profit Corporation Act restricts who can form or be a director in a corporation. An entity can impose age, residency, or citizenship requirements in its Certificate of Formation or other governing documents, if desired. Other laws might impose restrictions, and there may be issues related to a minor’s capacity to contract or to be an owner of an entity with a liquor license. For information on restrictions that might apply to the entity you are creating, consult your attorney, tax counsel, and/or the IRS"

As you can see, the requirements are set by the State.

This isn’t legal advice. I’m not an attorney.

However this is my perspective.

1st - contract law - go learn about the basics of contract law. There are FIVE elements of a contract. One of them is ‘agency’.

agency - the ability to of an ‘agent’ to contract with another party. For example it is generally not legal for a legal minor (generally someone under the age of consent, 18) to engage in a contract. General exceptions are things like verbal retail contracts, aka buying snacks at the convenience store. Another example - an independant insurance ‘agent’ is a private ndependently employed person but with the legal agency to bind their insurer into a legal contract with a customer. The word ‘agent’ isn’t something that fell out of the sky but has legal meaning.

Without ‘agency’ you cannot execute and bind most legal contracts.

I doubt this would preclude a minor from becoming a member of a board of directors. I would strongly advise that ‘contracts’ be signed by members that have ‘agency’.

My team has for the past two years had students serve as ‘associate board members’ for a local 501©3. Contracts are signed by the board chair which is an adult.

I see. I figured legally binding things would need to be signed by an adult. Thanks!

I saw that these requirements varied by the State, but Maine’s website was impossible to navigate, and a Google search of turned up nothing useful. I suppose I’ll have to call or email them.

Good presentation by Team 365 under Team Organization in NEMO Resources.