Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter III. Purposes and Powers.


§ 29–403.01. Purposes.

(a) A nonprofit corporation may be formed for any lawful nonprofit purpose unless a more limited purpose is set forth in the articles of incorporation.

(b) A corporation engaging in an activity that is subject to regulation under another statute of the District may incorporate under this chapter only if incorporating under this chapter is not prohibited by the other statute. The corporation is subject to all the limitations of the other statute.


(July 2, 2011, D.C. Law 18-378, § 2, 58 DCR 1720.)


§ 29–403.02. General powers.

Unless its articles of incorporation provide otherwise, every nonprofit corporation shall have perpetual duration and succession in its corporate name and has the same powers as an individual to do all things necessary or convenient to carry out its affairs including the power to:

(1) Sue and be sued, complain, and defend in its corporate name;

(2) Have a corporate seal, which may be altered at will, and to use it, or a facsimile of it, by impressing or affixing it or in any other manner reproducing it;

(3) Make and amend bylaws, not inconsistent with its articles of incorporation or with the laws of the District, for managing and regulating the affairs of the corporation;

(4) Purchase, receive, lease, or otherwise acquire, and own, hold, improve, use, and otherwise deal with, property, or any legal or equitable interest in property, wherever located;

(5) Sell, convey, mortgage, pledge, lease, exchange, and otherwise dispose of all or any part of its property;

(6) Purchase, receive, subscribe for, or otherwise acquire, own, hold, vote, use, sell, mortgage, lend, pledge, or otherwise dispose of, and deal in and with shares or other interests in, or obligations of, any other entity;

(7) Make contracts and guarantees, incur liabilities, borrow money, issue notes, bonds, and other obligations, and secure any of its obligations by mortgage or pledge of any of its property or income;

(8) Lend money, invest and reinvest its funds, and receive and hold real and personal property as security for repayment, except as limited by § 29-406.32;

(9) Be a promoter, partner, member, associate, or manager of any partnership, joint venture, trust, or other entity;

(10) Conduct its activities, locate offices, and exercise the powers granted by this chapter within or without the District;

(11) Elect directors and appoint officers, employees, and agents of the corporation, define their duties, fix their compensation, and lend them money and credit, except as limited by § 29-406.32;

(12) Pay pensions and establish pension plans, pension trusts, and benefit or incentive plans for any or all of its current or former directors, officers, employees, and agents;

(13) Make donations for charitable purposes;

(14) Impose dues, assessments, admission, and transfer fees on its members;

(15) Establish conditions for admission of members, admit members, and issue memberships;

(16) Carry on a business; and

(17) Make payments or donations, or do any other act, not inconsistent with law, that furthers the purposes, activities, and affairs of the corporation.


(July 2, 2011, D.C. Law 18-378, § 2, 58 DCR 1720; Mar. 5, 2013, D.C. Law 19-210, § 2(d)(8), 59 DCR 13171.)

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-210 deleted “real or personal” following “with,” in (4).

Editor's Notes

Application of Law 19-210: Section 7 of D.C. Law 19-210 provided that the act shall apply as of January 1, 2012.


§ 29–403.03. Emergency powers.

(a) If a nonprofit corporation authorizes the exercise of emergency powers in its articles of incorporation or bylaws, in the event of an emergency, the board of directors may:

(1) Modify lines of succession to accommodate the incapacity of any director, officer, employee, or agent; and

(2) Relocate the principal office, designate alternative principal offices or regional offices, or authorize the officers to do so.

(b) During an emergency, unless the articles of incorporation or bylaws provide otherwise:

(1) Notice of a meeting of the board of directors need be given only to those directors it is practicable to reach and may be given in any practicable manner; and

(2) One or more officers of the nonprofit corporation present at a meeting of the board of directors may be deemed to be directors for the meeting, in order of rank and within the same rank in order of seniority.

(c) Corporate action taken in good faith during an emergency to further the ordinary affairs of the nonprofit corporation:

(1) Binds the corporation; and

(2) Shall not be used to impose liability on a director, officer, employee, or agent.

(d) An emergency exists for purposes of this section if a quorum of the directors cannot readily be assembled because of some catastrophic event.


(July 2, 2011, D.C. Law 18-378, § 2, 58 DCR 1720.)


§ 29–403.04. Ultra vires.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (b) of this section, the validity of corporate action shall not be challenged on the ground that the nonprofit corporation lacks or lacked power to act.

(b) The power of a nonprofit corporation to act may be challenged in a proceeding by:

(1) A member, director, or member of a designated body against the corporation to enjoin the act;

(2) The corporation, directly, derivatively, or through a receiver, trustee, or other legal representative, against an incumbent or former director or member of a designated body, officer, employee, or agent of the corporation; or

(3) The Attorney General for the District of Columbia under § 29-412.20.

(c) In a derivative proceeding under subchapter XI of this chapter by a member, director, or member of a designated body under subsection (b)(1) of this section to enjoin an unauthorized corporate act, the Superior Court may enjoin or set aside the act, if equitable and if all affected persons are parties to the proceeding, and may award damages for loss, other than anticipated profits, suffered by the corporation or another party because of enjoining the unauthorized act.


(July 2, 2011, D.C. Law 18-378, § 2, 58 DCR 1720.)