H. Funds, Property, Trusts
All money and property held by any meeting are considered as held in trust for the objectives, uses, and purposes of the Religious Society of Friends, subject to any special conditions of trust. No meeting may distribute or partition its property among individual members of a meeting. If any meeting ceases to exist, its property shall pass to the yearly meeting or otherwise as indicated in Section D, “Discontinuance of Meetings.”
In making investments, meetings should bear in mind that the way investments are made can sow seeds of violence and be hurtful to society. Therefore, in considering investment possibilities, they should weigh not only security and rate of return, but also the conditions under which income will be produced, in order that Friends may not, even unwittingly, be profiting by human oppression or the despoiling of God’s earth. The discovery and promotion of socially and economically beneficial enterprises are prime objectives of Friends’ investing.
Meetings and trustees having care of property or funds received in trust are obligated to maintain strict integrity in carrying out intentions and directions of testators or donors. When trusts are restricted to use of income only, management of capital investments must take into account both long and short term needs toward accomplishing the purposes of the gifts. While seeking also to make investments of social benefit in keeping with Friends’ testimonies, selections should be such as are prudently calculated to assure continuing income at a reasonable level.
Meetings are encouraged to obtain legal advice as to the manner of holding and investing meeting property, and to make suitable provision for incorporation or for the appointment of trustees, and for periodic reviews of titles to property and the investment of funds. Under the By-Laws of New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, Inc. (printed towards the end of this book), title and management of yearly meeting property and trust funds are vested in the trustees appointed by the yearly meeting. No person shall be a trustee of more than one meeting at the same time.
Monthly and preparative meetings should raise from within their membership a fund sufficient to meet their responsibilities, to expand their interest, to care for their properties, and to provide for their annual shares of the yearly meeting budget arrived at by the yearly meeting or by a quarterly or equivalent meeting. Each monthly meeting should pay its share to the treasurer or other designated collector of the respective meetings in the amount and at the times requested.