What is charitable immunity?
Answered by: Clay Grayson, Grayson Thomas

Charitable immunity provides limited protection for trustees, directors, officers, or members of nonprofit organizations from liability for their actions as long as the act is determined not to be willful, wonton or of gross negligence.

What nonprofits designations are protected under the charitable immunity provision?

Must have IRS recognition of tax exempt status as a 501(c)(3), 501(c)(6), and 501(c)(12) organizations. Charitable immunity is primarily granted to nonprofit corporations under SC law, so if your nonprofit is not incorporated, you may not have the full protection charitable immunity affords under SC law.

Do I still need liability insurance?
Yes. While charitable immunity may protect from liability, it does not provide for the immediate costs of defense so it is important to invest in directors and officers liability insurance to pay for your defense should you be joined as a defendant in a suit against your nonprofit.

Are there any limitations of liability for charitable immunity?
Though there are exceptions, generally the limits of liability are:

  1. Generally capped at $300,000 per person per single occurrence, or
  2. Generally capped at $600,00 per single occurrence regardless of the # of plaintiffs.

Where can I learn more about charitable immunity?
Detailed information regarding charitable immunity can be found in the South Carolina Nonprofit Corporation Act, the South Carolina Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act, and the South Carolina Tort Claims Act.