"'Mutual benefit corporation' means a domestic corporation which is required to be a mutual benefit corporation pursuant to section 17.05 of this title or is formed as a mutual benefit corporation pursuant to chapter 2 of this title." 11B V.S.A. § 1.40(23).
A mutual benefit nonprofit corporation is formed solely for the benefit of its members. An example of a mutual benefit nonprofit corporation is a golf club. Individuals pay to join the club, memberships may be bought and sold, and any property owned by the club is distributed to its members if the club dissolves. The club can decide, in its corporate bylaws, how many members to have, and who can be a member. Generally, while it is a nonprofit corporation, a mutual benefit corporation is not a charity. Because it is not a charity, a mutual benefit nonprofit corporation cannot obtain 501(c)(3) status. If there is a dispute as to how a mutual benefit nonprofit corporation is being operated, it is up to the members to resolve the dispute since the corporation exists to solely serve the needs of its membership and not the general public.