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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ASSOCIATION COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS FOR REFORM NOW (ACORN) (07/08/83)

decided: July 8, 1983.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, COMMISSION ON CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS, APPELLANT,
v.
ASSOCIATION OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS FOR REFORM NOW (ACORN), APPELLEE



No. 32 M.D. Appeal Dkt. 1982, Appeal from the Order of the Commonwealth Court at No. 1790 C.D. 1980, reversing the Order of the Commission on Charitable Organizations, dated June 30, 1980

COUNSEL

Cynthia M. Williams, David F. Phifer, Harrisburg, for appellant.

Louis S. Rulli, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Roberts, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Hutchinson and Zappala, JJ. Larsen, J., files a dissenting opinion. Nix, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this matter.

Author: Mcdermott

[ 502 Pa. Page 2]

OPINION OF THE COURT

This is an appeal from the order of the Commonwealth Court*fn1 which reversed the order of the Commission on

[ 502 Pa. Page 3]

Charitable Organizations (hereinafter "Commission") and found that the Association of Community Organizations For Reform Now (ACORN) was not a charitable organization within the meaning of Section 2(1) of the Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act, 10 P.S. § 160-2(1) and therefore not subject to the registration requirements of Section 3(a) of that Act.*fn2 From that decision, we now reverse.*fn3

Section 2(1) of the Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act, 10 P.S. § 160-2(1), defines a charitable organization as "a person which is or holds itself out to be a benevolent, educational, philanthropic, humane, patriotic, religious or eleemosynary organization or any person which solicits from the public for charitable purposes after the effective date of this act." On April 15, 1980, a hearing was held before the Commission to determine whether appellee ACORN was a charitable organization within the meaning of this Act. On June 30, 1980, the Commission issued an opinion, containing sixteen (16) findings of fact, including the following relevant findings:

6. Pennsylvania ACORN is part of a national organization, incorporated in Arkansas as a non-profit corporation in Pennsylvania.

7. The purpose of ACORN is to enhance the quality of neighborhoods.

8. ACORN states that it has won countless neighborhood improvements throughout ...


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