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I was hired to tutor an avreich. His mother paid me in advance $20K.
This money came to me through a “Donor Advised Fund”.
That is an org people donate to irrevocably for the purpose of tax exemption. The org passes on the money to whatever non-profit cause they choose. But will not return it to the donor under any circumstances.
Because the money was donated already to the org.
I ended learning with the avreich while $3600 was still not earned. If she had paid me in advance in a normal way, it would be obvious to pay her the $3600 back. But this situation seems like the money isn’t hers anyway.
Do I have to return the money to her? If not, should I return it anyway?




The money halachically still belongs to the parent, and you should return it to her, or at least ask her what she wants to do with it. The only reason the money was given to the “org.” was for tax exemption purposes, and not in order for the “org.” to actually be the owner of the money. They will not give the money back to the donor because that is illegal and money laundering, but not because the org. is the owner of the money. Besides,

Hashem should send you an abundance of parnossa, and the zechus of overcoming this nisayon should be a zechus for you.

Best wishes


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