This should help you get a sense of the multitude of issues you need to understand about a NFP tax exempt entity.....it is a very complex area and not something you should tackle by yourself. The IRS Form 1023 can be daunting for lawyers as well as lay people. Good luck to you.
My answer is not intended to be giving legal advice and this topic can be a complex area where the advice of a licensed attorney in your State should be obtained.
A non profit may hire employees. A non-profit may not distribute income to the founders, although it may pay the founders for services. You need to seek advice of a lawyer with 401c3 experience. This a hyper-specialty, in my opinion. You also need a good accountant.
My advice is to focus on helping other people and not on how to pocket the donations from people who give to the charity.
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