A charter is a legal document providing basic information about a community of interest (CoI): its location, purpose1), profit status (usually Non-Profit Organization (NPO)), governing board (e.g., board of directors) composition, and stakeholder (or ownership) structure. Sometimes the charter is referred to as the articles of incorporation or a certificate of incorporation. In the case of a for-profit corporation, the articles of incorporation must include the number, classes, and par values of authorized shares. In the United States, most states require the name and address of the company’s registered agent as well. Source: Charters: Creating the Organization
The CoI charter is important because when it is filed and approved by a legal entity, such as a secretary of state, it “gives birth” to a new CoI as a formal corporation. A CoI charter is not the same as the CoI bylaws, which build off the charter and add things like fundamental governing rules, board meeting schedules, conditions of membership, etc.