Nonprofit Organizations

Nonprofit organizations are a significant and growing part of the U.S. economy. Increasing need for services continues to outpace the nonprofit sector’s ability to fill the demand, while state and local governments rely on nonprofits to address areas government budgets can no longer support. In addition, nonprofits face a complex regulatory environment and greater competition for funding, talent and leadership. To address these challenges, nonprofits are looking toward innovative methods of service delivery, funding strategies, and network building and engagement.

Key Contacts

Michele E. Wasson Associate Portland, OR
Saskia M. de Boer Partner Portland, OR
Penny H. Serrurier Partner Portland, OR
See all contacts
Overview

Our nonprofit attorneys bring a deep understanding of the legal regime that governs tax-exempt organizations. We help nonprofits navigate the unique regulatory, tax and corporate framework to protect, advance and sustain their operational missions.   

Our Clients

  • Public Charities
  • Corporate & Family Private Foundations
  • Colleges &Universities
  • Educational Organizations
  • Health Care Organizations
  • Trade Associations
  • Advocacy Organizations
  • Social Clubs
  • Religious Organizations
  • Governmental and Quasi-Governmental Entities

With more than a dozen attorneys who practice in this area of law, our clients benefit from our collective experience and industry insight to answer questions and solve complex legal problems. We are community-focused professionals who serve on boards of directors and board committees for local and national organizations. We use our perspective gained in these positions coupled with our substantive legal and industry acumen to provide the following services to the nonprofit community:

  • Corporate Governance
  • Endowment Management
  • Fundraising, Development and Solicitation Registration
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits
  • Trademark and Copyright Protection
  • Real Estate
  • Data Protection
Matters

Formation, Governance and Board Trainings

We provide guidance on the establishment and operation of nonprofit organizations and regularly assist our clients in preparing and reviewing articles of incorporation, bylaws, policies and other governance documents. 

  • Advice and counsel on the choice of corporate or trust format
  • Assist with Application for Recognition of Exempt Status (IRS Form 1023) and state registrations
  • Conduct regular board trainings and orientations for new board members
  • Compliance review on all aspects of governance and tax matters

Fundraising, Development and Solicitation Registration

We regularly counsel our clients on a wide range of matters related to fundraising, planned giving and compliance with charitable solicitation laws.

  • Assist in creating planned giving programs
  • Advice and counsel on donor gift agreements
  • Drafting and support for split-interest gifts such as charitable remainder trusts and gift annuity agreements
  • Advice and support on state registration and compliance with fundraising laws

Corporate Philanthropy

We assist with establishing, maintaining and marketing corporate giving programs including employee giving, team volunteer and community grants, gift matching, and similar programs.  We also advise corporations on all aspects of establishing and maintaining a separate entity for corporate giving purposes.

  • Create and advise employee match programs
  • Advise corporate giving and corporate responsibility offices on compliance

Private Foundations

We are extremely knowledgeable in all areas of state and federal private foundation laws and counsel our clients regarding the private foundation excise tax rules, including self-dealing, income distribution requirements, expenditure responsibility, grants to individuals, advocacy, investment restrictions, the prohibition on excess business holdings, and termination of foundation status.  We also work with private foundations on endowment and investment issues and advise on all aspects of program-related investments, ESG investing and mission-related investments. We work with new organizations seeking to qualify as a private operating foundation, publicly supported charity or supporting organization. We have successfully assisted numerous clients with obtaining letter rulings regarding various transactions.

  • Assist families with creation and operation of foundations and other giving vehicles to facilitate multi-generational family philanthropy
  • Advise on foundation and family office structures to ensure compliance with the private foundation rules
  • Review and advise on grant agreements and capital commitments
  • Assist foundations in conducting activities overseas and making grants in foreign countries

Lobbying and Political Activity

Nonprofits often use advocacy to advance their charitable mission.  We assist with and educate our clients about the complex laws that regulate lobbying and political activities.

  • Help nonprofits effectively advocate at the local, state and national level
  • Assist with registration and compliance on all aspects of lobbying and political activity

Endowment Management

Our endowment management practice is an important part of our nonprofit practice. We advise clients on all aspects of the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act and similar state laws, prepare and review investment policies, and advise on complex alternative investments, joint ventures and mission-related investments.

Shared Services and Sponsorship

We advise entities that act as fiscal sponsors to other entities, and organizations seeking fiscal sponsorship, or spinning out of fiscal sponsorship relationships into independent tax-exempt entities.

Charitable Planning

We advise public charities on complex giving arrangements and work with donors and counsel for donors to obtain the maximum tax benefit for their charitable donations. We advise on all aspects of planned giving, including advice on establishing planned giving programs and templates for gift annuity and split-interest trust agreements.

  • Represent nonprofits as beneficiaries of wills to ensure they receive the proper bequests as provided by the will or trust instrument
  • Defend and prosecute will and trust contests
  • Represent charities in modifying trust or bequest restrictions
  • Negotiate pledge agreements between donors and charities
  • Draft and advise on planned giving and gift acceptance policies
Team
Insights & Presentations
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