Starting a nonprofit organization with a solid legal foundation is paramount to the long-term success of your organization. Through a streamlined, consultative process, I guide my clients through the formation process beginning with strategic advice on corporate structuring of the nonprofit to accomplish both primary and long-term objectives. I am passionate about engaging in a collaborative process with my clients, helping each client gain understanding and practical knowledge as they begin the challenging but exciting adventure of starting a nonprofit organization.
Applying for Tax-Exempt Recognition
The process of filing an application for tax-exempt recognition with the Internal Revenue Service can be tedious and a daunting prospect for many. The good news is that it does not have to be. I routinely assist clients with securing federal tax-exemption as a section 501(c)(3) organization and have successfully obtained recognition of tax-exemption for numerous influential nonprofit organizations. Through this process, I prepare the application for tax-exemption that appropriately communicates your mission and vision to the IRS while leveraging my decade-long experience to navigate potential areas of concern the IRS may have, utilizing both my experience and knowledge to attain approval of your organization's exemption application.
As your organization experiences growth and transitions from the initial formation period to becoming an established nonprofit, the organization will have ongoing governance needs. Periodically, the governance documents-including both the organization's certificate of formation and bylaws-may need revision as the organization experiences growth and change. I routinely guide my clients through the revision process to ensure the organization's corporate documents accurately reflect its operational structure, ensure the documents are compliant with current federal tax law, state law, and set forth best practices specific nonprofit organizations. Additionally, I provide ongoing consultation to officers and directors of nonprofit organizations as they seek to steward the organization for which they are responsible.
I provide counsel within a broad range of church-and ministry-specific issues, including: clergy-penitent issues, ministerial exception, confidentiality issues, child abuse prevention, pastoral succession plans, mission partnerships and changes in leadership structure (such as transitioning from a member-governed church to an elder-led church). I also help churches and faith-based organizations ensure their religious beliefs are protected by providing counsel on the development and implementation of statements of faith, membership covenants, codes of conduct, as well as reviewing organizational policies and practices to ensure the organization is clearly and consistently communicating its beliefs.
Implementing risk management strategies to minimize liability exposure, particularly in high-risk areas such as working with youth or children, is a critical piece to any sound organizational model. Risk management is an ongoing issue that needs repeated evaluation to ensure organizations are operating wisely, protecting not only the integrity of the organization but also those under an organization’s care and scope of service.
As nonprofits grow and hire additional staff, it is inevitable that various employment issues will arise. I provide a full range of employment counsel including: the hiring process, employee classification, discipline and termination issues, drafting of employment agreements, employee handbooks and separation agreements.
Before an organization begins any international activities or administering foreign charitable grants, a number of legal issues must be considered. I provide legal counsel, guidance and recommendations of best practices an organization should implement to comply with the U.S. Department of Treasury and Office of Foreign Asset Control as well as provide ongoing guidance for U.S.-based organizations operating on an international scope.