For Purpose Law Group

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“It’s us, your new museum.” In the midst of the pandemic, the 100-year-old San Diego Museum of Man – nestled among a dozen or so major cultural institutions in beautiful Balboa Park – formally announced not just a change of name but also the “promise of a new way of thinking about museums.”  And, according to BoardSource’s CEO, Anne Wallestad, “The Museum of Us in San Diego is a prime “example of purpose-driven board leadership
About twenty years ago, the BBC took a gamble on a new TV reality show. Each episode opened with the ambush of an ordinary woman going about her daily life while committing horrendous fashion crimes.  “What Not to Wear” became wildly popular, in part because the perpetrators were so clueless when confronted with the evidence against them. Modeling wardrobe items in front of the dreaded three-way mirror, they were blissfully unaware of how…
For about a year and a half, we’ve been following – and reporting on – “three big juicy” cases making legal headlines. See Recent Court Cases: Philanthropy Related (December 19, 2019) and The Latest on Three Intriguing Nonprofit Lawsuits (April 6, 2021). It was slow-going between the first and second posts; during the pandemic, most courts around the nation closed entirely for a while. But the pace is certainly picking up now.  There are already…
In early June, “[t]wo key U.S. senators introduced legislation … designed to spur faster payouts from donor-advised funds and foundations, giving new momentum to an effort that has deeply divided philanthropy.” And it’s not just any senators: One is Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the former Chair of the Finance Committee who continues as a member of that influential panel; the other is Sen. Angus King (I-ME), who caucuses with the Democrats. They “have teamed
It’s 2021, and we’re still talking about The Statute of Charitable Uses of 1601. This landmark legislation – the “birth of the modern law of philanthropy” – is not a mere historic relic, dusted off from time to time to remind us that our American legal roots hark back to the common law of Tudor England.  Deeply relevant to this day “… some five centuries later and an ocean away….” it is…
“The time is the 1590s” in “England of the first Elizabeth….”  It’s a period of social stress: plague, poverty, inflation, malnutrition, property crimes, riots and – of course – religious upheaval.  According to Professor Emeritus James J. Fishman of the Pace University School of Law, that’s a perfect setting for the birth of the law of modern philanthropy.        A Bit of History … In Encouraging Charity in a
  On June 10th, 2021, the Nonprofit Organizations Committee of the American Bar Association awarded Mary T. Dowling, Esq. the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award. The award recognizes distinguished service by an attorney in the nonprofit sector who is under the age of 35, or who has been in practice for less than 10 years. “Mary serves her nonprofit clients with the expertise of a lifelong practitioner,” says May Harris, CEO at For Purpose Law Group,…
There aren’t many nonprofit legal issues that turn into epic battles in the United States Supreme Court.  But we’ve got one now.  It’s two lawsuits – actually – consolidated for briefing and oral argument. It took more than seven years for two 501(c)(3)organizations to claw their way up (and back down, temporarily) through the federal-court thicket. The trial judge ruled in their favor twice, but the Ninth Circuit reversed both times; the second was a…
From time to time, we pass along links to helpful and free-of-charge educational resources for 501(c)(3) organizations.  For instance, in Foundation Law: Free Online Learning (January 10, 2019) we highlighted the Learn Foundation Law site created several years earlier by the legal staff at four major American foundations. There are engaging animated tutorials starring “Maya,” who is a new foundation program officer needing expert help (from a disembodied voice somewhere offscreen) with the complex laws…
Effective and diligent nonprofit directors understand the importance of adopting and regularly reviewing formal written policies and procedures. See Updating Nonprofit Corporate Policies (March 16, 2021). “The purpose of policies is to protect and steer the staff and the board as they fulfill the mission of the organization.” They are best viewed as dynamic documents, adaptable to situations that arise in the life of an organization. The pandemic was the catalyst for almost every organization…