Bright solutions for mission-led organizations



Nonprofit Law & Governance group for representation in all aspects of nonprofit corporate, tax, regulatory, and charitable trust law.  Our clients include educational, healthcare, human service, environmental, arts, philanthropic, advocacy, trade, and professional organizations throughout the U.S. and abroad.

In addition, Burns & Levinson’s other practice groups provide extensive experience and expertise in nonprofit employment practices and benefits, real estate leasing and conveyancing, litigation, intellectual property protection and licensing, estate planning, and private asset management.


Nonprofit Corporate Law and Governance

  • Formation and incorporation
  • Governance and board structure, composition, roles, and responsibilities
  • Board/staff relationships, responsibilities, and delegation of authority
  • Tax-exempt and conventional loans and bond issues
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Liability, risk management, insurance
  • Regulatory compliance and annual reporting
  • Mergers and affiliations
  • Corporate practices and record-keeping
  • Corporate dissolution

Tax-Exempt Organization Law and Regulation

  • Counsel to the following classifications of 501(c) tax-exempt organizations
    •  501(c)(2) Corporations holding property for tax-exempt organizations
    • 501(c)(3) Charitable organizations, including public charities, private foundations, operating foundations and supporting organizations
    • 501(c)(4) Civic organizations
    • 501(c)(5) Labor organizations
    • 501(c)(6) Professional, business and trade associations, chambers of commerce
    • 501(c)(7) Social and recreational clubs
    • 501(c)(8), (9), and (10) Employee associations and fraternal organizations
  • Obtaining and maintaining tax-exempt status
  • Advocacy, lobbying, and political activities
    • Grantmaking practices
    • Executive compensation
    • Intermediate sanctions
    • Public charity support tests and qualification
    • Private foundation rules and regulations
    • Operating foundation and supporting organization qualification and operating standards
    • Disqualified person and self-dealing rules
    • Commercial and entrepreneurial activities
    • Taxation of unrelated business income
    • Corporate Sponsorships
    • Annual reporting, Forms 990

Nonprofit Intellectual Property

  • Protecting and managing intellectual property
    • Copyrights, trademarks, names, logos, and patents
    • Research, business methods, work processes, and trade secrets
  • Licensing and royalty agreements
  • Private vs. organizational ownership of intellectual property
  • Confidentiality, non-competition, and non-solicitation agreement

Charitable Contributions, Trusts and Endowments

  • Charitable gifts, contributions, and deductibility
  • Endowments: creation, use and management
  • Endowment policies
  • Donor gift instruments including restricted and outright gifts, donor-advised funds, and board designated funds
  • Modification of charitable trusts (under the doctrine of Cy Pres)

Nonprofit Organizational Relationships

  • Inter-organizational relationships:
    • Mergers, acquisitions, consolidations and dissolutions
    • Agreements for joint services, funding, administration and joint venturing
    • Design and implementation of strategic alliances and collaborations
  •  Intra-organizational relationships:
    • Board/staff relationship and responsibilities
    • Executive and staff employment agreements
    • Contracts for independent contractors, vendors and consultants

Technical Assistance

  • Financial Management and Compliance:
    • Annual corporate, tax and informational filings
    • Implementation and management of nonprofit accounting software and charts of accounts
    • Consulting regarding financial statements and fundraising, grant, and program accounting
  •  Computer and Telecommunications:
    • Computer, technical and web consulting, including network setup, web site programming, general hardware and software consulting and upgrading, and trouble-shooting




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