Exempt Organizations

Farella Braun + Martel helps exempt organizations overcome the challenges that affect its lifecycle from inception to its dissolution.  As stewards of operations, procedures and management, exempt organization leadership must maintain a pulse on federal, state and international laws, because government agencies and watchdog groups have increased complexity and risk to all paid and unpaid staff and board members through broadening their level of scrutiny for reporting and transparency.  We are authorities in the relevant laws and actively guide our nonprofit clients through the ever-changing legal landscape so that they can focus on their mission.


For decades, Farella has led our nonprofit clients as an advisor or outside general counsel with business, governance and nonprofit best practices.  Our specialized exempt organization team provides services in every area of law likely to be faced by a nonprofit:  tax and regulatory agency compliance; corporate and exempt organization formation and reorganization; governance; employment; fundraising and revenue generation; charitable trust administration; copyright and trademark; insurance coverage; real estate; white collar crime; and litigation.  We have specific experience with the fiduciary duties and governance practices appropriate for the management of a nonprofit, including the tax rules and regulations that apply to complex structures involving private and publicly supported nonprofit organizations.  We understand the technical rules that apply to private foundations, operating foundations, supporting organizations and publicly supported charities, and have helped our nonprofit clients avoid penalties associated with insider transactions, excess benefit transactions, excess business holdings, jeopardy investments, benefits plans for executives and taxable expenditures.


We have proven experience for tax efficient transfers of individual wealth to personal, familial or corporate exempt organizations, including the best and proper method to accept, account for and plan to receive gifts of value including cash, securities, real estate, art and other precious commodities.  As a full service firm, Farella integrates its specialized resources for nonprofits with the complete services provided to its taxable corporate and private client base.


We represent more than 100 philanthropic organizations from community, private, family and corporate foundations to charitable trusts and public charities that range in size from several million to multiple billion in assets.  Management structures range from sophisticated operations with paid staff, corporate employees or an association management company to a simple part-time commitment of a family member. We also work with donors to advised funds, endowment and field of interest funds, scholarship funds and supporting organizations. 


With a reputation for personalized service, efficiency and strategic advice, our team is focused on advancing and supporting each client’s mission and goals.  Our in-depth knowledge of each individual client can be the constant within the organizations to provide historic knowledge when new directors and officers join an organization, key employee changes, or an organization alters or expands its scope or mission.  Our dedicated team of exempt organization attorneys understand the need for privacy goes beyond the law regarding attorney / client privilege.  Whether creating a long-term giving plan or a one-time gift, privacy is an extremely valuable asset.  We create strategies for protection from media reporting, as well as protecting investments and organizations from other threats.