Nonprofit Organizations

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Bowditch & Dewey provides charitable and nonprofit organizations with the close relationship, depth of knowledge and cost consciousness they demand. Our firm has a long history of servicing the charitable and exempt organization community, a history that is complemented by our broad expertise in a variety of legal matters.

Our attorneys address complex issues in taxation, corporate law, litigation, environmental law, intellectual property, healthcare, employment issues, and real estate. With these broad capabilities serving as a foundation, we have the ability to handle all phases of a charitable and exempt organization’s existence, from initial organization and attainment of exempt status, through mergers, consolidations and reorganizations, to dissolutions. Along the way, counsel is provided in the following matters:

  • Organization of charitable and private foundations
  • Governance
  • Planned giving
  • Contracts
  • Pension and profit-sharing
  • Asset protection
  • Directors and officers liability and insurance
  • Government regulation
  • Purchasing and leasing of real estate
  • Corporate compliance
  • Employment and labor, including policies, hiring and firing, and wage and hour
  • Employee benefit plans, including health insurance, life and disability insurance, and retirement
  • Executive compensation
  • Financing
  • Affiliations - not-for-profit and for-profit

In all cases, our attorneys strive to take a proactive approach that can only result from a thorough knowledge of the organization’s needs and concerns. We anticipate issues before they become problems.

Most of our attorneys serve on the boards of nonprofit organizations, which allows them to bring a unique prospective and depth of experience to both their nonprofit client service and representation.

Our nonprofit clients include private foundations, colleges and universities, public charities, charitable trusts, cultural, social service, religious and civic welfare organizations, professional groups, trade associations, human services and healthcare institutions.

Representative Experience:

  • Provider of residential and vocational services to developmentally challenged community, with 1200 employees and 55 locations, in all employment matters, including employee attempt to unionize
  • Continuing care community with exemption and abatement applications for expansion
  • Consortium in opposition to development of natural gas pipeline in Franklin and Berkshire counties with general advice and advocacy
  • Group which hosted one of the 2014 Massachusetts gubernatorial debates; one candidate, who was polling at less than 5%, was not invited and filed suit to compel our client to allow him to participate; the case raised important and complex Constitutional issues and we achieved a successful ruling in favor of our client
  • National historic society in obtaining a certificate of appropriateness from the city historical commission, an order of conditions from the city conservation commission and site plan approval from the city planning board for the construction of a new parking lot
  • Colleges and universities with investigations and defense of discrimination matters before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) and the Superior Court and address governance, compliance and the application of federal laws and regulations
  • Colleges and universities with issues involving student accommodation, disciplinary actions and litigation
  • Health and human services provider with internal investigation of billing irregularities and whistleblower claims
  • Youth services organization with the sales of facilities and purchase of new land to construct facilities
  • Public charity and associated private foundations in corporate re-structuring
  • Secondary school and a medical society with developing gift acceptance policies and documents for large bequests
  • Regional school district on possible solar projects intended to save electricity costs
  • Town with creating an exempt land trust in connection with the disposition of municipal property
  • Large human services provider in corporate re-structuring involving multiple merger transactions, including acquisition of properties, exemption, financing, compliance and Attorney General reporting matters
  • Two college athletic conferences with developing tax-exempt corporate structures
  • College in land purchase and site plan approval from town planning board for $20 million center which will be built on a 50 acre parcel
  • Colleges and universities with internal investigations in sexual orientation claims, and advice and training on wage & hour matters, policies & procedures, Title IV and affirmative action
  • University in all financing and real estate matters for the development of a $19 million, 36,000 square foot center which will contain classroom, office and meeting space and will be built on a site that will consist of both purchased and ground leased parcels, including acquisition of the site, site plan approval from the city planning board, project financing, which will include New Market Tax Credits, and construction contracts
  • Health care organization in defense of a municipality’s challenge to its property tax exemption
  • Client before the Internal Revenue Service and US Department of Labor in matters involving benefit plan compliance
  • Client in negotiations with senior executives employment contracts, including specific issues such as executive benefits, supplemental retirement plans, incentive compensation arrangements, and early termination issues
  • Bond counsel services in multiple and varied types of conduit financing transactions, including tax-exempt small issue industrial development bonds, qualified 501(c)(3) bonds, exempt facility bonds, pool loan programs and new market tax credit transactions (participated in over 100 conduit bond financing transactions, serving as any of bond counsel, borrower’s counsel, bank/trustee’s counsel, purchaser/credit enhancer counsel and underwriter’s counsel)