The economic shifts of the last several years have had far-reaching effects on tax-exempt organizations. Compounded by changes in tax law, increased scrutiny of boards of directors, and rising concerns about compliance and governance, not-for-profits are facing an array of new challenges — and new opportunities.
The Tax-Exempt Organizations Group at Quarles & Brady has a long and successful history of representing private and public foundations, schools and other educational institutions, museums, research institutions, hospitals and health care entities, trade and professional associations, social clubs, and other not-for-profit organizations. As part of a full-service firm with offices across the country, we blend the responsive, focused attention of a boutique practice with the resources of a national firm, offering common sense solutions to complex legal concerns.
This practical attitude, coupled with our attorneys’ exceptional legal knowledge and extensive real-world experience, has resulted in one of the strongest tax-exempt practices in the country.
A Better Perspective — Our Clients
At Quarles & Brady, we take seriously our role as advisors to tax-exempt organizations. This means putting ourselves in our clients’ shoes, asking our clients what they want and need from their attorneys, and then providing all of that and more. It means drawing on our extensive legal knowledge as well as our practical experience with not-for-profit organizations of all types. It means understanding our clients’ objectives and then providing the resources and the commitment to make them happen.
The issues facing foundations, research and health care institutions, and other tax-exempt organizations extend well beyond simple calculations of dollars available for grantmaking, services, programs and organizational operations. Even normal, day-to-day concerns take on new meaning and importance in uncertain times.
The attorneys of the Tax-Exempt Organizations Group have considerable real world experience with the challenges and opportunities facing not-for-profits. In addition to our work on behalf of our clients, we are committed to serving our communities through volunteer and leadership positions in a range of organizations and by serving on various governmental and non-governmental bodies. For example, our group includes volunteers, and current and former members of the board of directors and committees of the Donors Forum and the Donors Forum of Wisconsin. Partners have served as directors of institutions as diverse as St. Xavier University, the Medical College of Wisconsin, the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Chicago Women in Philanthropy, and many, many more. Lending a governmental and regulatory perspective, two of our partners are members of the Illinois Attorney General’s Charitable Advisory Council; other members of the group serve and have served on a variety of administrative and advisory boards across the country.
Our attorneys are also frequent speakers at sector conferences and association meetings, regular contributors to journals and legal publications, and active members and leaders in a range of bar association groups and committees. This extensive experience gives us a unique perspective on the challenges and concerns of today’s not-for-profit leaders. We do more than protect our clients’ legal interests; we serve as advisors on a range of issues with which we’ve gained considerable personal familiarity.
Broad Client Base
Our clients come from nearly every area of the not-for-profit world. We work extensively with many of the leading grantmaking foundations around the country, whose daily philanthropic activities touch the lives of individuals worldwide as well as smaller, mission-specific and family foundations.
We represent a number of educational institutions, including world class universities, private and charter schools, museums and research centers. We work with many different organizations that are involved in the delivery of health care and social services, from complex hospital systems to local health care providers and community social service organizations. Our team also works with tax-exempt organizations that are not charities under the tax law, such as trade associations and social clubs, among others. This broad experience with the operations and objectives of a myriad of organizations enables us to develop creative, issue- and objective-specific solutions on behalf of our clients. What’s more, it has given us the vision to see beyond the next bend in the road; we can’t predict the future, but we can help our clients prepare for it.
National Reputation, National Resources
Across the country, Quarles & Brady has become known as a firm of choice for grantmaking foundations and tax-exempt organizations of all types. We are proud of this reputation; more importantly, we are proud of the client relationships and service levels that are the source of this reputation.
From our offices in Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Wisconsin, our attorneys provide clients with the focused, personal services they have come to value, backed by the exceptional resources and efficiencies of a large firm. We offer legal counsel customized to the unique needs of tax-exempt organizations, including:
- Structuring articles of incorporation, bylaws and other governance documents.
- Securing and maintaining tax-exempt status.
- Providing advice regarding corporate procedures and governance, operation of the board of directors, and appropriate board resolutions and minutes.
- Assisting with grantmaking issues and documentation, including lobbying and expenditure responsibility matters, matching gifts, employee scholarship programs and international grantmaking.
- Providing advice and legal opinions regarding program-related investments.
- Addressing investment policies and procedures, investment management contracts, and alternative and other investment documents.
- Analyzing self-dealing, excess benefit transactions and private benefit issues.
- Preparing and reviewing conflict of interest policies.
- Addressing employment and employee benefit matters.
- Reviewing leases and other contracts.
- Assisting with respect to tax-exempt financing.
- Advising regarding Internet and intellectual property matters, including website development, hosting, Internet agreements, Internet fundraising, privacy, linking and other issues specific to tax-exempt organizations.
- Addressing software licensing, copyright, trademark, patent and computer law issues.
- Assisting charities with fundraising activities, such as charitable solicitation compliance and charity gaming.
- Working with institutions to implement creative planned giving strategies, such as charitable gift annuity programs, donor advised funds and split-interest trusts.
- Assisting organizations with tax reporting requirements, appropriate means to obtain favorable tax treatment and to avoid unfavorable tax consequences, and ongoing compliance with tax and charitable organization laws.
- Securing rulings and determinations from the IRS.
- Addressing issues concerning regulation by state Attorneys General, including annual reporting.
- Providing advice on permissible lobbying, political activity and other advocacy matters.
- Assisting with government relations and related legal compliance.
- Structuring affiliated organizations and other complex structures, including for-profit subsidiaries, for-profit/not-for-profit ventures and unrelated business taxable income planning.
- Planning and implementing mergers, liquidations and other strategic restructurings.
Similar to any other organization or company, not-for-profits sometimes are faced with unique or broad challenges that require experience and resources outside of traditional areas. Rather than forcing our clients to seek specialized, additional representation — with the concurrent costs and inefficiencies that are often the result — our attorneys can tap into and coordinate the services of attorneys throughout the Firm, enabling clients to respond rapidly to emerging issues, secure in the knowledge that their concerns will be treated with the responsiveness and professionalism they deserve and have come to expect.
We work regularly with attorneys from our corporate, employee benefits, environmental, health law, intellectual property, labor and employment, litigation, real estate, public finance, tax, and other practice groups. Our organizational structure does not mean organizational barriers; rather, it means that clients have access to the resources they need, when they need them.
As our longstanding relationships with many of the country’s major foundations and other tax-exempt organizations demonstrate, our clients have come to depend on the sound business judgment and legal counsel provided by the Tax-Exempt Organizations Group at Quarles & Brady. However, we refuse to hang our hats on past accomplishments and constantly seek to set and achieve a higher standard for ourselves, and for legal service providers in general.
We are personally and professionally committed to helping our not-for-profit clients continue to meet their educational, charitable, social service and other goals. For more information on how we can help you meet your objectives, please contact Janice E. Rodgers, Group chair, at (312) 715-5034 /
, A. Hintz at (414) 277-5833 /
, Jeff Fugal at (602) 229-5257 /
or your Quarles & Brady attorney.