About Charity Corps

Who We Are
Charity Corps’s Leadership Committee consists of experienced nonprofit attorneys and pro bono providers across the state who have helped develop the program and will oversee its initial pilot year. The Committee draws on members' considerable expertise and networks of pro bono activity already in place at NYSBA, including the President’s Committee on Access to Justice, Pro Bono Coordinators Network, and others. Charity Corps collects and publishes listings of legal and board training activities sponsored by these and other organizations statewide, and sponsors continuing legal education programs and “People’s Law School” activities where such trainings do not already exist.

The Program’s Initial Pilot Year 2012
Charity Corps launched as a pilot program to match approximately 50 nonprofits with the legal counsel they otherwise could not afford. It will subsequently expand to serve substantially more nonprofits throughout the state.

The Charity Corps Leadership Committee has developed eligibility criteria for nonprofits to participate in the program. Among the criteria, organizations must be 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations and demonstrate that they cannot afford counsel.

Charity Corps is intended to shore up good governance practices - conducting effective board meetings, fulfilling fiduciary duties, complying with state and federal filing requirements, maintaining the organization's federal tax exemption, adhering to fundraising laws, overseeing executive compensation, and monitoring mission performance. Charity Corps does not make referrals for litigation.

To participate in the program, nonprofits must complete an application, which solicits basic information about the organization and a brief description of the type of services requested.  Although the Attorney General's Office developed and helped launch Charity Corps, it will not screen applicants, match participating attorneys with clients, or oversee these relationships. Client information will not be shared with the Attorney General's Office. Responsibility for administering the program will lie solely with the NYSBA and members of the Charity Corps Leadership Committee who are not from the Attorney General's Office.

Attorneys interested in volunteering must complete the volunteer form (PDF).

Future Plans
Toward the end of the pilot year, the Charity Corps Leadership Committee evaluated the overall success of the program and refined and enhanced its methods. The Committee has set a new goal to serve up to 100 additional charities in the 2013 program year.  The leadership of the joint initiative anticipates that, over the coming years, thousands of nonprofits lacking in regular guidance on nonprofit governance and compliance issues will be paired with attorneys drawn from the existing provider network and new volunteers from law firms who have been trained in nonprofit law and governance. As a result, nonprofit organizations will be better equipped to comply with applicable law and spot issues before they become mission-critical problems. Volunteer attorneys also benefit from participating, both for the professional satisfaction that service provides as well as gains in experience and education.