Charity Corps (OLD)

Charity Corps (OLD)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 

What Does the New Nonprofit Revitalization Act Mean for Nonprofit Organizations and the Lawyers Who Work With Them? In 2013 the New York State Legislature passed the Nonprofit Revitalization Act with overwhelming bipartisan support. What does the new law mean to existing and fledging nonprofits? What does it spell for attorneys and law students aspiring to work with nonprofit organizations? New York’s not-for-profit sector will need to be more mindful of oversight and apply good governance measures to continue offering their services. The speakers will discuss the anticipated impact and necessary changes in best practices to day-to-day operations of not-for-profit organizations.

Meeting 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

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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.  

How to Participate

Charity Corps has fulfilled its goal of placing approximately 50 organizations with volunteer attorneys for its initial pilot year. If you would like to receive information regarding applying for a future round of matching, please contact Charity Corps at

Attorneys wishing to volunteer with Charity Corps should submit an Attorney Volunteer form (PDF) to the Leadership Committee.

Who Should Apply

Charitable organizations incorporated and doing business in New York State
501(c)(3) tax exempt status in good standing
Lack of in-house counsel and an inability to afford outside counsel
Annual operating budget under $1,000,000
No local affiliates of national nonprofits
No private/family foundations
No schools or religious institutions