Nonprofit & Tax-Exempt Organizations
Nonprofits do more than good community work. They are a driving force in today’s economy and among our region’s largest employers. Although nonprofit objectives vary widely, the legal and business issues they face are often similar.

Tonkon Torp brings together our significant experience in nonprofit law with our deep background in all aspects of business law — including state-of-the-art tax law services — to efficiently and effectively address the unique legal needs of nonprofit organizations. This combination of legal skills means we can skillfully counsel the full range of nonprofit organizations — from private foundations to universities to public charities, and everything in-between. Whether representing a small local agency or a large national organization, we can tailor our services to meet our clients’ needs. Our substantive knowledge and experience, combined with our passion for the independent sector, puts us in a unique position to counsel nonprofit clients and help them to grow and thrive.

Over the years, we have provided guidance to more than 100 nonprofit organizations on the following range of issues:
  • Operations, control and management
  • Business administration and regulatory compliance
  • Governance
  • Joint ventures
  • Acquisitions
  • Tax planning, compliance and filing
  • Compensation
  • Fundraising
  • Lobbying and political activity restrictions
  • Wealth planning and charitable giving
  • Development and review of planned giving policies
  • Labor and employment
  • Financings
  • Investment policies
  • Intellectual property protection
  • Data privacy and information security
  • Real estate, environmental and land use
  • Litigation

Albina Head Start Turns on First Solar-Powered Building with Assist from Tonkon Torp

When Albina Head Start learned it was awarded a Blue Sky Fund grant to install a rooftop solar array on one of its buildings, it turned to its long-time pro bono legal partner, Tonkon Torp. The nonprofit organization knew that it would need legal guidance to ensure that it could meet the terms laid out in the grant’s detailed and binding Memo of Understanding.

Tonkon Torp Helps World of Speed Keep Rolling

Tonkon Torp is proud to serve as the general counsel of The World of Speed, a nonprofit organization that provides a space where the Oregon community can gather, learn and preserve the motorsports culture of the Northwest. Find details and more featured cases here.

Tonkon Torp Helps Columbia Land Trust Establish Sandhill Crane Habitat Preserve

Attorneys from Tonkon Torp’s real estate and land use, and environmental and natural resources teams represented the Columbia Land Trust in negotiating and completing the transfer of property for a habitat preserve. Find details and more featured cases here.

Steven Wilker Brings ACLU Case to Oregon Supreme Court

Steven Wilker recently presented arguments to the Oregon Supreme Court on behalf of the ACLU of Oregon. At issue is the ACLU’s request for the release of public records from the City of Eugene relating to an incident in 2008 in which a Eugene police officer twice "tased" protestor Ian Van Ornum while he was prone on the ground at an anti-pesticide rally.

Tonkon Torp Helps Human Solutions Secure New Family Shelter Site

Tonkon Torp is proud to have helped Human Solutions navigate a complex financing project to transform a shuttered commercial property into an emergency 24/7 family housing shelter. Find details and more featured cases here.

Tonkon Torp Secures Regulatory Closure of a Clean-Up Site

Tonkon Torp helped a small Northwest nonprofit organization, Columbia Dance Center, resolve an unexpected environmental problem. Find details and more featured cases here.

Tonkon Torp Helps Albina Head Start Stabilize Finances for Enhanced Programming

Albina Head Start, Inc. (AHS), which serves more than 1,000 low-income children and their families in North, Northeast and Southeast Portland, faces the future in a stronger financial position thanks to a significant pro bono effort by Tonkon Torp. Find details and more featured cases here.

Acquisition of Nonprofit Religious Corporation

Represented nonprofit religious corporation in acquisition of assets of second nonprofit religious corporation, including church property and charter school lease, and refinancing of existing debt.

Motorspots Museum and Education Center

General counsel for World of Speed, a motorsports museum with an automotive vocational program, ensuring that the nonprofit is legally compliant with governance, compliance, third-party contracts, and intellectual property.

Agreement with Portland Community College

Negotiated and documented a unique agreement with Portland Community College to provide on-campus Head Start Program.

Investments in Alternative Investment Funds

Represented nonprofit foundations and nonprofit institutions with respect to investments in alternative investment funds (hedge funds, private equity funds, and similar investment vehicles) with investments ranging from $500,000 to $100,000,000.

Government Contracting Debarment Threat

Assisted client in researching and analyzing alleged threats of debarment or suspension as a government contractor under the Federal Acquisition Regulations and assisted client with general corporate governance matters.

Jes Shelton v. Employer

Obtained favorable settlement for local affiliate of international nonprofit housing organization in lawsuit filed by former employee in federal court for whistleblower retaliation. 

Directed Marketing and Online Services

Represented non-profit foundation in auditing and revising an online service provided to consumers, as well as the terms of use, privacy policy, and data collection, data sharing and marketing practices related to the online service for compliance with various information privacy, security and consumer protection laws and regulations.

Data Security Breach Response (Nonprofit)

Assisted an organization in analyzing a potential data security breach incident and drafted a notification letter in compliance with applicable law whose information may have been affected by the incident.

In re Roman Catholic Archbishop of Portland

(Bankr. D. Or.) - On behalf of the Tort Claimants' Committee, Al Kennedy led a team of Tonkon lawyers in the first-ever bankruptcy filing by a Catholic Archdiocese. Tonkon successfully navigated numerous issues of first impression arising from the intersection of real estate, corporate, constitutional, bankruptcy, charitable trust and religious institutions law. All claimants were paid in full, with interest, after each claim was individually mediated.

Representative Matters

Acquisition of Nonprofit Religious Corporation

Represented nonprofit religious corporation in acquisition of assets of second nonprofit religious corporation, including church property and charter school lease, and refinancing of existing debt.