Tonkon Torp Webinar Provides Guidance to Nonprofit Board Members Serving in a Pandemic

Tonkon Torp hosted a webinar on June 10 to help nonprofit board members navigate their service during the COVID-19 pandemic. Shouka Rezvani, Chair of the firm’s Nonprofit and Tax-Exempt Entities Practice Group, moderated the conversation with business law partner Claire Brown and Rob Greenman, lead advisor for Vista Capital Partners.

Noting that the pandemic hasn’t changed federal and state law governing nonprofits, Claire Brown reviewed the fundamental duties of a board member. She stressed that even in these unusual times, board members are obligated to adhere to bylaw requirements and steward a nonprofit by actively participating in the governance of the organization, staying informed, and keeping the nonprofit’s mission at the forefront of its activities. She pointed out potential legal pitfalls, especially around slipping into a lobbying posture during our emotionally-turbulent environment. Claire also shared financial resources available to nonprofits including the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program, Oregon Work Share Program, and business interruption insurance, as well as new perspectives on fundraising.

Rob Greenman introduced investment policy and procedural considerations that boards can focus on during the pandemic. He pointed out that nonprofits already did the hard work when they put an investment policy in place during calmer days and now is the time to follow it, not to change it. He provided context for today’s unusual times with a look at the fundamentals of endowment management and withdrawal strategies that nonprofits have used during historic tough economic times. He also shared changes in tax laws and provisions of the CARES Act that might prompt donors into giving more right now, such as the option for individuals to itemize a $300 cash contribution made directly to a charity.

A recording of this webinar is available online. Viewers are encouraged to follow-up directly with attorneys or financial professionals to ask questions not addressed during the hour-long program. Tonkon Torp has published a COVID-19 Business Resources page that is continually refreshed with news, alerts, and events that address a broad range of legal topics.

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