Nonprofit Organizations
Though every nonprofit organization is unique, they also have certain common legal issues. Nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations require specialized legal services. In addition to navigating everyday business issues such as employment, intellectual property and contracts, they must comply with specific laws and issues related to being a nonprofit. In particular, the tax and compliance matters that nonprofits must adhere to can be a confusing maze for both large and small entities.

At Tonkon Torp, we understand that nonprofits have operational challenges similar to for profits, in addition to those unique to nonprofits. Our legal team is well-situated to provide a full array of legal services to nonprofit organizations and tax-exempt entities. We work with a diverse cross-section of industries and are proud of our long history of working with the region’s most respected private foundations, public charities and other tax-exempt entities.

Our nonprofit attorneys represent:
  • Public charities
  • Private operating foundations
  • Pass-through foundations
  • Corporate and family foundations
  • Social welfare organizations
  • Social clubs
  • Trade and professional organizations
  • Fraternal organizations

Legal Services

Tonkon Torp creates individualized, multi-disciplinary teams to meet the unique needs of our nonprofit clients. Because we are a full service business firm with nonprofit expertise, we are able to ensure that you have the comprehensive guidance and advice you need in the following areas:
  • Entity Formation – Selection of the appropriate structure, formation, and application to the IRS for recognition of exempt status.
  • Governance – Board development, fiduciaries responsibilities and risk management, including policy development (conflicts of interest, document retention).
  • Compliance – Private foundation special rules compliance, intermediate sanctions, lobbying, advocacy and political expenditures, and unrelated business income tax rules.
  • Strategic Alliances – Joint ventures, mergers and conversions.
  • Grant-Making – Program related investments, donor advised funds, expenditure responsibility and international grant-making.
  • Fiscal Management – Investment and endowment management and distribution policies, structuring planned gifts and planned giving programs.
  • Employment – Advice/counsel employment matters; education, training and proactive management practices; executive and employment contracts; employee benefits; executive compensation; volunteer issues.
  • Audit – IRS and Department of Justice audits and approvals, including private letter ruling requests.
  • Real Estate – Acquisition of real estate and office/equipment leases.

Tonkon Torp Helps Albina Head Start Purchase Property for Community Cornerstone

Attorneys from Tonkon Torp’s Real Estate & Land Use Practice Group are celebrating a successful real estate purchase for pro bono client Albina Head Start (AHS). For more than 40 years, AHS has leased space at a former church building in NE Portland for its Tina Clegg Center. The Center, a community pillar for one of Portland’s historic communities of color, houses both a Head Start program serving 60 low-income families and AHS administrative offices that coordinate and provide services for numerous additional families.

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 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.

Agreement with Portland Community College

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

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.

Five Questions to ask Before Joining a Nonprofit Board

The nonprofit community has weathered an ongoing cascade of operational, environmental and economic challenges over the past few years including lockdowns, wildfires, protests, and economic upheaval.
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PPP Round 2: Nonprofit Eligibility, Application Deadline, and Tax Impacts

Shortly before the end of the bizarre and painful 2020 calendar year, the Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2021 (the Act) was signed into law, providing an additional $284 billion appropriation for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
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PPP Round 2: Who Is Eligible, What Expenses Can Be Paid, And What Is the Tax Treatment?

Shortly before the end of the bizarre and painful 2020 calendar year, the Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2021 (the Act) was signed into law, providing an additional $284 billion appropriation for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
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Enhanced Whistleblower Protections for Nonprofit Employees

In the wake of Governor John Kitzhaber's resignation last year, the Oregon Legislature amended Oregon's "whistleblower" protection statute (ORS 659A.203) by expanding it to include Section 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that receive public funds…
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How to Best Serve on a Nonprofit Board During a Pandemic

Tonkon Torp attorney Claire Brown and Vista Capital Partners’ Lead Advisor Rob Greenman will discuss strategies and considerations for members of nonprofit boards during the ongoing pandemic.
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Three Tonkon Torp Partners Named Portland Lawyer of the Year

Three Tonkon Torp partners have been named Portland Lawyer of the Year in their respective specialties by Best Lawyers in America 2022.
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Best Lawyers in America® Includes 53 Tonkon Torp Attorneys on 2022 List

Fifty-three Tonkon Torp lawyers representing 39 practice areas have been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2022
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Parna Mehrbani Honored with Multnomah Bar Association Diversity Award

On May 19, Tonkon Torp partner Parna Mehrbani was honored with the 2021 Multnomah Bar Association (MBA) Diversity Award in recognition of her commitment to fostering and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the legal profession.
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U.S. News "Best Law Firms" Publication Ranks 37 Tonkon Torp Practice Areas for 2021

U.S. News – Best Lawyers® has released its 2021 edition of "Best Law Firms." Tonkon Torp is once again ranked among the nation's best for five business law categories and is top-ranked in the metropolitan Portland market in 37 practice areas.
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Kate Roth Joins Tonkon Torp from U.S. Tax Court

Tonkon Torp LLP welcomes Kate Roth to the firm as an associate in its Tax and Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits practice groups. Roth joins the firm from the United States Tax Court where she was a judicial law clerk for the Honorable…
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Best Lawyers in America® Includes 49 Tonkon Torp Attorneys on 2021 List

Forty-nine Tonkon Torp lawyers representing 36 practice areas have been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2021. A majority of attorneys have been named to the peer-review list in past years, and most have been recognized for more…
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Tonkon Torp Webinar Provides Guidance to Nonprofit Board Members Serving in a Pandemic

Tonkon Torp hosted a webinar 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…
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Tonkon Torp Practice Areas Ranked in 2020 U.S. News "Best Law Firms" Publication

U.S. News – Best Lawyers® has released its 2020 edition of "Best Law Firms." Tonkon Torp is once again ranked among the nation's best for six business law service categories including Land Use & Zoning Law, Securities Regulation, Commercial…
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2020 List for Best Lawyers in America® Includes 48 Tonkon Torp Attorneys

Forty-eight Tonkon Torp lawyers representing 39 practice areas have been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2020. A majority of attorneys have been named to the list in past years, and most have been recognized for more than five…
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Tonkon Torp Practice Areas Ranked in 2019 U.S. News "Best Law Firms" Publication

U.S. News – Best Lawyers® has released its 2019 edition of "Best Law Firms." Tonkon Torp is once again ranked among the nation's best for six business law service categories including Land Use & Zoning Law, Securities Regulation, Commercial…
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