Nonprofit Law

Nonprofit Law

When it comes to nonprofit law, Johnston | Thomas provides the advice and support you need to accomplish your nonprofit objectives. With more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit industry, our attorneys understand the issues unique to nonprofit corporations and are able to help with everything from forming a nonprofit corporation, to governance and fundraising issues, to dissolving your corporate status, and everything in between.

Our services for nonprofit organizations include:

  • Nonprofit formation
  • Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws preparation, review, and amendments
  • Application for federal and state tax exemption
  • Directors and officers roles and responsibilities
  • Secretary of State, Franchise Tax Board, and Attorney General’s Office compliance and representation
  • Internal Revenue Service representation
  • Fiscal sponsorship agreements
  • Foreign corporation compliance
  • Charitable solicitation and gift substantiation compliance
  • Private foundation issues
  • Church and faith-based corporations
  • Corporate changes and dissolutions
  • Contracts and employment matters
  • Nonprofit litigation

Forming a New Nonprofit Corporation

Starting a nonprofit organization in Sonoma County can be a daunting task. Our attorneys not only ensure that you complete all the necessary steps to be up and running but also do the work required for the organization to be legally sound. Our flat-fee service for nonprofit formation includes preparing and filing Articles of Incorporation, preparing bylaws, obtaining taxpayer identification number, preparing and filing the initial Secretary of State Statement of Information, preparing and filing the initial registration with the Office of the California Attorney General, preparing a conflict of interest policy and whistleblower policy, and conducting the initial board of directors meeting to ensure all of the necessary resolutions to authorize the board to act have been passed.

In addition, we prepare and submit applications for tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Franchise Tax Board (FTB) to ensure your application is accurate and accepted. We continue to represent you before the IRS and the FTB until your application is approved at no additional cost.

Board Training

One of the biggest challenges for nonprofit organizations is for directors and officers to know their roles and responsibilities and to serve in such a way as to advance the mission of the organization. Many nonprofit directors do not recognize their own personal liability for the actions of the organization and therefore can unknowingly neglect their duties as board members. Our board training includes working with directors, officers, and executive staff to ensure boards are complying with the Corporation’s Code and managing personal and corporate risks.

Faith-Based Organizations

Churches and other faith-based organizations face unique legal issues that require both a recognition and sensitivity to the objectives of leadership and the requirements of the law. Our attorneys have extensive experience helping churches and other religious corporations achieve more of their mission, while making decisions and managing assets in a way that honors the tenets of their faith and is legally sound.

Outside General Counsel

Nonprofit corporations are often more complex and require more attention to compliance with various governmental rules and regulations than do many for-profit entities. However, financial resources are often limited resulting in many nonprofit corporations forgoing the legal help they might need. To provide nonprofit corporations with the capacity to obtain that legal support, without the uncertainty of the cost, we offer to serve as outside general counsel for a flat monthly fee.

Nonprofit Litigation

Nobody wants to see a nonprofit organization use its resources to pay for a lawsuit, but there are times that asserting or defending the rights of the corporation through litigation is the only option. Whether it is a dispute concerning employment matters, donor relations, contract performance, or any other litigation matter, our attorneys have the compassion and integrity to represent you well, while also making sure that your position is being appropriately asserted.

The attorneys at Johnston | Thomas have spent decades working with churches and faith-based organizations and offer a myriad of legal support services for religious corporations. Contact us now with any questions on starting a nonprofit in Santa Rosa or in the Sonoma County area.