Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and New York State Bar Association President Seymour W. James, Jr. have announced the expansion of Charity Corps, a joint initiative between the New York State Attorney General's Office and the New York State Bar Association to improve nonprofit governance and legal compliance. Charity Corps matches volunteer attorneys with nonprofit organizations in need of legal counsel on matters involving corporate law, governance and compliance with fundraising requirements.
Charity Corps is completing a successful pilot year. Volunteer attorneys were provided to 56 nonprofits across New York State with missions that include social services, community development, health-related causes, veterans’ aid, the arts and environmental protection. In 2013, Charity Corps expects to expand the program to serve up to 100 additional eligible nonprofit organizations.
“In these challenging economic times and in the wake of Sandy, we are committed to ensuring that nonprofits that are so critical to the health of our local communities and to our state continue their important work,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “Charity Corps provides these groups with the necessary legal counsel they otherwise cannot afford, helping them to improve compliance while carrying out their missions. I thank President Seymour James and the New York State Bar Association for their partnership and support of this initiative on behalf of New York’s nonprofits and the communities they serve. I also thank the lawyers who have so generously volunteered their time.”
“Charity Corps has been hailed by participating nonprofits and attorney volunteers and studied for emulation outside of New York State. Thanks to the help of attorneys to assist them with legal and compliance issues, participating organizations are better able to achieve their missions,” said NYSBA president Seymour W. James, Jr. “At the same time, attorneys have found a meaningful new opportunity to use their legal skills to assist worthy community organizations in need.”
Charity Corps is overseen by a leadership committee composed of members of the State Bar Association and representatives of legal assistance programs. It is chaired by Lesley Rosenthal of New York City, general counsel of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The attorney general’s Charities Bureau, led by Bureau Chief Jason R. Lilien, is supporting the initiative by providing training and guidance to volunteer attorneys and nonprofits.
Nonprofit organizations seeking assistance from Charity Corps must apply by January 15, 2013. To be eligible, an organization must have 501(c)(3) nonprofit status and demonstrate it cannot afford counsel. Nonprofits and attorneys can get an application form and additional information by visiting www.nysba.org/CharityCorps.