1. How do you remain personally well-informed on tax and corporate matters, especially as they pertain to nonprofits?
I’ve found the Colorado Bar Association’s CLEs on nonprofit topics to be a great resource for staying on top of tax and corporate laws affecting tax-exempt organizations. The IRS website for Exempt Organizations is another great resource for current IRS rulings and guidance. However, my go-to resources are my fellow nonprofit attorneys. There aren’t many who focus primarily on serving the legal needs of Colorado nonprofits, but those who do are always willing to share their knowledge.
2. What are the biggest issues that your nonprofit clients face today?
Funding, funding, funding. The number of nonprofit charities in Colorado continues to grow, but individual giving is decreasing. CO Secretary of State’s Annual Report on Charitable Solicitations 2022. As a result, I see more clients seeking advice on mergers, acquisitions, dissolutions, and affiliations with for-profit entities. They are trying to get creative with generating revenue, while staying true to their charitable mission and within the regulatory constraints of federal tax laws.
3. You work with the Community Foundation Boulder County on the organization’s legal committee. What does that role entail, and how does that experience inform your practice of law?
I volunteered with the Community Foundation Boulder County for over seven years, beginning with the Legal Committee and later as a Trustee. I can honestly say it was one of the most rewarding volunteer experiences I’ve ever had. The Legal Committee provided pro bono assistance to the Board of Trustees on matters ranging from determining the tax treatment of unusual charitable gifts to reviewing event venue contracts. By working on corporate, employment, property, and other issues for the Foundation, I gained knowledge and practical applications of law in areas I probably wouldn’t have taken on otherwise. It certainly made me a better lawyer for my nonprofit clients.
4. You are active with several boards and nonprofits. Why is that important for you professionally and personally?
Professionally, serving on nonprofit boards keeps me in touch with my community and broadens my professional network beyond the bar. It also provides me with an on-the-ground view of the legal and operational challenges faced by nonprofits, making me a better counselor to my clients. Personally, I believe it’s my way of serving the public. My father served in the U.S. Marines for 22 years and instilled in me the importance of serving our country. While I won’t dare compare military service with nonprofit volunteering, I do believe it is my small way of serving my community.
5. If you were not a lawyer, what would you be doing?
That’s a difficult question to answer because I’ve had the opportunity to work in other fields before joining Lyons Gaddis, P.C. I’ve worked as a Congressional staffer, a lobbyist, a nonprofit leader and, the toughest position of all – a parent. I do know that my next move will involve sandy beaches, blue water and a lot of sun.