Legal Services

Nonprofit Law

Archer has earned a reputation throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the Delaware Valley region for its dedication in representing nonprofit organizations, particularly healthcare and educational organizations.   With over 90 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, we offer a special sensitivity to the nature of nonprofit activities, and a commitment to provide legal services of the highest quality on a cost-efficient basis.

Archer attorneys are thoroughly involved in the nonprofit community, serving as legal counsel and as volunteer board members and fundraisers. We also write and speak regularly on a variety of topics to both nonprofit groups and professional organizations.  Our active client base includes more than 300 organizations, including major health systems, nursing homes, colleges and universities, private schools, churches, social service agencies, scientific research institutes, museums, business leagues, trade associations, arts organizations, symphony orchestras, community development corporations and private and community foundations. They range in size from internationally-known universities and academic medical centers with multi-million dollar budgets to start-up volunteer community organizations with budgets of only a few hundred dollars.

While the missions and budgets of our clients may vary, the legal principles affecting their governance and operations are often the same. Our firm’s philosophy is to provide the trustee of a nonprofit with the maximum flexibility in making policy decisions. We advise on the status of the law, the alternatives available, and the risks attendant to each alternative. While attorneys are not always able to give the desired answer, our lawyers work with our clients in an attempt to find legally acceptable and practical approaches to overcome the many problems nonprofits face. We counsel regularly on business, tax, tax-exempt finance and planned giving, and other charitable giving law.

We have advised our clients on projects such as:

  • Establishing a federal income tax-exempt political action committee under Section 527 of the Code;
  • The merger or affiliation of two or more nonprofit corporations to achieve economies of scale and maximize grant and contract dollars;
  • Reorganizing the corporate structure of a multi-entity educational institution;
  • Obtaining reductions in real estate tax assessments for property owned and used in tax exempt activities;
  • Requesting health care system, universities and other 501 (c) (3)institutions in obtaining tax-exempt bond financing
  • Creating pooled income funds and charitable annuity programs.

To assure that our nonprofit clients reap all the benefits of being served by a full-service law firm, we maintain an “Exempt Organizations Group” comprised of more than a dozen experienced attorneys from several of our other practice groups: business counseling, health care group, education group, tax and employee benefits, estates and trusts, labor and employment law, land use and environmental permitting and compliance, real estate, computer and high technology, and of course, general litigation.

We call on them regularly for assistance in areas such as:

  • Tax-exempt bonds;
  • Unrelated trade or business issues;
  • Planned charitable giving;
  • Employee retirement and “cafeteria” flexible benefits plans;
  • Solicitation and disclosure of permitted deductibility of charitable contributions;
  • Excess benefit rules and intermediate sanctions;
  • Conflict of interest issues applicable to the Board of Directors;
  • Labor negotiations and personnel policies; and
  • Corporate sponsorship and naming projects.

We have advised on issues of accreditation, labor relations and union issues, construction and tax exempt financing, environmental issues, student and faculty policies, faculty tenure, student rights and student discipline issues, classification and placement issues, high technology contracts, and student scholarship and employee educational loan policies.

We help nonprofit organizations structure their activities for maximum efficiency based on applicable tax and corporate laws.   We counsel clients regularly on creative financing vehicles that may be available to them, the requirements for tax exempt status, defense of an audit by the IRS or other governmental organizations, lobbying and electioneering, unrelated business income, and charitable giving and planned giving issues. We frequently prepare on behalf of our clients applications for sales tax exemption, charitable registration and IRS private letter ruling requests. We advise foundations and community development financing institutions on their responsibilities in grant and loan making. We have also worked with economic and housing development projects, including the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, New Markets Tax Credit and Historic Tax Credit.

Our attorneys have spoken on Private/Public Partnerships for the ABA’s Forum on Affordable Housing and several of our partners are listed in The Bond Buyer’s Annual Directory of Bond Counsel. Numerous attorneys are currently serving and have served as board members or officers of charitable and community organizations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.


  • Serving as Borrower, Underwriter and Bond Counsel in Bond Financings
  • Counsel for Equity Investors, Nonprofit Sponsors and Lenders in Section 42 Low Income Housing Tax Credit, Section 47 Historic Tax Credit, and HUD Section 202 Projects
  •  Serving as Taxpayer Counsel in Federal Income Tax Exemptions and Audits
  •  Local Charitable Real Estate Tax and State Sales and Use Tax Exemptions and Appeals
  • Negotiating Mergers and Affiliations of Nonprofit Corporations
  • Asset Purchase and Program Continuation Agreements, and Significant Donor Pledge Agreements
  • Forming and Advising Foundations, Private Operating Foundations and Community Trusts
  • Advise nonprofit organizations, business entities and their principals in a variety of matters, including entity formation, corporate governance, corporate and partnership terminations, business and tax planning, compliance with federal, state and local tax laws, and public company reporting obligations.


11.21.2013 / PRESS RELEASE

Frances McElhill Honored for Work with Non-Profits

04.20.2010 / ARTICLES

How to Survive the New Reality: Nonprofit Mergers, Consolidations, Realignments and Program Buy-Outs


Archer Estate and Trust Litigation Attorneys to Present at the COANJ Annual Conference

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