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Ellis Carter
Attorney
J.D., LL.M. in Taxation

Ellis McGehee Carter is a nonprofit lawyer licensed to practice in Washington and Arizona and advising tax-exempt organizations on federal tax matters nationwide. Ellis exclusively represents nonprofit, tax-exempt, and mission-based businesses with respect to corporate, tax, and regulatory matters as well as donors with respect to major gifts. Ellis spent 13 years practicing nonprofit corporate and tax law with large firms, forming Caritas Law Group (formerly Carter Law Group) in 2010.

Representative experience includes:

  • Assisting affiliated nonprofits to determine and implement their ideal structure, implementing the structure and counseling to ensure ongoing legal and tax compliance;
  • Advising national nonprofit on unrelated business income tax matters;
  • Advising corporate, independent and private family foundations regarding compliance with tax rules and regulations, including those related to self-dealing, investments and grant-making;
  • Advising family foundations during difficult transitions, particularly following the death of the founders and transitions from one generation to the next;
  • Representing charitable organizations in all aspects of their start-up including formation, state and federal tax exemptions, corporate governance and board fiduciary duties, hiring and compensation of employees and consultants, and charitable solicitation licensing and compliance;
  • Advising conversion foundations regarding post-conversion issues including tax status;
  • Negotiating the terms of major gifts, including perpetual naming rights related to educational programs, facilities, faculty positions, etc.;
  • Working with hospitals to ensure compliance with 501(r) including preparing financial assistance and collections policies;
  • Advising businesses engaged in cause marketing on strategies regarding compliance with various fundraising laws including commercial co-venture regulations;
  • Representing nonprofits in various business combinations and reorganizations, including divestitures, asset acquisitions, mergers, and affiliations;
  • Assisting tax-exempt organizations engaged in lobbying including setting up related 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations and counseling to ensure ongoing legal and tax compliance;
  • Counseling corporate foundations in all aspects of their management, including governance, tax compliance, matching gift programs and grant agreements;
  • Advising various public charities on nonprofit law issues related to governance, conflicts of interest, fiduciary duties, private inurement and related party transactions, including best practices to promote compliance and correcting existing violations.
Representative experience includes:

  • Efficiently service our clients in a way that adds value to their bottom line
  • Assisting affiliated nonprofits to determine their ideal structure, implementing the structure and counseling to ensure ongoing legal and tax compliance;
  • Advising national nonprofit on unrelated business income tax matters;
  • Advising corporate, independent and family private foundations regarding compliance with tax rules and regulations, including those related to self-dealing, investments and grant-making;
  • Advising family foundations during difficult transitions, particularly following the death of the founders and transitions from one generation to the next;
  • Representing charitable organizations in all aspects of their start-up including formation, state and federal tax exemptions, corporate governance and board fiduciary duties, hiring and compensation of employees and consultants, and charitable solicitation licensing and compliance;
  • Advising conversion foundations regarding post-conversion issues including tax status;
  • Negotiating the terms of major gifts, including perpetual naming rights related to educational programs, facilities, faculty positions, etc.;
  • Working with hospitals to ensure compliance with 501(r) including preparing financial assistance and collections policies;
  • Advising businesses engaged in cause marketing on strategies regarding compliance with various fundraising laws including commercial co-venture regulations;
  • Representing nonprofits in various business combinations and reorganizations, including divestitures, asset acquisitions, mergers, and affiliations;
  • Assisting tax-exempt organizations engaged in lobbying including setting up related 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations and counseling to ensure ongoing legal and tax compliance;
  • Counseling corporate foundations in all aspects of their management, including governance, tax compliance, matching gift programs and grant agreements;
  • Advising various public charities on nonprofit law issues related to governance, conflicts of interest, fiduciary duties, private inurement and related party transactions, including best practices to promote compliance and correcting existing violations.

Ellis loves representing nonprofits and philanthropists because their visionary ideas and lofty goals inspire her. Ellis publishes a blog, charitylawyerblog.com, which aims to demystify nonprofit law and governance one post at a time. When not assisting clients, Ellis loves to read, play with her five pugs, spend time in Washington state, explore Tempe by bicycle, attend theatrical performances, and travel with her family.

EDUCATION

  • LL.M. in Taxation, University of Washington School of Law, 1998
  • J.D., cum laude, Seattle University School of Law, 1996
  • Certificate in Chinese Law, East Shanghai University of Politics and Law, 1994
  • B.A., cum laude, Northeastern University, 1993

HONORS

  • AZ Big Media, AzBusiness Leaders 2018 – 2019, Nonprofit Law
  • AZ Best Lawyers in America, Non-Profit/Charities Law, 2007-2019
  • Best Lawyers® 2015 Non-Profit/Charities Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Champion of Diversity Award, Black Women Lawyer’s Association, 2013
  • Rated “AV Preeminent” (the highest rating available), by Martindale Hubbell
  • Phoenix Magazine, Top Lawyers, Nonprofit-Charities Law, 2007
  • Volunteer Lawyers Program, Non-Profit Advocate of the Year, 2002

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES

  • Site Council Member, New School for the Arts and Academics, 2014 to 2015
  • Director and Secretary, Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, 2010 to 2018
  • Co-chair, Lobbying Committee of Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, 2011 to 2012
  • Director, Awakening Seed School, 2008 to 2012
  • Instructor, Nonprofit Law and Legal Issues, ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation, 2006 to 2010
  • Honorary Board Member, YWCA of Maricopa County, 2005 to present
  • Founding Director, Diversity Leadership Alliance, 2004 to 2011
  • Founding Director, PAFCO Advocacy, 2004 to 2008

PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES

  • Member, Washington State Bar Association, 1997 to Present
  • Member, State Bar of Arizona, 2000 to Present
  • Member, Tax Law Section, and Committee on Exempt Organizations, American Bar Association, 2000 to Present
  • Member, National Alliance of Public Charter School Attorneys, 2013 to Present

EDUCATION

  • LL.M. in Taxation, University of Washington School of Law, 1998
  • J.D., cum laude, Seattle University School of Law, 1996
  • Certificate in Chinese Law, East Shanghai University of Politics and Law, 1994
  • B.A., cum laude, Northeastern University, 1993

HONORS

  • AZ Big Media, AzBusiness Leaders 2018 – 2019, Nonprofit Law
  • AZ Best Lawyers in America, Non-Profit/Charities Law, 2007-2019
  • Best Lawyers® 2015 Non-Profit/Charities Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Champion of Diversity Award, Black Women Lawyer’s Association, 2013
  • Rated “AV Preeminent” (the highest rating available), by Martindale Hubbell
  • Phoenix Magazine, Top Lawyers, Nonprofit-Charities Law, 2007
  • Volunteer Lawyers Program, Non-Profit Advocate of the Year, 2002

COMMUNITY
ACTIVITIES

  • Site Council Member, New School for the Arts and Academics, 2014 to 2015
  • Director and Secretary, Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, 2010 to 2018
  • Co-chair, Lobbying Committee of Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, 2011 to 2012
  • Director, Awakening Seed School, 2008 to 2012
  • Instructor, Nonprofit Law and Legal Issues, ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation, 2006 to 2010
  • Honorary Board Member, YWCA of Maricopa County, 2005 to present
  • Founding Director, Diversity Leadership Alliance, 2004 to 2011
  • Founding Director, PAFCO Advocacy, 2004 to 2008

PROFESSIONAL
ACTIVITIES

  • Member, Washington State Bar Association, 1997 to Present
  • Member, State Bar of Arizona, 2000 to Present
  • Member, Tax Law Section, and Committee on Exempt Organizations, American Bar Association, 2000 to Present
  • Member, National Alliance of Public Charter School Attorneys, 2013 to Present