Skip to main content

Advising Nonprofit Organizations 2019

Speaker(s): Ahsaki E. Benion, Alison Lonshein, Amarah Sedreddine, Debra Alligood White, Marcus S. Owens, Pamela A. Mann, Stefanie H. Roth, Terence Dougherty
Recorded on: Feb. 21, 2019
PLI Program #: 251524

Ahsaki Benion is a Counsel in the Tax-Exempt Organizations Group at Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP.  She focuses her practice on representing public charities, private foundations, trade and professional associations, religious organizations, educational organizations, arts organizations, and other nonprofits. Ms. Benion advises clients on a broad range of regulatory, tax, governance, and general corporate matters, including but not limited to obtaining and maintaining exempt status, charitable solicitation, corporate governance, fiscal sponsorships, grant-making, unrelated business income tax, excess benefit transactions, reorganizations, contracts, and audits.

Prior to joining Carter Ledyard, Ms. Benion was the Assistant General Counsel at The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), one of the largest charities in the United States.

Alison Lonshein is General Counsel of The Frick Collection, a nonprofit organization that operates an art museum and art reference library.  Prior to joining The Frick Collection, Ms. Lonshein practiced in the tax-exempt organizations group at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, where she advised public charities, private foundations, and other tax-exempt entities in diverse tax, governance, and transactional matters  Ms. Lonshein has published on aspects of federal tax law applicable to public charities and private foundations. 

Amarah Sedreddine is a founding partner of Sedreddine & Whoriskey, LLP, a boutique law firm focused exclusively on serving nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations and mission-driven businesses.  

Amarah represents and counsels a wide variety of organizations, including both public charities and private foundations, as well as mission-driven for-profit businesses, at all stages of development and operation. She provides comprehensive legal counsel and strategic guidance to her clients, advising on a wide range of tax, regulatory, governance, employment and general corporate and transactional matters.  She is informed in this work by her extensive expertise advising nonprofit organizations developed over the course of her career in the public sector.   Prior to her work as a founding partner of Sedreddine & Whoriskey, LLP, Amarah served as outside corporate counsel to Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, a philanthropic organization that administers over $200 million annually in grantmaking, worldwide, as special counsel and assistant general counsel at the Vera Institute of Justice, and as associate general counsel at The New York Community Trust. 

She commenced her legal career in private practice at Morrison & Foerster, LLP and Mann Legal Group, LLC, where she focused her work on tax-exempt organizations.

Amarah graduated from Princeton University in 1998 and New York University School of Law in 2004, and returned to NYU Law in 2012 to serve as co-faculty of its Business Law and Transactions Clinic, supervising the work of third-year law students providing pro bono legal services to tax-exempt organizations.  She is a member of the New York City Bar Association’s Nonprofit Organizations Committee and is admitted to practice in New York.

Debra Alligood White is the Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, where she is responsible for the in-house legal function as well as contract administration, board affairs, enterprise risk management and ethics.  Prior to joining Planned Parenthood in January 2013, Debra practiced for almost 20 years as a transactional attorney in private practice, most recently as a partner in the Health Care Transactions & Policy group of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, representing providers, insurers and nonprofit health information technology organizations.  Before attending UCLA Law School, Debra worked for the City of New York in the field of economic development.

Marc is a partner in the Washington, DC, office of the law firm, Loeb & Loeb, LLP, where he specializes in federal tax issues relating to tax-exempt organizations, including charities and issue advocacy groups.  Prior to joining Loeb & Loeb, he spent 15 years in private practice and 25 years with the US Internal Revenue Service, including serving as Director of the Exempt Organizations Division from 1990 until 2000.  As Director of the Exempt Organizations Division, he was responsible for the design and implementation of federal tax rulings and enforcement programs for charities and other tax-exempt organizations.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and Florida Bars and he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Pemsel Case Foundation, a Canadian foundation focusing on the development of the law of charity.  He is also co-chair of the Subcommittee on Audits and Appeals of the Exempt Organizations Committee of the American Bar Association Tax Section.  Chambers USA ranked him as a “Top Lawyer” in 2009-2012; he is also named to “Best Lawyers of America” for Nonprofit/Charities Law and Tax Law for 2008-2020.  Thomson Reuters identified him as a “Washington, DC Super Lawyer” in 2012-2018; and The Legal 500 US named him as a “Leading Lawyer” in Nonprofit and Tax Exempt Organizations 2016-2019.

Pamela A. Mann is Chair of the Tax Exempt Organizations Group in the firm of Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP, with a practice concentrated in the representation of tax-exempt organization.  She is counsel to numerous public charities and private foundations and advises clients in a wide range of governance, regulatory, tax, and general corporate matters.  From 1996 to December 2012, she was the principal in the Mann Legal Group, LLC, a boutique law practice serving tax-exempt organizations.  From 1985 to 1995, Ms. Mann was Chief of the Charities Bureau in the New York Attorney General’s office, directing scores of important cases and initiatives and influencing the adoption of significant legislative changes affecting tax exempt organizations.  Her diverse background includes clinical teaching at Rutgers University School of Law’s Constitutional Litigation Clinic and the litigation of employment discrimination and other employment related matters at the National Employment Law Project.

Ms. Mann has been recognized in New York Magazine’s Best Lawyers in New York and in Super-Lawyers Magazine in the category of lawyers specializing in Nonprofit/Charities Law.  Ms. Mann was Chair of the Committee on Nonprofit Organizations of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York from 1998-2001 and has served as President and Vice-President of the National Association of State Charities Officials.  She has written many articles for professional and lay publications and is a frequent lecturer on non-profit issues.  She is a graduate of Oberlin College and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.  More information about the Tax Exempt Organizations practice at Carter Ledyard & Milburn is available at

Ms. Roth specializes in the laws governing exempt organizations, including non-profit governance, development and fundraising, general corporate and financing transactions and collaborations and joint ventures with for-profit and non-profit entities. She advises nonprofits in a variety of fields, and has a particular expertise in the legal issues specific to museums and performing arts organizations, original visual and performance art commissions, licensing arrangements, as well as the issues confronting non-profit cultural institutions in financial distress.

Prior to joining Ewenstein & Roth, Ms. Roth served as General Counsel for the World Science Festival, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to engaging and inspiring the general public with science through the development of original multimedia programming.

Ms. Roth served as Associate General Counsel for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum for six years. At the Guggenheim, Ms. Roth served as primary counsel to the Museum’s Curatorial, Development and Finance departments, where she structured and negotiated complex art acquisitions and commissions, sponsorship and other donor arrangements, joint ventures with for-profit and non-profit entities, investments and financings. She also served as principal legal advisor to the Board’s Art & Museum Committee (the museum’s art acquisitions and collection policy committee).

Ms. Roth started her career as an associate at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, and served as a law clerk to the Hon. John S. Martin, Jr., United States District Court, S.D.N.Y.

Ms. Roth graduated from Harvard College (AB 1989, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and Harvard Law School (JD 1993), where she served as an editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review and won the Ames Moot Court Competition.  She is a member of the Non-Profit Coordinating Committee of New York’s Government Relations Committee, the Board of Trustees of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue (where she leads the Governance Committee), a former member of the Committee on Non-Profit Organizations of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, a past faculty member of Legal Issues in Museum  Administration, organized by ALI-CLE, and a frequent speaker on non-profit legal issues at the New York City Bar Association, including its annual Non-Profit Institute.

Terence Dougherty is the Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of the ACLU. In this capacity, he oversees the Finance, In-House Legal, Technology Product Development, Information Technology, Building Operations and Human Resources operations of the national ACLU. Prior to joining the ACLU in 2005, Terence practiced law at Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler, where he represented numerous nonprofit organizations, including educational institutions, advocacy organizations, private foundations, museums and donor advised funds. Prior to that, he practiced law at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson. Dougherty has over a decade of experience working with nonprofit organizations on a wide range of issues, and he regularly lectures and gives trainings. Among his publications, Dougherty authored an article in 2013 on political advocacy by nonprofit organizations and a 2009 article on newspapers as tax-exempt entities. Dougherty is a graduate of Oberlin College, where he studied Victorian poetry and Viola da Gamba performance, and Columbia Law School, where he was a James Kent Scholar and a recipient of a Human Rights Internship Fellowship. During law school, he interned with Hon. Jack B. Weinstein of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, and with Hon. Cheryl Valandra of the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Court in South Dakota. In 2008, Dougherty was appointed as a Commissioner of the Women's Refugee Commission. Since 2005, he has served as a member of the board of directors of New York Live Arts (formerly, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company) and has sat on the Government Relations Committee of the Non-Profit Coordinating Committee. He is a former member of the boards of the Columbia University School of Law Alumni Association and the Ohio Public Interest Research Group. Dougherty is a native New Yorker.