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COVID-19 and the Nonprofit Sector: From Understanding the CARES Act to Establishing a Charitable Assistance Program

Speaker(s): Karen I. Wu, Seth Perlman
Recorded on: Apr. 20, 2020
PLI Program #: 299754

Karen I. Wu is a partner at Perlman & Perlman, LLP, a nationally recognized law firm serving the nonprofit and social enterprise sector. Karen leads the firm’s Washington, DC office.  Karen advises nonprofit organizations on corporate governance, federal tax law compliance, fundraising regulation, contract negotiations, and intellectual property matters. She also counsels a broad range of for-profit businesses, including Fortune 500 and start-up companies, on emerging issues involving corporate philanthropy and cause marketing, including corporate sponsorships, commercial co-ventures, crowd-sourced fundraising, and social media campaigns. Karen is a frequent author, blogger, and speaker on legal issues affecting the philanthropic sector. She received the Outstanding Young Lawyers Award from the New York State Bar Association in 2012, the Nonprofit Outstanding Young Lawyer Award from the American Bar Association in 2013, and the Best Lawyers Under 40 Award from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) in 2015. These awards honor young attorneys who have a distinguished record of service within the legal profession and the community. 

Seth Perlman has been providing legal counsel to the philanthropic sector for more than thirty years. He works with large public charities, private foundations, fundraising professionals, and for-profit businesses engaged in philanthropy, international NGOs and social enterprises. 

Seth assists his clients to optimize their ability to achieve mission by advising on matters relating to organizational structure, governance, regulatory compliance and nonprofit commercial activities.

As an advisor to C-level executives and the boards of a broad range of U.S. nonprofits, Seth attends between fifty and seventy-five board sessions annually. He advises directors and officers on issues of board governance: board conflicts, parliamentary procedures, employment practices and strategies, and identifying and handling conflicts of interest.  His counsel on complex governance issues such as board oversight, decision-making power, and board member fiduciary duties helps boards achieve sustainability and effectiveness.

Seth’s proficiency in matters relating to fundraising, revenue generation and charitable solicitation compliance for nonprofit organizations, including cause-marketing campaigns, hybrid business structures, corporate alliances, joint ventures and state and federal regulatory compliance, has been invaluable in assisting organizations to reach their mission and financial goals.

Seth has litigated in several state and federal jurisdictions on issues relevant to the philanthropic community.  Matters include board disputes, action and investigations by state regulatory authorities and constitutional issues.

As an outspoken advocate for the nonprofit sector, he actively participates with nonprofit trade associations including the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Association of Direct Response Fundraising Counsel, Independent Sector, and Nonprofit New York.  He is a founding board member of the Charity Defense Council in support of their mission “to change the way people think about changing the world”.

Professional & Nonprofit Affiliations

Practising Law Institute, Board Governance & Financial Controls, Chairman

Charity Defense Council, Founding Board Member

Association of Fundraising Professionals, Special Counsel,

Direct Marketing Fundraisers Association, Special Counsel

Nonprofit New York, Government Affairs Committee

Vaincre Alzheimer’s Fondation (France), Founder, Former Chair, and Director

Alzheimer’s Forchung International (Germany), Director

International Association of Medical Assistants to Travelers (Canada), Director


American Bar Association Nonprofit Attorney of the Year – 2009

Humanities Award – Communications Independence for the Neurologically Impaired

Super Lawyers – 2008 - 2020