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Jason R. Lilien

Co-Chair, Nonprofits & Tax-Exempt Organizations

Jason Lilien Photo

Overview

Jason Lilien serves as co-chair of the firm's Tax-Exempt Organizations Practice. He advises clients throughout the nonprofit sector on corporate governance, compliance with state and federal nonprofit laws and regulations, charitable giving and endowments, internal investigations, regulatory enforcement actions, corporate transactions, charitable fundraising and cause marketing.

A former Bureau Chief of the New York State Attorney General’s Charities Bureau, Jason oversaw New York’s more than 100,000 nonprofit organizations and developed legislation and regulatory initiatives that serve as national models. As head of the largest state charities regulatory office in the country, Jason was responsible for bringing nationally prominent enforcement actions. He also led efforts to resolve some of New York’s most high-profile and complex trust and estate matters, including the settlements of the hotly contested Huguette Clark and Brooke Astor estates, which collectively provided hundreds of millions of dollars to charities supporting education, the arts and other causes.

Jason was principal author of the Nonprofit Revitalization Act of 2013, which spearheaded the most comprehensive reform of New York’s nonprofit laws since they were enacted in the 1960s. The law imposed new governance responsibilities on nonprofit boards of directors, and new procedures for corporate dissolutions, mergers, asset sales and other transactions. Jason also authored provisions of the New York Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (NYPMIFA) — the New York version of the national Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA) — which governs how nonprofits can invest and utilize their endowments and other donor-restricted funds. As head of the Charities Bureau, Jason was responsible for the development of guidance, now widely-used, concerning the use of endowments and other restricted funds. In 2012, Jason also drafted best practices for cause marketing that were adopted by some of the country’s most prominent charities and have become a national model.

Jason has worked on various initiatives that have furthered the development of corporate governance best practices. He has also been a national thought leader on these subjects, having written numerous articles and publications and having frequently appeared as a speaker at national conferences. He has served as a member of numerous boards, including on the board of directors of the National Association of State Charity Officials, and served as a commissioner on the National Association of Corporate Directors’ Blue Ribbon Commission on the Role of the Board in Corporate Strategy.

A lifelong New Yorker, Jason was instrumental in the formation of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, the nonprofit entity established to finance, own and operate the official Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center site. He served, pro bono, as its counsel to the board, treasurer and secretary from the entity’s inception in 2003 until he was chosen to head the Charities Bureau. Jason was also actively involved in the establishment of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the state-city agency charged with overseeing the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan, and served as pro bono counsel to the board.

  • Young President's Organization (YPO)
    Speaker
  • What Makes Family Foundations Successful? Good Governance, Ethical Practice, and Effective Grantmaking
    Speaker
  • Advising Nonprofit Organizations 2017
    Speaker
  • Philanthropic Planning Group of Greater NY (PPGGNY) 2017 Planned Giving Day
    Speaker
  • Section on Taxation, The Current Climate for Nonprofit Enforcement
    Speaker
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Education

  • Albany Law School of Union University, J.D., Editor, Albany Law Review
  • Binghamton University, B.A.

Bar Admissions

  • New York

Recognition

  • Named in The Legal 500 US in Nonprofit and Tax Exempt Organizations, published by Legalease Limited and John Pritchard (2017-2018 editions)

Affiliations

  • Board of Directors, CharitySTRONG (2014- Present)
  • Board of Directors, National Association of State Charities Officials (NASCO) (2011-2013)
  • Administrative Board, Offices of the Public Administrators (2010-2013)
  • Advisory Committee, Commercial Division of the New York County Supreme Court (2010-2013)
  • Member, Not-for-Profit Contracting Advisory Committee (2011-2013)
  • Former Member, Blue Ribbon Commission on the Role of the Board of Directors in Corporate Strategy, National Association of Corporate Directors
  • Board of Visitors, Binghamton University College of Community and Public Affairs
  • Former Counsel to the Board, Treasurer, and Secretary, National September 11 Memorial and Museum
  • Former Counsel to the Board, Lower Manhattan Development Corporation