John N. Bennett is Counsel in the Firm’s Exempt Organizations Department. John advises endowed universities, foundations, hospitals, cultural institutions and other institutional investors in connection with investment activities, including in the review and negotiation of documentation relating to investments in private equity funds, venture capital funds, real estate funds, energy and other natural resources funds, hedge funds, managed accounts, funds-of-one and similar investment vehicles, as well as in secondary market transactions involving the purchase and sale of interests in such investment vehicles. In addition, he represents public charities and private foundations in connection with impact investments and mission- and program-related investments.
John also advises public charities and private foundations on structural and operating issues, including formation, governance, mergers, reorganizations, domestic and international grantmaking and taxation. John works regularly with sponsoring organizations of donor-advised funds, grantmaking private foundations and “American Friends of…” organizations regarding governance, compliance with tax law and grant structuring.
John also has significant experience in the area of lobbying and advocacy by nonprofit organizations. John participates in a number of Simpson Thacher’s pro bono efforts, including serving in the leadership of the Firm’s biennial Election Protection call centers and regularly working on matters involving incorporating and obtaining tax exemption for small nonprofit organizations.
John is a regular speaker on topics of interest to tax-exempt organizations and institutional investors and has presented on various topics at the American Bar Association Business Law Section’s Institutional Investors Committee, the International Grantmaking Symposium, the Practicing Law Institute, the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants and the annual Georgetown conference on Representing & Managing Tax Exempt Organizations, among others.
John is the co-author, with David A. Shevlin, of chapters entitled “Tools for Direct International Grantmaking: Expenditure Responsibility,” and “Tools for Direct International Grantmaking: Equivalency Determination,” in the International Grantmaking Handbook, published in 2018 by Charity Channel Press.
John is a member of the Exempt Organizations Committee of the American Bar Association’s Tax Section and a former member of the New York City Bar Association’s Committee on Non-Profit Organizations and the Global Impact Investing Network/ISLP Legal Practitioner Group. John also was a long-time board member of the Public Interest Law Foundation at Columbia Law School.
Prior to his legal career, he worked in grantmaking and in compliance at the Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund. John received his J.D. from Columbia Law School in 2008, where he was a James Kent Scholar and a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. He received his B.A. from Tufts University in 2001.
- Columbia Law School, 2008 J.D.
- James Kent Scholar, Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar
- Tufts University, 2001 B.A.
- Thesis Honors
- American Bar Association, Section of Taxation, Exempt Organizations Committee
- New York City Bar Association, Committee on Non-Profit Organizations (2013-2016)
- Global Impact Investing Network/ISLP Legal Practitioners Group (2015-2017)
Admissions : New York 2009
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