If you haven’t heard of Renee M. Schoenberg, you will now. Her work is all over the map in multiple countries! Renee is a DLA Piper Senior Counsel who has structured and helped so many nonprofits across 5 continents. In fact, she has helped so many that she can’t even name some of the countries that they’re located in right off the top of her head.
Some of these organizations work in an array of fields which include; fighting global hunger, offering less fortunate D.C. residents affordable legal services, sparking interest in science experiments for Chicago youth, and much more!
What makes these projects impressive isn’t just the projects themselves, but the complexity and new problems that arise during the projects. All of the causes that Schoenberg supports brings about new technical challenges when applying for tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
This is the reason for Renee becoming interested in doing work for the public good in the first place. She enjoys the challenges that arises by overcoming them, and the emotional response that comes with overcoming these challenges comes second.
Renee has earned many achievements from doing this as well. She was one of the 5 recipients recognized for her “outstanding commitment” to volunteer legal services.
“To me, it’s the pinnacle of recognition, like a lifetime achievement award,” according to Renee.
It’s not a surprise that Schoenberg is someone who is dedicated to perfecting her craft and making a difference. Many wonder how Renee first started getting into the act of her pro bono work. Well, Renee first started helping nonprofits as a spinoff from her trust and estates work. She knew of a family who wanted to underwrite a psychiatrist’s fees so that people of lower income can afford it.
Due to fear that the psychiatrist was trying to turn his organization into a tax-exempt organization, Renee’s application was rejected by the IRS. However, the second application was approved once she showed how the psychiatrist was charging less than market value price for low-income customers. This sparked her interest even more in learning how to structure many different nonprofit organizations.
Renee went on to learn that the key to success when applying for tax-exemption is “Knowing what the hot button issues are going to be and diffusing them in the application.” She gives credit to thorough research in order to accomplish this.
Anne Geraghty Helms, who is DLA Piper’s U.S. Pro Bono Programs director and counsel, refers to Schoenberg as the nonprofit guru of the office. She consistently supervises and mentors young attorneys interested in her field, while helping the firms thousands of attorneys located in over 30 countries.
It’s clear that Renee is serving a good cause in the world. No one has ever heard of Renee “declining” someone who may be in dire need of support. The fact of the matter is that they’re not too many Renee Schoenberg’s out here, that’s for sure.