Mission, Service and Social Impact
Law and business can be a force for good and, at their best, can catalyze progress, social justice and broad-based improvement in our quality of life. At Cunningham Law, we have experience forming and governing traditional non-profit companies, such as charitable foundations that promote education, health, science, religion and other public goods. We also have experience establishing homeowners associations to oversee common properties and set community standards. And where the non-profit sector intersects with the for-profit sector, we also have experience chartering mission-drive public benefit corporations and with helping companies achieve B Corporation certification. With further experience in state and federal government, non-profit management and community activism, our multidisciplinary solutions can incorporate the social impacts of our clients’ work.
Public Benefit Corporation
When WasteZero, a privately owned, for-profit company wanted to write its environmental mission into its charter and show its commitment to best practices, Cunningham took them through certification with the B-Lab, an exhaustive, weeks-long evaluation of governance, supply-chain integrity, community and customer impacts and employment policies. The result was certification as a B Corporation and a ranking of “Best for the World: Environment” five years in a row. When the company then elected to write its waste reduction and recycling mission into its charter, Cunningham drafted the amended certificate of incorporation, worked with shareholders to obtain over ninety percent (90%) approval for the change and filed it in Delaware. While still a for-profit company, WasteZero publicly demonstrates its commitment to use its business as a force for improvement of the environment.
Shadow Creek Estates sets the pace for a luxury, custom built neighborhood in North Raleigh and, to secure that vision and drive value for the long-term, the developer turned to Cunningham Law to meticulously articulate the community standards, architectural guidelines and rules and regulations. After first setting up the non-profit association, Cunningham Law worked with numerous stakeholders to draft a Declaration of Protective Covenants for the neighborhood, with enough specificity to maintain the high community standards but enough flexibility to let future generations of owners adapt to changing circumstances.
Setting up the Foundation
The Exploris School is a nationally-renowned charter school in downtown Raleigh that engages elementary and middle school students in an innovative experiential, project and relationship-based education experience. With expanding numbers and the need for a permanent, consolidated downtown school location, Cunningham volunteered his time as a board member and parent to set up the school’s foundation – filing a new non-profit company, putting together a business plan, obtaining approval from the Internal Revenue Service and chairing the foundation board to get it started. With an independent foundation, Exploris engaged the school, alumni and supporters in the community to begin the fundraising and planning necessary to secure a permanent location.
Representative Mission-Drive and Non-Profit Clients:
- VoteSolar, California
- Solar Energy Industries Association, Washington, DC
- WasteZero, Inc., Raleigh
- The Exploris School, Raleigh
- The Galloway Foundation, Concord
- 751 South Owners Association
- 751 South Townhome Association
- Bryson’s Ridge Homeowner Association
- The Recycling Foundation, Raleigh
- Spiritual Center of America, Boone
- Shadow Creek Owners Association
- The Exploris School Foundation, Raleigh