Museums & Cultural Institutions



We know how to achieve cost-effective and efficient financings for museums and cultural facilities that maximize flexibility for fundraising and large capital donations.

Our approach

The intersection of charitable giving and exempt financing is rich and complex territory, requiring educated, smart and sensitive counsel. Our attorneys are among the best in the business.

We represent numerous museums, colleges and universities, hospitals and community foundations on all aspects of their charitable giving, from restricted gifts to complex planned giving. And we support these capabilities with our extensive knowledge around the investment of charitable assets.

As counsel in complex structured transactions, we focus on maintaining the integrity of the tax exemption on the bonds being issued. Our lawyers are often involved in deals that develop tax structures that preserve the borrower’s endowment without yield restricting its investments.

We work with

  • Museums
  • Libraries
  • Fine arts performance facilities
  • Colleges and universities
  • Underwriters
  • Lenders
  • Issuers and state bond agencies

Recent experience

  • Whitney Museum of American Art: In 2011 we served as institution’s counsel to the Whitney Museum of American Art, which closed on $125 million financing in a new bond issue through The Trust for Cultural Resources of the City of New York. The firm advised the institution on the structure of the fixed rate bond issue. The financing, done on the museum’s own “A” rating, was one of 2011’s most noteworthy for New York cultural institutions. Proceeds of the issue will be used to finance construction of the museum’s new facility downtown in the Meatpacking District.
  • Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts: In 2005, we served as counsel to the underwriters of the inaugural financing for Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (LCPA). In August 2007, LCPA selected us to serve as their counsel in contemplation of a second financing. In February 2008, with the collapse of the auction rate market, we assisted LCPA in purchasing its auction rate bonds and then refinancing them with variable rate bonds secured by a letter of credit. We worked with LCPA to obtain long-term and short-term ratings for the first time. We also represented LCPA in a $100 million new money financing through the Trust for Cultural Resources of the City of New York and represented the institution in an additional $100 million new money financing through the Trust.
  • New York Botanical Garden: We have represented the New York Botanical Garden in two transactions with the Trust for Cultural Resources of the City of New York (2002 and 2006). Between financings, we consulted frequently with the staff on different capital financing strategies. We assisted them in formulating a derivatives policy and in the execution of three interest rate swap agreements, including a forward swap. We have also assisted them in maintaining their UCC filings. Our tax lawyers assisted the Garden in developing a strategy to deal with troublesome private use issues. In February 2008, we assisted the Garden in defeasing its outstanding auction rate bonds with the proceeds of a line of credit. We are currently working with the staff to structure a refinancing of that line of credit, as well as planning a new money financing.

The new tax plan could impact charitable giving

Hearst Television | January 01, 2018

Washington DC M&A and corporate transactions partner Ken Silverberg is interviewed in this news segment about how the new tax plan may affect charitable giving.

How nation’s new tax law might affect charitable organizations

Rochester Business Journal | December 15, 2017

Rochester private equity and investment funds partner Jeremy Wolk, M&A and corporate transactions counsel Anita Pelletier and Washington DC M&A and corporate transactions partner Mike Cooney authored this column about the impact of U.S. tax reform on nonprofits.

London's National Gallery prevails in 'stolen' Matisse lawsuit: New York judge

Reuters | September 21, 2017

Nixon Peabody’s Arts and Cultural Institutions team, led by Los Angeles partners Thaddeus Stauber and Sarah André secured a legal victory on behalf of The National Gallery in London in a lawsuit regarding the Gallery's Henri Matisse painting "Portrait of Greta Moll” (1908).  Sarah is quoted in this article about the case.

First-half muni issuance was down in the Northeast

The Bond Buyer | August 18, 2017

This coverage notes Nixon Peabody’s jump from ninth to fourth place in Thomson Reuters’ list of top bond counsel for Northeast bond issuance for the first half of 2017.

  • Consistently ranked by ThomsonReuters among the top ten bond counsel and underwriter’s counsel in the country, and among the most active disclosure and special tax counsel
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