Barbara Rhomberg

Barbara Rhomberg, a partner in Kavanagh Rhomberg LLP, has nearly two decades of experience representing nonprofit organizations and their charitable donors on the unique legal issues of the nonprofit sector. Her work includes forming nonprofit organizations and obtaining tax-exempt status, planned and charitable giving, limits on lobbying and campaign intervention for exempt organizations, grant compliance, endowments and donor-restricted funds, nonprofit mergers and dissolutions, unrelated business tax, and nonprofit corporate governance.

Before launching her own practice in 2012, Barbara was an attorney in the University of California’s Office of General Counsel, representing the University on charitable giving matters and advising on the use of endowment funds.

She practiced nonprofit and tax-exempt law for over six years at the San Francisco law firm of Adler & Colvin, and also spent two years at Greene, Radovsky, Maloney, Share, & Hennigh LLP, where she practiced general tax and business law. Before law school, Barbara worked as a nonprofit administrator at the Sierra Club Foundation and Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, and was an aide to an Oakland city councilwoman.

Barbara taught nonprofit organization law as an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law, and also taught nonprofit law to students in USF’s Master of Nonprofit Administration program. She is a frequent speaker on a wide range of topics, from gift acceptance policies to charitable deduction rules to ballot measure committees. A selected list of Barbara’s speaking engagements is below.

Barbara chairs the Nonprofit Organizations Committee of the California Lawyers Association Business Law Section, and serves on the Board of Directors of Community Initiatives, a 501(c)(3) organization that sponsors diverse charitable projects. Barbara is also a member of the Northern California Planned Giving Council, the California Political Attorneys Association, the American Bar Association, and the Peninsula Estate Planning Council. She is admitted to practice law in California.

Barbara received her J.D. with distinction from Stanford Law School in 2000, graduating in the top ten percent of her class. She received a B.A. with honors from the University of California, Berkeley in 1988.


Technical Corrections and Additional Guidance Needed for New Charitable Deduction Substantiation Regulations under §170, California Lawyers Association Taxation Section, 2019 DC Delegation (2019)

The Deduction is in the Details, Substantiating Charitable Gifts, Northern California Planned Giving Council (2019) and Stanford/SVCF Conference on Charitable Giving (2018)

Tax Law Issues for Campaign Finance Counsel, California Political Attorneys Association (2017, 2018)

On Second Thought: Changing the Purpose of Yesterday’s Gifts, Practical Planned Giving Conference (2018) and National Conference on Planned Giving (2016)

Gift Acceptance Policies, Northern California Planned Giving Council (2018, 2012)

Endowment Law, Nonprofit Organizations Standing Committee of the State Bar of California Business Law Section (2017)

Crowdfunding for Nonprofits, California Society of Nonprofits (2015)

Fundamentals of the Income Tax Charitable Deduction, Northern California Planned Giving Council (2015)

Title to Assets: How your Donor’s Form of Ownership Affects Planned Giving, Northern California Planned Giving Council (2013)

Grantmaking Legal Issues, Bay Area Fiscal & Administrative Officers Group (2012)

The Roots of Corporate Personhood in Statutory Law, “Money Out / Voters In” Conference (2012)



Endowment Law, Nonprofit Organizations Standing Committee of the State Bar of California Business Law Section, September 2017

Changing the Purpose on Past Charitable Gifts, Planned Giving Today, April 2017

On Second Thought: Changing the Purpose of Yesterday’s Gifts, National Conference on Philanthropic Planning, October, 2016

The Roots of Corporate Personhood in Statutory Law, Money Out / Voters In Conference at UCLA School of Law, November, 2012

Gift Acceptance Policies — Why, When, What, How, and Who, Charitable Gift Planning News, March 2007

Constitutional Issues Cloud the Gift Taxation of Section 501(c)(4) Contributions, Taxation of Exempts, January / February 2004, at p.164

The Law Remains Unsettled on Gift Taxation of Section 501(c)(4) Contributions, Taxation of Exempts, September / October 2003, at p.62

The Private Foundation’s Guide to the California Initiative Process, co-author (published by Northern California Grantmakers 2003)

A Revisionist History of Housing Pioneers: The Expanding Reach of Private Benefit Doctrine, 9 J. Affordable Housing & Community Development Law 369 (2000)

The publications and materials on this website are for general informational purposes only. They are not guaranteed to be up to date, and are not a substitute for legal counsel. You should not rely on any legal information provided on this website without seeking the advice of an attorney regarding the facts of your specific situation.

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