The Good Blog

The policies, politics and laws of doing good - from charity's global front lines to bottom lines.

Benefic is global and local

June 30th, 2009 by Benefic

Much has changed in charity law over the last quarter century. The destruction of the Berlin Wall in 1989 set in motion some fundamental changes in both the mission and perception of the international charitable sector. In the post ’89 world, governments that were ideologically opposed to civil society organizations began to create laws to enable them to attract money from capitalist countries. At the same time, civil society organizations began to define their mission increasingly in terms of bringing democracy, human rights and the market economy to societies that they served instead of simply doing traditional charity.

Benefic’s principals, in one way or another, have been involved. Blake Bromley circumnavigates the globe up to seven times a year, assisting other countries in drafting laws that enable and facilitate the creation of civil society organizations and the making of charitable donations. Blake is invited as a comparative law expert able to explain distinctions between legal and tax regimes in England, the United States, Australia, and Canada. Blake also explains some of the fundamental differences between the common law and civil law approaches to charities and donations.

While Blake’s international experience predated the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, that seminal event resulted in Blake making numerous trips to the Soviet Union (and later Russia), Hungary, Poland, and Czechoslovakia (and later the Slovak Republic). Beginning his consultations in Gorbachev’s Kremlin in the Soviet Union, which evolved into consultations in the White House in Russia, and finally evolved into consultations in the Russian Duma after the White House was shelled by Yeltsin’s tanks, Blake was named as a foreign legal expert on the law of charity when it was ultimately enacted.

Having worked as a volunteer for a charitable organization in South Vietnam during the summers of 1970 and 1971, Blake was especially pleased to be invited to Hanoi to advise the government of Vietnam on its draft law on civil society organizations. Blake first began advising China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs on its draft charity law in 1990 and is currently the chief foreign advisor to its drafting committee.

Explaining why Canada has certain legal and tax provisions and how they operate to legal experts in China, Russia, and Vietnam has forced Blake to come to a profound conceptual understanding of Canada’s laws. This ability to deconstruct the law rather than simply recite it provides Benefic with the ability to provide innovative and creative advice to our clients. Being able to compare the evolution and application of charity law in multiple countries in both the developed and developing world also enables Blake to think globally and provide conceptual and strategic advice, which makes the global relevant to the local.

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Categories: Charity, Law, People

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