2021 Rising Star Honoree: Nikki Hasselbarth

Nikki Hasselbarth is an associate in Venable’s Nonprofit Organizations and Transactional Tax groups in Los Angeles. Nikki focuses her practice on advising tax-exempt organizations, such as public charities and private foundations, on a variety of tax and governance matters, including the formation of new tax-exempt organizations, the termination of private foundation status, charitable solicitation registration, and general tax and corporate compliance requirements. She frequently advises for-profit clients on a variety of charitable fundraising matters, such as commercial co-venture campaigns. She also assists high-net-worth individuals with charitable giving and estate and business succession planning. A respected advocate, Nikki is adept at managing the routine matters critical to maintaining successful tax-exempt operations and navigating her clients through the most challenging and nuanced issues to position them to tackle large projects with far-reaching impact.

Nikki is a member of the Venable Success Network, the firm’s affinity group designed to empower Black attorneys through fostering and promoting strong professional networks and educational initiatives. She is also a member of the Hiring and Pro Bono Committees for Venable’s Los Angeles office, as well as a summer associate workflow coordinator. In these capacities, Nikki takes an active role in recruiting new associates and in the creation and cultivation of inclusive and progressive workplaces for her colleagues. She is also involved in the legal professional community in her roles as former president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Exempt Organizations Committee and member of the American Bar Association Section on Taxation. She serves on the Board of Trustees of Baltimore Educational Scholarship Trust (B.E.S.T.), a nonprofit organization that provides financial and academic support to low-income, academically ambitious Black students attending independent schools in the Baltimore area.

Originally from Baltimore, Nikki attended Columbia University, graduating with a B.A. in Comparative Ethnic Studies. After graduation, Nikki moved to Houston where she taught third and fourth grade for two years as a Teach For America corps member. Through teaching, Nikki honed her creative problem-solving skills and learned to think on her feet – qualities that served her well as a law student at Duke University School of Law. While there, Nikki was actively involved in the Innocence Project and the Black Law Student Association and served as senior research editor for the Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy and as lead editor for the Duke Forum for Law & Social Change.



To commemorate our gratitude for their partnership each honoree advisor received a custom poem by Melrose Poetry Bureau. The poem highlights the reasons behind each individual’s dedication to charitable giving and captures the essence of what philanthropy means to them. In a time when in person interaction is limited, we wanted to celebrate our shared humanity and the commitment to making the world a better place for future generations.



what matters is not how we differ, but what we share

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