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Attorneys of the Year: Jennifer Reedstrom Bishop

Gray Plant Mooty

Multiple foundations within one organization can be tricky to manage. When it’s an entity like the University of Minnesota, the challenges are even more complex.

That’s why the merger between the University of Minnesota Foundation and the University of Minnesota Medical Foundation is so notable. In creating a $2.4 billion combined enterprise, lead counsel Jennifer Reedstrom Bishop not only shepherded a major consolidation, she also provided a framework for other nonprofits to follow. And she did it all in about 90 days.

“Definitely, it was an intense timeframe,” she said. “But it also shows how much can get done in just a few months.” The merger is an example of how efficiencies can be created in the nonprofit community, Bishop added, especially in an effort to reduce donor confusion. She’s heard from other nonprofit leaders that the merger has created conversations within their organizations about similar moves to increase effectiveness.

In addition to assisting nonprofits in her professional role, Bishop spends considerable time focusing on public service in her personal life. She serves as a board member for the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT), a Minnesota-based international organization that provides counseling, care, and advocacy for victims of torture and war crimes.

She has traveled to Jordan and Nairobi to speak with victims and meet the human rights workers who form the backbone of CVT.

Bishop believes that the two realms combine in her work, as she focuses on nonprofit clients. “I’m fortunate that my practice can be mission-based,” she said. “As I expand my skill set at Gray Plant Mooty, that can also benefit CVT. It’s really all about collaboration, having a larger vision, and helping people. Whether that’s coming from a nonprofit in Minnesota or a counseling center in Nairobi, it’s the same mindset.”

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