• Ann Arbor
    201 S. Division Street
    Suite 400
    Ann Arbor, MI 48104
    T 734-761-3780
  • Detroit
    1901 St. Antoine Street
    6th Floor at Ford Field
    Detroit, MI 48226
    T 313-259-7777
  • Grand Rapids
    99 Monroe Avenue NW
    Suite 300
    Grand Rapids, MI 49503
    T 616-205-4330
  • Troy
    201 W. Big Beaver Road
    Suite 500
    Troy, MI 48084
    T 248-743-6000
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competitive drive

Jennifer M. Oertel

Member,Ann Arbor

T 734-930-6898F 734-930-2494734-930-6898

  • Spanish
  • J.D., Northeastern University School of Law
  • B.A., Michigan State University Honors College
  • Certificate in Nonprofit Management, Georgetown University
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey

Jennifer Oertel provides strategic business advice and practical legal guidance to a broad range of tax-exempt organizations. She has an extensive business law background in securities, private equity, mergers & acquisitions, and corporate governance, which she leverages to further the business interests of her tax-exempt clients and the investors who support them.

Jennifer’s clients include impact funds, individual impact investors, social enterprises, family and corporate foundations, community foundations, public charities, national and statewide membership organizations including philanthropic serving organizations, and chambers of commerce.

A recognized authority on tax-exempt organizations law, Jennifer is the Co-Chair of the Nonprofit Corporations Committee of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan. The Nonprofit Corporations Committee reviews and updates the state law which governs nonprofit corporations and reviews legislation regulating the solicitation of charitable contributions.

She is a frequent author and speaker on impact investing and philanthropy and has served on the boards of directors of several philanthropic organizations. Jennifer frequently judges social enterprise business plan competitions and has served as a judge for many nonprofit business plan competitions and for the Crain’s Detroit Business “Best Managed Nonprofits” awards. Jennifer is a fellow with the Council of Michigan Foundations, serving as an expert in Residence for Impact Investing. She also authors a blog, “Impact Investing: From A to Z,” for the Council of Michigan Foundations.

Jennifer is proficient in Spanish. She has a degree in Social Work from Michigan State University and worked in social work and evaluation before becoming an attorney.  

Honors, Awards, and Recognition
  • Crain’s Detroit Business “Notable Women in Law” 2021
  • Michigan Super Lawyers 2012, 2016-2023, Nonprofit Organizations
  • Michigan Super Lawyers 2023Top 50 Women Attorneys
  • Michigan Rising Stars 2011, Nonprofit Organizations
  • DBusiness Magazine “Top Lawyers” 2015-2024, Nonprofit/Charities Law
  • Who’s Who in Impact Investing, 2018
  • Michigan Lawyers Weekly “Leaders in the Law,” 2015
  • Volunteer of the Year, Michigan Community Resources, 2011
Civic, Cultural, and Community Activities
  • Exponent Philanthropy, Member, Board of Directors (2022-present)
  • Legal Financial Network, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (2022-present)
  • Invest for Better, Advisory Board (2021-present)
  • Kind Capital, Advisory Board (2019-present)
  • Case Foundation (Washington DC), Member, Impact Investing Advisory Committee 
  • Council of Michigan Foundations, Member, Impact Investing Committee
  • Social Enterprise Alliance—Detroit Chapter, Founding Vice Chair (2013-2015)
  • Michigan Youth Opportunity initiative of Wayne County, Board Member (2013-2015)
  • Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program (DBG Detroit), Advisory Board Member
  • The Johnson Center for Philanthropy, Grand Valley State University, Member, “Let’s get Social” Impact Investing Advisory Committee (2018-2020)
  • University of Michigan Ross School of Business, Judge, Social Business Plan Competition (2016)
  • Livingston County United Way, Member, Community Investment Committee (2012-2015)
  • Child Safe of Michigan, Director and Member, Executive Committee (2011-2014)
  • Judge of several social enterprise challenges (Great Lakes Entrepreneurs Quest, Michigan Women’s Foundation, Michigan Corps)
Professional Affiliations
  • State Bar of Michigan, Member of the Business Law and Taxation Sections
    • Co-Chair, Nonprofit Corporations Committee, Business Law Section
  • Business Bar Association, Member, Nonprofit Organizations Subcommittee
  • Boston Bar Association, Former Member, Task Force on Professional Challenges
  • Council of Michigan Foundations
    • Outside General Counsel
    • Member, Impact Investing Committee
    • Expert in Residence for Impact investing
  • Inforum, Advisory Board for Women in Philanthropy Industry Group
  • Council on Federations, Legal Reviewer for National Standards for Accreditation of Community Foundations
  • Crain’s Detroit Business Best Managed Nonprofits competition, Judge (2014-2016)
  • Certification in Nonprofit Management, Georgetown University
Publications (Representative)
  • Mobilizing the Entirety of Your Resources for Impact,” Michigan Council of Foundations (January 2024)
  • “Disaster Relief Philanthropy,” Michigan Business Law Journal, Summer 2020
  • Further Evidence that Sustainable Investing Doesn’t Sacrifice Financial Returns,” Council of Michigan Foundations blog post (April 2020)
  • Co-Author (with Celeste E. Arduino), “CARES Act Provisions that Apply to Tax-Exempt Organizations,” Bodman COVID-19 Response Team Update, March 2020
  • Co-Author (with Celeste E. Arduino), “Qualified Disaster Relief Payments,” Bodman COVID-19 Response Team Update (March 2020)
  • Co-Author, “Comparison of Impact Investing Laws in the United States and Israel,” Mission Throttle (February 2020)
  • “Tax Reform: Fact, Fiction and Where We Now Stand,” Michigan Business Law Journal (2018)
  • “Tax Benefits and Charitable Giving,” Small Business Association of Michigan Magazine (October 2014)
  • “Get ‘SMART’: Measure Your Impact,” Nonprofit World (June 2014)
  • “Proving that they are Doing Good: What Attorneys and Other Advisers Need to Know about Program Assessment,” Wayne Law Review (June 2014)
  • “Is the L3C Right for your Enterprise,” Michigan Corps Bulletin (April 2014)
  • “Avoiding Pitfalls in Nonprofit Practice: Do THIS—Not THAT,” Michigan Business Law Journal (June 2012)
Speaking Engagements (Representative)
  • Council of Michigan Foundations, “Hot Topics in Corporate Philanthropy” (2023)
  • Midwest Foundation Webinar Series, “Self-dealing and Conflicts of Interest” (2023)
  • Michigan Impact Investing Hub Annual Convening, “Advanced Session on Impact Investing” (2023)
  • Co-Presenter (with Assistant AG Brien Heckman), Council of Michigan Foundations Annual Conference, “Demystifying the Role of the AG’s Office” (2022)
  • Co-Presenter (with Celeste E. Arduino), “Forming a Nonprofit,” ICLE On Demand Webcast (May 2020)
  • Midwest Family Foundations Series, “Top 10 Tips for Navigating Red Flags while Leading a Private Foundation” (May 2020)
  • Council of Michigan Foundations, “Legal Issues in Community Foundation Finance,” (May 2020)
  • Mission Investors Exchange Regional Gathering, “Exploring the Power of Impact Investing in Our COVID-19 Response,” (May 2020)
  • San Diego Grantmakers Impact Investing Committee, “How Impact Investing is Being Used Toward Racial Justice and Ameliorating the Effects of COVID-19” (May 2020)
  • Co-Presenter (with Celeste E. Arduino), Institute of Continuing Legal Education Webinar Series, “Forming a Nonprofit Organization” (2020)
  • Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, “An Advisors Guide to Impact Investing” (2020)
  • Co-Presenter (with Cris Doby, Erb Foundation and Heidi Reijm, Hudson Weber Foundation), Council of Michigan Foundations Annual Conference, “What’s the DEAL with Impact Investing?” (2019)
  • Mission Investors Exchange Annual Conference, “The Lawyer is In” (2018)
  • Impact Investing Legal Working Group Annual Conference, “Impact Investing as a Legal Practice Focus” (2018)
  • Muskegon Area Community Foundation Annual Donor Assembly, “Using Impact Investing to Achieve Mission” (2018)
  • Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia, “Understanding the Landscape of Impact Investing in Greater Philadelphia,” (2019)
  • Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy, “Introduction to Philanthropy” (2017)
  • National Conference for Community Foundations, Mission Investors Exchange, “Impact Investing” (2015)
  • Co-Presenter, National Foundation Symposium hosted by O’Connor Davies LLP, New York, “Impact Investing” (2014)
  • Council of Michigan Foundations Annual Conference, “Legal Pitfalls in Private Foundations: You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know” (2014)
  • Co-Presenter, Association of Fundraising Professionals Development Day, “Nonprofit Mergers, Consolidations and Collaborations,” (2014)
  • Program co-sponsored by the Council of Michigan Foundations and Exponent Philanthropy, “Foundations 101” (2014)
  • American Institute of Architects—Michigan Chapter, “Maximizing Good: How Business Leagues and Charities Can Work Together” (2014)
Pro Bono
  • State Bar of Michigan 2023 A Lawyer Helps Pro Bono Honor Roll 


Practices & Industries Education
  • J.D., Northeastern University School of Law
  • B.A., Michigan State University Honors College
  • Certificate in Nonprofit Management, Georgetown University
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey