Vision & Mission

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Napa Legal Institute (NLI)?
Napa Legal Institute (NLI) empowers evangelization through corporate, tax, philanthropic, and other legal and financial education for faith-based nonprofits. In providing these resources, we seek to equip spiritual entrepreneurs with the information and tools they need to carry out their apostolic missions. 
Is NLI a law firm?
Although licensed attorneys work with NLI, we are not a law firm and do not undertake legal representation on behalf of any clients. NLI’s educational resources should not be used as a substitute for the advice of an attorney or law firm. You can learn more by reviewing our full disclaimer and privacy policy
Is NLI related to Napa Institute?
While Napa Institute is our sister organization, we are incorporated as a separate entity. We collaborate often with our friends at Napa Institute, but we are neither a program nor a subsidiary of Napa Institute. We encourage you to visit Napa Institute’s website to learn more about the important work they do.
Does NLI serve only Catholics? Or faith-based organizations more broadly?
In accordance with our Catholic identity we are dedicated to serving members of the broader faith community whose organizational missions are aligned with a Christian understanding of the objective moral order. Our pluralistic approach is inspired by Dignitatis Humane, the Second Vatican Council’s declaration on religious freedom. As stated in the declaration:  

“[Religious Freedom] means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits. The council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself. This right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed and thus it is to become a civil right.” 

To this end, most of our educational material is designed for not just Catholics, but for faith-based nonprofits more broadly that are similarly advancing the common good.  
What need does NLI fulfill? How is NLI different from other religious liberty organizations?
The founders of NLI realized that, as the legal environment increases in complexity, faith-based nonprofit leaders will need specific education and timely resources so they may exercise their religious liberty without fear of transgressing the law. This requires abetter knowledge of taxes, corporate structures, and a tangle of local, state, and federal labor laws and regulations. 

Without this type of knowledge, faith-based nonprofits are impeded in their ability to evangelize and provide the social services that are indispensable to civil society. While public interest law firms such as Alliance Defending Freedom and Becket are focused on defending religious freedom in court, NLI is focused on keeping faith-based organizations out of court in the first place by empowering them with best practices for nonprofit sophistication.
What does "Empowering Evangelization" mean, and why is that NLI's vision statement?
We encourage you to read, “Empowering Evangelization: Our Vision for America,” published on our blog page. It explains our theory of social change and the inspiration behind our work.

In sum, evangelization is what inspires the faithful to live a life of both moral and civic virtue. For this reason, NLI seeks to empower evangelization by giving spiritual entrepreneurs the tools and resources they need to fulfill their apostolic missions.  

While we often think of evangelization in purely religious terms, there is also a socio-economic component to evangelization that is integral to the preservation and flourishing of civil society.

For example, a 2016 study from Georgetown University found that religion contributes over $1 trillion per year to the socio-economic health of the United States through social services including, but not limited to, “education, healthcare, local congregational activities, charities, media, and food.” To put this number into perspective, “this is more than the global annual revenues of tech giants Apple and Microsoft combined.”

Catholics in particular are called to contribute their talents and professional skills to such temporal endeavors. In the Second Vatican Council's Apostolicam Actuositatem, or “Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity,” it was promulgated that:

“In regard to the Christian renewal of the temporal order, the laity should be instructed in the true meaning and value of temporal things, both in themselves and in relation to all the aims of the human person. They should be trained in the right use of things and the organization of institutions, attentive always to the common good in line with the principles of the moral and social teaching of the Church.”
Does NLI charge for access to its content or educational materials?
Most of our content free of charge due to the generosity of our donors. With that said, our more sophisticated content may be protected behind donation walls. We do this ensure we can minimize risk of abuse of the resource by tracking its users and to continue operating and producing resources for faith-based organization.
What is the purpose of NLI's Working Groups? How do I join? Are there membership fees?
Comprised of legal, financial, and nonprofit professionals, NLI’s working groups serve on a volunteer basis to produce white papers, take on important cases and projects, and help equip and train one another in the specific types of resources and education that lay apostolates need.

There are no membership fees to join. We only ask that you share our commitment to serving those who serve others. If you are interested in joining a working group, please contact us.
How else can I get involved?
We encourage you to subscribe to our newsletter or follow NLI on social media to keep up with the work our team is doing.

NLI is able to provide timely and relevant analysis on issues impacting faith-based organizations because of the generosity of people who believe in our vision of empowering evangelization. As a nonprofit organization, we depend on and are deeply grateful for the financial support of our community.

If you are able to, we ask that you please consider supporting our mission as we continue working to equip faith-based organizations with the resources to prudently respond to the challenges they face.

Pillar 1:
Integrating Faith
and Professional
Life

EventsHost both public and private events to foster spiritual formation, fellowship, and community
Opportunities
Afford lawyers, accountants, and nonprofit professionals opportunities to use their skills for the benefit of faith-based nonprofits aligned with a Christian understanding of the objective moral orderCatholic Alignment
Ensure that every NLI activity, conference, and project is in alignment with the Catholic faith

Pillar 2:
education and
publication

Online Library
White papers, issue briefs, and special projects

Webinars and Seminars
Interactive education and engagement

The Napa Ledger
NLI’s monthly newsletter

And God’s First
NLI’s blog

Pillar 3:
Partnerships and
community

Presence
Maintain a presence at major
conferences, strategic events, and social functions

Partnership
Partner with existing legal organizations, chapters, and societies across the country to identify and recruit talented professionals committed to advancing religious liberty and civil society
Network
Operate an extensive network with the capacity to respond to a variety of needs related to corporate governance, tax compliance, employment issues,
and more