Cindy M. Lott

Clinical Professor of Philanthropic Studies; Director, Professional Doctorate of Philanthropic Leadership; Stead Policy Fellow

Suite 3077
University Hall
301 University Blvd.
Indianapolis, IN


  • Yale Law School, J.D. 1993
  • Indiana University, B.A. 1989


Cindy M. Lott, Esq., is Clinical Professor of Philanthropic Studies, Director of the Professional Doctorate in Philanthropic Leadership (PhilD) and Stead Policy Fellow at Indiana University's Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Her teaching, research, writing and consulting span nonprofit management, ethics, governance, law, regulation and policy. Since 2006, she has developed and moderated a series of national convenings on state and federal regulation of the charitable sector and is engaged in research regarding regulatory capacity and enforcement at the state level. Lott is a frequent speaker at national conferences in the areas of philanthropic and nonprofit state regulation, compliance, ethics, management and governance.

Lott also serves as a fellow at the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute, a think tank in Washington, D.C., and was an inaugural Policy Fellow at Independent Sector, the world’s largest membership organization devoted to the nonprofit sector. She was a member of the U.S. IRS Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt Entities (ACT, 2015-2018), currently serves on the public policy committee of Independent Sector, is the Chair of the Public Policy, Politics and Law section of ARNOVA, is a member of the Global Philanthropy Environment Index Advisory Council, an international research project by the Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy, and is co-chair of the state sub-committee on state issues for exempt organizations within the American Bar Association. She has worked with major foundation leaders on behalf of the Council on Foundations and was a board member of the national charity monitor Wise Giving Alliance.

Prior to joining the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, she was Associate Professor of Professional Practice and Academic Director for Nonprofit Management Programs at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies, where she developed the program and curriculum for the M.S. Nonprofit Management. Lott served as Executive Director and Senior Counsel to the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School, where she worked with state attorneys generals on a diverse range of issues, even as she created and served as lead counsel to the Charities Regulation and Oversight Project, funded by the Ford Foundation and the C.S. Mott Foundation. As Lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School, she co-taught an Advanced Research Seminar on State Attorneys General.

As Visiting Clinical Associate Professor at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, in 2007- 2009, Lott developed the Nonprofit Legal Clinic, a transactional clinic designed to introduce students to the law and real-world practice of tax exempt organizations. She also has taught the Nonprofit Management Capstone course at Indiana University’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs as a part-time lecturer.

Lott served as Chief Counsel to the 2004 Democratic National Convention and was Deputy Counsel to the 2000 Democratic National Convention. She has worked at large firms in compliance, employment litigation and transactional litigation, as well as serving as a Chief Counsel to the Indiana State Attorney General in 1998, and prior to that, as Section Chief for regulatory litigation. Lott is a 1993 graduate of the Yale Law School and clerked for the United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit. She is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, Indiana and Massachusetts.

Her volunteer work in Indiana has included co-founding the Volunteers in Medicine medical clinic for the uninsured in Monroe and Greene counties and serving on the Steering Committee for the creation of the Indiana University School of Public Health on the Bloomington campus. Currently, Lott serves as a member of the International Advisory Council for the Kinsey Institute.


    • Lott, C. (2021, December 14). Passion plus knowledge: Educating for nonprofit stewardship. The NonProfit Times.
    • Nonprofit Scholar’s Amicus Brief, Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Rob Bonta, Attorney General of California; Thomas More Law Center v. Rob Bonta, Attorney General of California No. 19-251 (U.S. July 1, 2021), 594 U.S. ___ (2021) (co-author with other nonprofit legal scholars).
    • Lott, Cindy M., Mary L. Shelly, Nathan Dietz, and Marcus Gaddy, Bifurcation of State Regulation of Charities: Divided Regulatory Authority Over Charities and its Impact on Charitable Solicitation Laws. Washington, DC: Urban Institute (2018).
    • Lott, Cindy M. and Marion Fremont-Smith, State Regulatory and Legal Framework, in Nonprofits and Government: Collaboration and Conflict, Elizabeth T. Boris and C. Eugene Steuerle (Eds.), Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017, 163-190.
    • Dietz, Nathan, Cindy M. Lott, Putnam Barber, and Mary Shelly, State Charitable Solicitations Registration Regulations and Fundraising Performance: Theoretical Considerations and Preliminary Results. Nonprofit Policy Forum, 8(2), 2017, 183-204.
    • Internal Revenue Service. Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT) report, Subcommittee on Tax Exempt Organizations, Washington, D.C. (co-author with IRS ACT members), 2017.
    • Lott, Cindy M., Annual Report on State Laws Regulating Charitable Solicitations as of January 1, 2017, Giving Institute’s Giving USA Foundation Philanthropy Spotlight, 2017.
    • Lott, Cindy M. and Elizabeth T. Boris, The United States’ Regulatory Framework: Opportunities and Challenges, Current and Future, McGregor-Lowndes, M. and Wyatt, R. (Eds.), Regulating Charities: The Inside Story, Routledge, New York, 2016.
    • Editors and Cindy M. Lott, The Shifting Boundaries of Nonprofit Regulation and Enforcement: A Conversation with Cindy M. Lott. Nonprofit Quarterly, August 3, 2016.
    • Lott, Cindy M., Elizabeth T. Boris, Karin Kunstler Goldman, Belinda J. Johns, Marcus Gaddy, Maura R. Farrell, State Regulation and Enforcement in the Charitable Sector. Washington, DC: Urban Institute, 2016.
    • Lott, Cindy M., Annual Report on State Laws Regulating Charitable Solicitations as of January 1, 2016, Giving Institute’s Giving USA Foundation Philanthropy Spotlight, 2016.
    • Internal Revenue Service. Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT) report, Subcommittee on Tax Exempt Organizations, Washington, D.C. (co-author with IRS ACT members), 2016.
    • Lott, Cindy M., Ed., conference papers for The Future of State Charities Regulation, Charities Regulation and Oversight Project, National State Attorneys General Program, Columbia Law School, published online, Columbia University’s Academic Commons, New York, 2013.
    • Lott, Cindy M., The Electronic Face of Your Nonprofit Organization, Texas Bar Continuing Legal Education, Austin, TX, 2012.
    • Modisett, Jeffrey A. and Cindy M. Lott, Cyberlaw and E-Commerce: A State Attorney General’s Perspective, Northwestern University Law Review, 94: 643-656, 1999-2000.