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Cindy M. Lott, Esq.

Associate Professor of Professional Practice; Academic Director, Columbia University | M.S. Nonprofit Management

Cindy M. Lott is an Associate Professor of Professional Practice and serves as Academic Director for Nonprofit Management Programs at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies, where she developed the curriculum for, teaches in and manages the M.S. in Nonprofit Management. Previously, she served as Executive Director and Senior Counsel to the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School, as well as the developer and lead counsel to the Charities Regulation and Oversight Project.  Lott is also a Senior Fellow at the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute and was an inaugural Policy Fellow at Independent Sector.  She develops and moderates 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 served on the 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, 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. She has taught as an adjunct professor both at Columbia Law School and Indiana University's O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. 

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  as well as serving as a Chief Counsel and Section Chief in a state attorney general's office. 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.


  • NOPM PS5290: Role and Unique Nature of the Nonprofit Sector
  • NOPM PS515: Nonprofit Governance
  • NOPM PS5180: Ethics in the Nonprofit Sector
  • NOPM PS5265: Managing the Mission-based Organization


  • J.D., Yale University
  • B.A., Indiana University