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Sharon Weinberg Nokes

Lecturer, Nonprofit Management; Senior Director, Legal Affairs and Senior Counsel, The Pew Charitable Trusts

Sharon Weinberg Nokes is in-house counsel to The Pew Charitable Trusts, where she serves as principal counsel to Pew’s Philanthropic Partnerships Group and Pew’s Finance Department, and is responsible for advising the institution’s board and senior management on tax, governance, corporate, compliance, and international issues that affect Pew as a global philanthropy and tax-exempt public charity.

Before joining Pew in 2015, Nokes practiced law with the nationally-recognized Exempt Organizations team at Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered (Washington, D.C.), where she was promoted to Of Counsel in 2011 and was elected to Member of the firm in 2014. In this role, she provided comprehensive legal, tax, transactional, and governance advice to complex nonprofits, including some of the nation’s largest charities and foundations, educational and cultural institutions, advocacy groups, international philanthropies, and their affiliated entities. She also advised donors regarding their charitable giving alternatives implemented through the use of wills, trusts, donor-advised funds, family foundations, and other vehicles. Nokes regularly represented clients in complex IRS examinations and disputes with state attorneys general, and before the Treasury Department and congressional tax-writing committees with regard to proposed or recently-enacted laws and regulations. She was named a 2015-16 “Rising Star” in the field of Nonprofit Organizations Law by Washington, D.C., Super Lawyers.

Nokes is a regular speaker at national professional conferences on exempt organizations issues and serves as Editor-in-Chief of Taxation of Exempts (ThomsonReuters), a bi-monthly publication for nonprofit executives and professional advisors to nonprofit organizations. She also has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center and American University Washington College of Law, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts.

At Georgetown University Law Center, Nokes was a senior writing fellow and managing editor of the law review. Before entering the legal profession, Nokes was a professional musician, performing with orchestras in New York City and in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region, and serving as the principal flutist of the United States Air Force Band in Washington, D.C.


  • NOPM PS5190: Legal Landscape of Nonprofit Law: Essentials for Non-Lawyers


  • J.D., Georgetown University
  • M.M., Manhattan School of Music
  • B.M., Eastman School of Music


  • "Navigating Chapter 42: A Road Map for Foundation Advisors," (Taxation of Exempts, March/April 2014)
  • "Preparing for and Navigating Complex IRS Examinations" (Taxation of Exempts, May/June 2013), coauthored with Marcus S. Owens and Diara M. Holmes