Sally Wagenmaker

Sally Wagenmaker provides legal counsel in corporate, tax, employment, and real estate matters for nonprofits operating on local, national, and international levels. Her clients include churches and other religious organizations, social service providers, and schools.

Sally’s corporate and tax work includes development of new tax-exempt entities, providing guidance for effective nonprofit governance and other operational legal issues. In addition, she represents clients in property tax exemption matters for charitable, religious, and educational purposes, shared occupancy arrangements, and property transfers. Sally also regularly advises and counsels the firm’s nonprofit clients on employment matters including contracts, termination, employment policies, unemployment insurance, and compliance with other employment laws, particularly as they relate to nonprofit issues such as volunteers and clergy.

Prior to practicing law with Wagenmaker & Oberly, Sally was a partner with Mosher & Wagenmaker and also worked with the Chicago law firm of Hoogendoorn & Talbot. In addition, she worked as a solo practitioner, providing legal assistance to indigent and low-income clients primarily in Chicago’s west side neighborhood of North Lawndale. Sally lives in Chicago with her husband Dan and two children.



  • Answering Your Overtime Questions (webinar and eBook), Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, 2016
  • Church Guidance for Same-Sex Issues (webinar, accompanying white paper, and FAQs), Christian Legal Society, 2015
  • Speak Up: Issue Advocacy in Increasingly Politicized Times, Pepperdine Journal of Business, Entrepreneurship & the Law, 2014
  • Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education’s Not-For-Profit Corporations: "State Property Tax and Sales Exemptions” (chapter originally authored in 2011; updated annually)
  • Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations (ECFA-sponsored): "Should Religious Institutions Be Required to File Form 990s?" (position paper co-authored with Michael Mosher; January 2012)
  • RIA Checkpoint:  "Churches and IRS Form 990 Reporting: Maintaining Exemption (adapted article from ECFA Commission; 2012)
  • Christian Legal Society: "Election Year Q & A: Do's and Don'ts for Churches and Other Nonprofits" (magazine article; 2012)


  • Member of the IRS TE/GE Advisory Council for the Great Lakes Region
  • Secretary of the Northern Illinois Chapter of Christian Legal Society
  • President-Elect of National Christian Legal Society


  • Impact of New Overtime Regulations on Nonprofits, Illinois CPA Society (2016)
  • Impact of New Overtime Regulations on Churches and Ministries, Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability - Webinar (2016)
  • Facilities Usage Stewardship and Religious Liberty, Post-Obergefell, Moody Bible Institute - Engage the Culture Conference (2016)
  • Church Guidance in Light of Same-Sex/Religious Liberty Developments, Judson University - Webinar (2016)
  • Political Activity for Nonprofits, The Law Project (2016)
  • My House? Your House? Our House? When Not-for-Profits Wish to Co-Locate, New York Law School/Loyola University College of Law - Rooftops Conference Chicago (2016)
  • Legal Hotspots for Nonprofits: Governance, Religious Liberty, IRS Developments, and Creative Collaboration, Capin Crouse (2015)
  • Legal, Tax, and Risk Management Hotspots for Churches and Nonprofits, co-panelist with Richard Hammar and H. Robert Showers, Christian Legal Society National Conference (2015)
  • Issue Advocacy for Nonprofits, Christian Legal Society National Conference (2014)
  • On Successful Leadership:  Applying Fiduciary Duties Beyond the Nonprofit Boardroom, Trinity International University (2014)
  • Getting Your House of Worship in Order, Educational Seminar - ABC Bank Chicago (2014)
  • Leading Well: Directors’ and Officers’ Responsibilities, Christian Legal Society National Conference (2011, 2012)
  • Creative Fundraising Strategies in Challenging Economic Times, Christian Community Development Association National Conference (2012)
  • Employment Law for Nonprofit Leaders, Christian Community Development Association National Conference (2010)
  • Tax and Reporting Requirements for Nonprofits, CPAs for the Public Interest (2010)
  • Legal Best Practices on Organizational Documents, Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability Regional Conference (2010)
  • Real Estate and Sales Tax Exemption, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2010)
  • Directors’ and Officers’ Responsibilities, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2009)
  • What is ‘Charity?’ Implications of Property Tax Exemption Trends on Federal Tax Exemption, IRS TE/GE Council – Great Lakes Area (2009)


  • DePaul University College of Law (2014, 2015)
  • DePaul University Graduate School (2007, 2009, 2011)
  • Harper College, Palatine, Illinois (2008, 2009)
  • Northwestern University Institute of Continuing Education (2009)


  • Volunteer Mediator with the Center for Conflict Resolution
  • Lawndale Christian Health Center Board (2000-2005)
  • Lawndale Christian Legal Center Advisory Council (2011-present)
  • The Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic Board (1995-1999)
  • Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago volunteer (1995-1998)