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Practitioner Resources

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Introduction to Innovative Financing for Legal Empowerment Organizations

+Acumen, Open Society Justice Initiative,

This article explores challenges and opportunities that arise when generating earned income for legal empowerment organizations. The article offers: 1) key reasons why legal empowerment organizations should consider innovative financing and alternatives to philanthropy, 2) an overview of effective sustainability techniques, with examples from across the legal empowerment field, and 3) critical pieces of advice…

Make the Road: Developing a Membership Model that Builds the Power of Immigrant and Working Class Communities

+Acumen, Open Society Justice Initiative,

Make the Road is the largest nonunion immigrant membership organization in New York, in the United States. This case study explores Make the Road’s experiments with innovative financing. To support this work, the team at Make the Road has developed a robust and diversified funding model. In 2019, the vast majority of the organization’s overall…

LAWPADI: Experimenting with Business Models to Provide Legal Services to Nigerians at Scale

+Acumen, Open Society Justice Initiative,

This case study explores the efforts of Tunde Ibidapo-Obe, founder Lawpadi, to develop a business model to fund an online platform for legal services in Nigeria. Initially, Tunde imagined Lawpadi could have a vetted panel of lawyers that they could refer customers to and charge a commission fee in exchange. When it became clear that…

Centre for Community Justice and Development: Using Innovative Financing to Sustain Legal Empowerment Work in South Africa

+Acumen, Open Society Justice Initiative,

This case study follows the story of Winnie Martens, founding director of the Centre for Community Justice (CCJD) in South Africa, as she shaped the organization into a nonprofit social enterprise focused on the intertwined mission of “justice” and “development” for local communities surrounding The University of KwaZulu-Natal. Today, the organization supports a network of…

Agenda de Fortalecimiento de la Sociedad Civil Organizada

Ana Cristina Gómez López, Marcela Nieto Sarre, María de los Ángeles Olvera Ortega,

La sociedad civil organizada (SCO) tiene un papel fundamental en un país como México en el que más del 50% de la población vive en situación de pobreza y tan sólo el 10% concentra el 64% de la riqueza; en donde el acceso a servicios educativos y de salud de calidad es sumamente desigual; y…

Justice Policy Series, Part 1: Access to Justice

Open Government Partnership, Joseph Foti, Jessica Hickle, Maha Jweied,

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) provides an opportunity for government and civil society reformers to make government more transparent, participatory, and accountable. Working together, government and civil society co-create two-year action plans with concrete commitments across a broad range of issues that are then monitored by OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM). Until recently, access to…

The Legal Empowerment Movement and Its Implications

Peter Chapman,

Around the world, a global legal empowerment movement is transforming the way in which people access justice. The concept of legal empowerment is rooted in strengthening the ability of communities to: “understand, use and shape the law.” The movement relies on people helping one another to stand up to authority and challenge injustice. At its…

A Few Interventions and Offerings from Five Movement Lawyers to the Access to Justice Movement

Jennifer Ching, Thomas B. Harvey, Meena Jagannath, Purvi Shah, Blake Strode,

We are five lawyers who occupy very different corners of justice work. We are civil rights, human rights, and criminal defense lawyers, and we have worked at and managed legal services programs. We have taught law at law schools and universities and have built our own organizations. We currently work in interdisciplinary spaces with community…

Hybrid entities can bring for-profit strategies to NGO funding

Louis Bickford,

This resource touches on how Hybrid entities that mix for-profit and not-for-profit strategies have the potential to free NGOs from constantly seeking foundation funding. Through his experiences in both the NGO world and now through a startup in Silicon Valley Louis Bickford shares insights of his journey so far

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