OneJustice Blog

Bring life-changing legal help to Californians in need.

Why we love our board of directors – and you will, too

BoardSource NewsletterA love letter to the OneJustice Board

We’re so excited – and we just can’t hide it!

We’re so excited to share some wonderful news with you — OneJustice was named the grand-prize winner of the 2013 Prudential Awards for Exceptional Nonprofit Boards at the recent BoardSource Leadership Forum (BLF), which took place earlier this month in Los Angeles! And, the award comes with $15,000!

Recognizing and promoting excellence in board service is at the heart of BoardSource’s mission. That’s why BoardSource created the Prudential Leadership Awards for Exceptional Nonprofit Boards, now in their third year. BoardSource announces these awards, in partnership with Prudential, at the annual BoardSource Leadership Forum. The awards are intended to inspire and support new approaches to strengthening and building organizational impact through board leadership.

In conjunction with the theme of BLF, the 2013 award winners exemplify exceptional governance and demonstrate the concept of “Bold Leadership: Taking Risks, Thinking Big” for their organizations in at least one of three areas: structure, fundraising, and governance.

OneJustice is featured in an article in BoardSource’s newsletter “Spark” released today.  (Click here to download the PDF of the article).

And, here’s what the folks at BoardSource had to say about OneJustice in a brochure they distributed at the conference:

The OneJustice Board of Directors

The OneJustice Board of Directors

What do you do when a consultant hired to help your board and new executive director prepare for a strategic planning process tells you that your stakeholders are not aware of your mission and do not consider your organization’s programs relevant to the communities it serves? Do you step back and rethink your plans to plan? The board of OneJustice (then the Public Interest Clearinghouse) took another tack. It decided to move ahead, to fully launch a strategic planning process, seek further stakeholder input, clarify its mission, set its vision, and carefully evaluate every project against a double bottom-line: mission impact and contribution to the organization’s financial health.

Projects that had outlived their relevance were eliminated. In their place rose two core program areas: increasing volunteerism in the legal community and increasing the business skills of nonprofit legal services. Both are directly tied to the organization’s mission of increasing the legal assistance available to poor and other underserved Californians. The board also turned to an issue that had long been under discussion: the confusion caused by its name, Public Interest Clearinghouse. With a communications consulting team supporting its efforts, the board managed a consensus-driven rebranding process that resulted in a new name — OneJustice — representing the organization’s commitment to creating one justice system that works equally for all.

The OneJustice Board doing training by videoconference

The OneJustice Board participating in fundraising training by videoconference.

But the board was not done. Immediately after completing the organizational strategic plan, the board turned its critical eye inward. After completing an in-depth performance assessment and identifying its strengths and weaknesses, it trained in the Governance as Leadership model, created a governance committee, and institutionalized processes related to multi-year recruitment plans, performance evaluation of each board member prior to term renewal, and continuous learning.

As a result of the board’s work over the past six years, OneJustice is now flourishing. The budget has doubled, the revenue model is stable, the organization is responding to stakeholder requests for geographic presence in Southern California, and the board is engaged and focused on mission, excellence, and continued strategic growth. Just over a year ago, the board solicited feedback from the same set of stakeholders as in 2007. The response this time? “One Justice is the glue that holds the California legal services community together.” The 180-degree transformation in the organization’s relevance is due to the board’s leadership.

BoardSource Award 2013

OneJustice Board Chair Max Ochoa with OneJustice staff receiving the award from BoardSource and Prudential at the BoardSource Leadership Forum on November 8th in Los Angeles.             (Photograph by Sarah Fiske)

3 responses to “Why we love our board of directors – and you will, too

  1. Claire Axelrad November 22, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Yay One Justice Board. You rock and roll! So proud of you!

  2. Pingback: Justice is what love looks like in public | OneJustice Blog

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