Circles of passionate thinkers
Coming together to shape the future of philanthropy
OneJustice supports a statewide network of nonprofits, law schools, law firms, and businesses that provide life-changing legal help to hundreds of thousands of Californians facing legal barriers to basic necessities. You – like everyone in our network – are an essential part of this collective effort!
This month we’re excited to feature Full Circle Fund as another example of how “It Takes a Network” to achieve access to justice for Californians in need. Last year, the Full Circle Fund Rising Leaders program provided wonderful support to OneJustice in the development of a design for a completely virtual legal services clinic – using technology to connect urban lawyers and law students with rural communities. We were able to connect with Tejal Desai, Full Circle Fund’s Manager of Marketing and Communications, for a quick Q&A about Full Circle Fund and its work.
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OneJustice: Tell us a little bit about Full Circle Fund – what it is and what does it do?
Tejal Desai: Full Circle Fund is an active network of professionals who leverage their time, talent and connections to help nonprofit organizations create more impact.
Each year, Full Circle Fund members gather at Demo Day, where the current year’s grant portfolio is unveiled.
We bring together these talented individuals (who we call “Members”) to accelerate local change through the collaborative infrastructure of what we refer to as our Circles. Circles unite Members with a common interest in our key issue areas – Economic Opportunity, Education, and Energy/Environment.
OneJustice: That sounds pretty amazing! How can people get involved?
Tejal: These talented individuals apply for membership and meet with current Members and staff, as well as attend our events, to see if there’s a good fit. Once they join, our Members dive right into our projects!
OneJustice: And how does the Rising Leaders program work? Who participates?
Tejal: Rising Leaders are ambitious and eager early-career individuals who are passionate about making their community and the world a better place. The program was launched thanks to the support of the Koret Foundation in 2012.
Our Rising Leaders receive leadership development and mentorship opportunities, speaker programs, and a separate grant budget for the program participants to plan unique engagement/learning opportunities and events.
To date, our growing group of Rising Leaders have continued to support our current Grant Partners while impacting the larger community; they have helped over 15 organizations outside Full Circle Fund’s current Grant Portfolio with their pressing needs during three-hour consultation and interactive brainstorm sessions, or Idea Jamathons. They continue to wow us through their thought leadership and innovative approaches towards actively engaging our Members with local non-profits that seek support.
Rising Leaders and other Full Circle Fund members work through how to create a completely virtual legal services clinic – the idea that won the June 2013 Idea Jamathon.
OneJustice: Last year OneJustice was honored to be selected to work with the Rising Leaders in an Idea Jamathon. Can you tell us a bit about that idea and how it works?
Tejal: In early spring 2013, the Rising Leaders opened applications to local non-profit organizations, searching for innovative non-profits with a unique mission and specific set of issue areas to help during a day of collaboration at our first-ever Idea Jamathon. The group then narrowed the selection choice down to seven non-profits to participate in the inaugural Idea Jamathon.
All seven local non-profit organizations then competed to win a $5,000 grant by spending an afternoon solving an issue area that was presented at the beginning of the program. After a day of brainstorming and collaboration, each group presented its solution, and the Rising Leaders voted on OneJustice as having the most innovative solution!
OneJustice: And what most interests you about OneJustice’s approach and strategies?
Tejal: OneJustice takes the hand-up over hand-out approach, which we live and breathe by! We believe in the power of direct and engaged participation and in leveraging talent, paired with a very specific skill set, to help those in need. Access to justice is an especially pressing issue in California for families and individuals (not just lawyers!), and we’re impressed by OneJustice’s direct approach in making legal services and support more accessible to those who are in need.
Full Circle Fund staff Tejal Desai and Maegan Lillis joined in the OneJustice network’s 2013 “thank you” video – to see the whole video click on this image.
From all of us at OneJustice, a huge thank you to the Rising Leaders and all the members of Full Circle Fund for their innovative approach to helping nonprofits scale creative responses to pressing problems and for their terrific support for OneJustice and expanding life-changing legal help to those in need!