New Oregon Community Foundation’s grant funds increase services at Oregon Law School’s Nonprofit Clinic

Eugene Oregon

June 22, 2021

The Oregon Community Foundation’s (OCF) Barbara Bowerman Fund has awarded Oregon Law’s Nonprofit Clinic an additional $500,000 grant. This award will increase the services that the Clinic will be able to provide the nonprofit community. In the past, the Clinic has helped its clients assess their organizational structures. With this new grant, the Clinic will be able to help its clients implement the changes recommended in their assessments.

“This grant helps the Nonprofit Clinic take a giant step forward to meet more of the needs of the nonprofit community by helping them achieve their missions more effectively and efficiently,” Marcilynn Burke, Dean and Dave Frohnmayer Chair in Leadership and Law, said.

Maylian Pak, OCF’s Director of Donor Relations, said “The Barbara Bowerman Fund of Oregon Community Foundation has supported this program from its inception and is pleased to help add implementation to the Clinic’s already valuable assessment service. ”

The Nonprofit Clinic is a unique interdisciplinary program with graduate students from the School of Law, the law school’s Conflict and Dispute Resolution Program, the College of Business, and the School of Planning, Public Policy and Management. Student teams provide each nonprofit client with a thorough, tailored governance assessment; substantive recommendations; and a written report with supporting resources. Students develop valuable professional skills through this assessment process. They learn how to interview and counsel, review and analyze corporate documents, strengthen their writing abilities, facilitate meetings, and explore organizational functioning and dynamics.

“The increased funding will support a fall semester implementation clinic,” Clinic Director Beatrice Dohrn said. “Providing follow-up assistance will magnify the impact of the services the Clinic already provides the Oregon nonprofit community.”

Under the expansion, law students who take the newly added fall implementation clinic will handle a range of business legal matters for nonprofits. They will tackle legal issues such as revising bylaws; drafting standard form contracts, liability waivers, confidentiality agreements, and volunteer handbooks; and advising on measures to help ensure tax compliance. To date the Clinic has performed assessments for 90 Oregon nonprofit organizations.

This year’s clients included Diabetes Community Care Team; HIV Alliance; Material Exchange Center for Community Arts (MECCA); The Northwest Hub, which provides affordable bikes for disadvantaged Salem residents; Parkside Community PreSchool; Positive Community Kitchen; Rebuilding Together Portland, which helps low-income homeowners make repairs; and Wally’s House, a child abuse intervention center.

Heather Campbell, MECCA’s Executive Director said, “Looking at our governance structure and operations with fresh eyes yielded important and actionable takeaways. The students provided a comprehensive plan and inspired us to have important conversations around governance and structure. “

With five years still remaining on a nine-year, $900,000 grant supporting the Clinic’s free governance assessments, the new funds will allow the Clinic to continue its assessment work while adding the much needed implementation services.