2020

Annual Report & Financials


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Part of being good stewards of the trust our donors place in us is to make sure we are spending your money and our time on the things that give us the most return on investment. So instead of a high gloss, 20-page annual report, we thought it would be better to focus our energy on making our website more useful. For example, we can summarize and link to full reports or more details and simultaneously demonstrate transparency to the public. Plus, as an added bonus, we can adopt an open advocacy model (where we share our work) so that it can serve as a teaching tool for other justice seekers.


And since this saves us a ton of time and money, we can use more of your generous donations on doing what you are paying us to do... untangle the mess of policies and laws that keep people poor.



program highlights


Street Outreach Court Detroit read the full report

  • Revised and streamlined SOCD process to continue program despite pandemic-related issues, resulting in 96 people "graduating" from the program

  • Provided technical assistance to Flint, MI as they opened their homeless court in October

  • Provided technical assistance to Oklahoma City, OK regarding pandemic-related process changes

  • Started conversation with Marquette, MI social service and legal community about starting a homeless court

  • Started development of app to streamline back-end processing of homeless court cases



Veterans Law Project learn more

  • Extended partnership with VOA to June 2022






campaign & advocacy wins


BLM / Police Reform / Decriminalization

  • Advised on fair and impartial policing policy in Lansing Township

  • Sent letter with ACLU, NLCHP, and Street Medicine to Detroit calling for ending inhumane homeless sweeps resulting in modified police procedure

  • Advised and testified on decriminalization and police reform bills

  • Started pursuit of impact litigation regarding the doctrine of abatement (i.e. stopping all prosecution) on charges that later have been decriminalized, in this case marijuana possession



Court Watch

  • Led grassroots advocacy to persuade Governor to veto SB420, a bill that would have turned courts into bill collectors



Functional Sentencing learn more

  • Created Action Plan to link community and defense, webpage having 408 unique views and 31% interaction rate

  • Created continuing legal education materials and in-court materials for defense counsel

  • Presented CLE to Kalamazoo Defender

  • Started development of app to ease adoption of functional sentencing



Public Benefits



ReThink Education

  • Helped negotiate and draft settlement terms in right to literacy case before the US 6th Circuit

  • Convened our 5th Rethink Summit and addressed discipline issues related to pandemic



Voting Rights

  • Developed simplified poll worker training materials and accessibility checklist

  • Presented poll worker training materials to city clerks association

  • Participated in Election Day Observer with Michigan Department of State, NAACP

  • Participated in non-partisan absentee ballot counting observation with Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights






internal updates

Conducted internal racial equity assessment, adopting policies to use market power to advance racial equity and promote within existing vendors and to develop capacity and leadership potential of staff; Expanded board membership to include lived experience; Hired consultant to assist with funding development and implementation of more formalized business operations.


Financials

financial statements (forthcoming), 990 (forthcoming)