2020 was a year full of challenges and disruptions brought about by the pandemic, and if that wasn’t enough, we also experienced significant social unrest with vast socioeconomic and racial iniquities exposed and rallied against across the nation. Now more than ever, nonprofits have been called upon to step up to support their communities to the best of their ability, with limited funding and resources.
Our Minnesota Resourcefullness Award winner, Page Education Foundation, has been working to lessen this socioeconomic gap for over 30 years by supporting students of color throughout Minnesota. Its award-winning creative and sustainable revenue-generating campaign initiative is its Page Education Foundation Elimination of Bias Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Program which aims to encourage, motivate and assist students of color in the pursuit of post-secondary education.
Founded in 1988 by retired Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Justin Alan Page and his wife, Diane, the Page Education Foundation encourages Minnesota students of color to pursue post-secondary education. In exchange for financial support for college, grant recipients, called Page Scholars, are provided various opportunities to gain knowledge and resources within the legal profession. In addition, Scholars are required to give back to their communities by tutoring and mentoring children kindergarten through eighth grade. This mentoring helps provide a powerful, real life example of the importance of education and giving back, as well as the value of post-secondary education for achieving a successful future.
Since Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits are required of all practicing Minnesota attorneys, the Page Education Foundation recognized the need to fulfill this requirement and launched a CLE program focused on the elimination of bias in the law. The half-day seminar delivers topical subject matter, engaging speakers and the ability to support the work of its nonprofit organization. In addition, the program also benefits the Page Scholars who have an interest in pursuing law.
Their initial CLE program was held in 2015 and has grown each year since through sponsorship opportunities and increased attendance. In 2019, this campaign initiative generated over $90,000; more than $11,000 over their goal.
These types of inclusion and diversity initiatives continue to be relevant and important for nonprofits and other organizations. There is a collective need across the board to better work on the elimination of bias and address disparities in the legal profession specifically, which results in actionable change.
“By providing an ongoing focus on the need to meaningfully address bias in the law, our program helps build awareness of the importance of working to eliminate such bias or at least to be cognizant of its existence," said Page of the CLE program initiative. "Additionally, we recognize the importance of advancing perspectives and raising voices that have not often been heard. Our annual CLE program is designed to leave attendees thinking about their individual role and the role their law firm or business can play in making positive changes to the profession that allow for greater diversity and inclusion."
-Justice Alan Page, Page Education Foundation Co-Founder and retired Minnesota Supreme Court Justice
For its CLE program initiative, goals included raising awareness among attorneys of systemic bias in the legal profession. Each year, the nonprofit organization focuses on an issue that requires uncomfortable conversations. They realize the critical need for these conversations and see the CLE program as a starting point.
Additionally, they invite their Page Scholars to attend. This provides them the chance to make connections and engage in meaningful conversations with those currently in the legal profession, often launching mentorships or internship opportunities.
Lastly, in addition to securing legal continuing education credits, this program allows for legal professionals to reconnect, as well as establish new connections, thus enhancing collegial relationships in the profession. They recognize that the law is a powerful instrument for change and believe the CLE program provides attendees the opportunity to identify areas where change is needed.
What can your nonprofit learn from the Page Education Foundation’s campaign and our other three Resourcefullness Award winners?
In a year full of disruption, nonprofits were forced to be agile, flexible and innovative. Despite all the complexities and obstacles, the nonprofit community learned how to better use technology and public generosity was more than ever. Watch our “Lessons Learned in Resourcefullness” webinar recording to learn how our award winners rose above the challenges.
Do you have a strong and creative revenue-generating program that has grown through the years? Have you enhanced your nonprofit programs or created new programs in 2020? Be sure to enter our 2021 Resourcefullness Award. The application process is set to open July 15, 2021. Eide Bailly’s Resourcefullness Award is our way to support the financial health of the nonprofit sector while recognizing and celebrating nonprofits in Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota and North Dakota for their creative and sustainable revenue generating initiatives. The firm will give a $10,000 prize to a 501(c)(3) organizations in each of the four states. Additional information on this award including judging criteria, FAQs and terms and condition are posted here.
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