Changes because of the Bush Prize:
Winning the Bush Prize in 2014 helped Legal Services of North Dakota (LSND) in many ways. First, it allowed LSND to update our intake telephone system, which helped improve the service to applicants in accessing our intake system and has allowed LSND to use one telephone system for the entire program. This in itself has helped LSND provide better service to clients throughout the entire state of North Dakota. Second, it has allowed LSND to update equipment such as servers, copiers and computers that were in need of updating. Updating equipment for a non-profit usually gets cut from the budget because of limited funds, so this was a another important benefit of winning the Bush Prize funds. Third, it has allowed LSND to purchase digital software for record storage. This will help LSND save record storage costs over time. It will also allow LSND to maintain a brief bank of client case files that will be searchable and easy to access. It will also store all of LSND's payroll and administration files as well. Fourth, it has helped LSND provide a means to send new attorneys and other staff to conferences and training to further their professional development.
Impact on your field:
The Bush Prize has brought attention to our program in a way we could not do for our self. It has provided a boost to our credibility in the communities we serve throughout North Dakota.
Goals for Bush Prize funds:
LSND hopes to accomplish a stronger legal aid program with the Bush Prize funds. As mentioned before, just having updated equipment and technology is a major benefit and helps provide better service to clients. Having the funds to send employees to conferences and training provides professional development that also improves our ability to provide service to low-income clients. LSND has been proactive in striving to add new programs to our agency as the need becomes apparent, such as Human Trafficking. LSND is also working on establishing a Medical Legal Partnership program. LSND hopes to accomplish these programs and are using Bush Prize Funds as needed to either supplement, continue or begin the process in these new programs.
Use of Bush Prize funds so far:
As mentioned above LSND has spent the Bush Prize funds on updating equipment such as telephone system, servers, copiers, computers and digital software. We have also spent the Bush Prize funds for conference and training for our staff as the opportunities became available. LSND as also spent the funds on salaries and fringe to either accomplish a project, or while waiting for other funding to become available for a new program.
Plans for remaining Bush Prize funds:
LSND plans on spending any remaining grant funds to compliment current programs where funding has been reduced by state and federal budget cuts. Also, to provide training to new attorneys and other staff as needed.