Legal Services of North Dakota

Learning Log

Legal Services of North Dakota

Final Report
Report date
February 28, 2018
Grant term
December 01, 2014
December 31, 2017
In recognition of winning a 2014 Bush Prize for Community Innovation, this grant will advance this organization's charitable purpose
Changes because of the Bush Prize
Winning the Bush Prize in 2014 has helped Legal Services of ND (LSND) in many ways. First, it has allowed LSND to update our statewide intake telephone system, which helped improve the service to applicants in accessing the intake system and has allowed LSND to use one telephone system for the entire program. Second, it has allowed LSND to update equipment such as servers, copiers, and computers that were in need of updating. Third, it has allowed LSND to purchase digital software for record storage. This will help LSND save record storage costs and will allow LSND to maintain a brief bank of client case files that will be searchable and easy for all attorneys to access. Fourth, it has helped LSND provide a means to send new attorneys and other staff to conferences and training to further their professional development. Fifth, it provided the means for LSND to update our Strategic Plan. LSND hired Authenticity Consulting to facilitate a planning process which included the entire LSND Board of Directors and management staff from our law offices throughout the state. A five year Strategic Plan was developed which included succession planning to plan for LSND's future.
Impact on your field
The Bush Prize has brought attention to our program in a way we could not do for ourselves. It has provided a boost to our credibility in the communities we serve throughout North Dakota. It has helped bring awareness to how our services can benefit the communities we serve, such as working with health care organizations to provide legal services to patients that may be experiencing health problems due to legal issues.
Goals for Bush Prize funds
LSND had hoped to accomplish a stronger legal aid program with the Bush Prize Funds, and we think we have accomplished that. As mentioned above, just having updated equipment and technology is a major benefit in being able to better serve our clients. Being able to store all our cases and agency files in a digital database provides real time access to all files. Having funds to send employees to conferences and training provides professional development which improves LSND's ability to provide service to our low-income clients. LSND has been proactive in striving to add new programs to our agency as the need becomes apparent in the communities we serve, such as Human Trafficking and recently in 2017, a Medical Legal Partnership program.
Use of Bush Prize funds
LSND spent the Bush Prize funds on updating old equipment such as the telephone intake system, servers, copiers, computers, digital software and other software needing updating. We have also spent the funds on sending employees to training and conferences to help advance their professionals skills. LSND has also spent the funds on salaries and fringe to either accomplish a project, or waiting for other funding to become available for a new program. LSND spent some of the funds to create a board/training room. Some funds were used to create a youth comic book for our Native American program to help them understand their rights and the tribal court process. And recently in 2017 the Bush Prize funds were used to hire the best strategic planning facilitator that we could find; and we brought in LSND Board of Directors and management staff from throughout the state to sit down and plan where we would like to see our agency in five years. Our current Executive Director is planning on retiring in three years, so succession planning was an important aspect of the planning process.
Leveraging the Bush Prize
We will continue to leverage the Bush Prize experience and funds in the future by continuing to work with community partners to meet the needs of the communities we serve. When we see a need for a legal service that isn't being addressed, LSND has always been proactive and innovative in searching for community partners and funding in an attempt to meet those needs of low-income clients. With the remaining funds we can continue to invest in future programs as needed.