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I often hear board members I'm working with say: we need to add a lawyer. And indeed, lawyers are popular additions to nonprofit boards but I'm not quite certain as to what exactly is expected with the addition of one. True, lawyers have a way of thinking, a process or discipline, that can be helpful to a board when fiduciary and sometimes strategic matters are up for discussion (which should be every meeting). True, lawyers know particular legal disciplines. For example, real estate lawyers know real estate law and this knowledge could be useful to a community development organization. But of course, the board member attorney could not be engaged in the actual transaction representing the nonprofit, that would be a conflict of interest (and of course, any one who represents themselves would have a fool for an attorney).

So what is the reasoning behind this perceived need? Alas, I believe that many nonprofits do believe that "possession" of a particular skill set embodied in the likes of an attorney or an accountant or even a banker as examples of professionals, will ensure the availability of "free" labor. Reality: it may and it may not. For sure, these and other professionals all can add value to a board but not necessarily as defined by their category (like attorney). When they bring value it is because they are a) passionate about the nonprofit's business caring about outcomes; b) willing to participate equally with the rest of the board in any conversation and/or task that is needed; and, c) likely have networks that can help support the work of the nonprofit if asked by this member. And, I'm sure there are additional benefits that may relate to but are not specific to their "job".

Yes, lawyers as well as all kinds of professions can add value to a nonprofit board. The governance committee however can best begin the conversation about need not with what profession box do we need to check-off but what networks, skills, knowledge, experience and passions, but first, always, passion, will help the board best fulfill its fiduciary duties of care, loyalty and obedience. Recruit accordingly. What incoming members don't know, they can be supported through ongoing training.

http://nonprofitboardcrisis.typepad.com/mbblog/2014/04/nonprofit-bo...

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Neighborhoods: What is Working

Open Street Project

An Open Streets Family Reunion: Reflections from the 2018 Open Streets Summit

By Ryan O’Connor, Director of Programs, 8 80 Cities Recently 8 80 Cities wrote a blog post about open streets being a labour of love. That being the case, the 2018 Open Streets Summit in New Orleans felt like a family reunion of sorts. It was rejuvenating to see old and new friends who share our passion for open streets and are working tirelessly to create healthier, happier, and more connected communities across the world. The event, which took place on September 15-16, brought together more than 50 leaders who currently organize open streets programs or are interested in bringing the...

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Open Streets Summit Draft Agenda

We hope you are getting ready and feel excited about the Open Streets Summit in Gretna/New Orleans! Taking place from September 15-16, 2018, the Summit will feature tours, presentations and networking opportunities with open streets champions and organizers from across the continent. Attendees will learn about the nuts and bolts of starting or scaling up open streets programs, including: Route design and planning Partnerships with business and officials Social inclusion Safety and logistics Marketing and promotion Program evaluation through measurable goals and metrics If you haven’t done it yet, click here to register for the Open Streets Summit only or...

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Open Streets Summit Speakers Announced!

The Open Streets Project is proud to announce that Ed Solis from Viva Calle (San Jose, CA), Romel Pascual from CicLAvia (Los Angeles, CA), Jaymie Santiago and Charles Brown from New Brunswick Ciclovia will join us as speakers for the 2018 Open Streets Summit in New Orleans and Gretna! Taking place from September 15-16 2018, the Summit will feature: Behind the scenes tour of the City of Gretna’s inaugural open streets program. Workshops, presentations, and networking opportunities with open streets champions and organizers from across the continent. Training and inspiration for both -novice and experienced- open streets organizers and supporters...

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Local Initiatives Support Corporation

Verizon and LISC Come Together to Support Small Businesses with COVID-19 Recovery Fund

An investment of $2.5 million from Verizon is making it possible for LISC to begin offering critical relief and resiliency-building support to small businesses facing immediate financial threat because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will go to make grants of up to $10,000, especially to entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses and other enterprises in historically under-served places who don’t have access to flexible, affordable capital. Verizon will highlight and bolster these efforts through their inaugural "Pay It Forward Live" online concert series.

A Message from LISC About COVID-19

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Have You Heard About “Women in Construction Week”?

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