February 2022 Newsletter: Depth over expasion

Depth over expansion February 2022 newsletter

How does an organization keep operations flowing when multiple colleagues are out on sabbatical or family leave? A knee-jerk reaction might be to hire temp workers to fill their roles. That was certainly our reaction when we realized a few colleagues would be in and out this year.

Luckily, we found space to take a few breaths together and methodically assess our collective capacity. A few brilliant colleagues spearheaded an Operations Audit where they cataloged every single operations related role in the organization. The Operations Audit Team brought us all together for a work party where the work was laid out in front of us, on a digital jam board. Who needs to put work down for a bit? Who has the capacity to pick work up? Who wants to permanently rotate out of a role?

Like a big game of musical chairs, we rearranged our collective work and were able to figure out how to keep the organization going without spending money or expanding in size. We chose to scale down or shutter certain work, grow our individual capacities by learning new skills to take on others' work, and stretch ourselves outside of our comfort zones to support critical operations like payroll and fundraising. 

We could have defaulted into a scarcity mindset.  Instead, we created an opportunity to grow skill sets and new nodes of connection between colleagues. 

If you’re interested in how to develop creative work solutions for your organization, join The Nonprofit Democracy Network! They’re currently designing a multi-month distance learning course, which they hope to launch in spring 2022. Sign up here to get updates on joining the Network once this new program is launched!

Black History Month at Allensworth

Touring Allensworth State ParkBlacksmith demonstration at Allensworth State Park

Earlier this month, Law Center Staff members from the Food and Farm Circle traveled to the San Joaquin Valley and celebrated Black History month at Colonel Allensworth State Park alongside our clients APA (Allensworth Progressive Association). APA was established by Black township founders back in 1908 and now is a 501c3 nonprofit serving the rural community of Allensworth in Southwest Tulare County, CA. Our relationship with APA came from the conjunction of the Law Center's desire to support more work in the Central Valley, and our commitment to supporting Black futures. APA offers the Central Valley a vision that is both rooted in racial justice and cooperative development. It was inspiring to see hundreds of people gather to honor the spirit of self-determination and Black excellence that created Allensworth. 

Legal Fellow Highlight

Our latest cohort of Legal Fellows serve the legal needs of a diverse array of businesses, cooperatives, and educational institutions around the country, focused on growing local sustainable economies. This is the last feature of our 2021 Legal Fellows and the fantastic work they’re doing. Click here to see all of our 2021 Fellows.

Raye Winch



Raye Winch

Driver of democratic process and regenerative agriculture


Shefali Milczarek-Desai




Shefali Milczarek-Desai

Instructing the next generation of attorneys in client-centered, cross-cultural, access-to-justice, and movement-based lawyering


Thomas Beckett



Thomas Beckett

Creating cooperative structures to allow people to exercise greater control over their own economic circumstances


Showing 1 reaction

  • Mwende Hinojosa
    published this page in Blog 2022-10-24 11:47:07 -0700

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