Oregon is renowned for its widespread collaborative efforts to serve diverse groups. In the spirit of this collaborative ethic, Innovative Changes is spearheading the launch of a Pro Bono Community Collaborative (PBCC) in an effort to provide more comprehensive and high-quality services to the low-income communities that we serve.
What is the Pro Bono Collaborative?
The PBCC will engage volunteer professionals (such as attorneys, bankers, accountants, etc.) who have deep knowledge of systems that could be invaluable to our clients — and the clients of our many partner nonprofits — in dynamic ways. We see professionals participating in the PBCC at many different levels, none of which are mutually exclusive:
- Serving as a general resource — or mentor — for community based organization staff whose expertise in certain areas may be limited but who witness daily the impact that lack of access to resources has on low-income people;
- Speaking at meetings that bring together nonprofit service providers and financial educators;
- Teaching workshops and seminars on specific topics for our clientele on subjects such as immigration law, bankruptcy, retirement planning, and more;
- Participating in online forums or writing blogs/articles; and/or
- Providing confidential one-on-one advising and/or representation to clients.
Our efforts will be assisted by the Financial Educators Peer Group (FEPG) — a group of service providers representing nonprofits in the Portland-metro area who offer financial education to low-income clients. FEPG convenes bi-monthly to share resources, advise each other on anonymous client scenarios, and engage with external experts who address issues relevant to our work with clients. This cross-organizational learning and sharing model has proven to be beneficial to participants and has improved our community’s ability to meet the needs of people facing significant barriers to household stability. Inspired by its effectiveness, we hope to expand our combined knowledge and resource base by further connecting with professionals such as lawyers, bankers, accountants and financial planners with specialized expertise in finance-related topics through the establishment of the PBCC.
Participants can be as involved or hands-on as they choose; we merely aim to create a space in which meaningful pro bono work is readily available to nonprofit service providers and our clients. This will not only be an opportunity for professionals to effectively assist populations in need of their expertise, but will serve as a venue for networking in and across fields/industries.
Interested in participating? Click here to take a short survey and to provide us with your contact information. You could win a Starbucks gift card for completing the survey!