Great News! I’ll be joining Legal Services Corporation as their Chief Information Officer in January. Those of you who read my Looking For A New Job post in August know that I had some pretty strict requirements for the next gig, and this one meets and/or exceeds them.
LSC is the nonprofit that allocates federal funding to legal aid programs across the country. From their web site:
LSC is the single largest funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans in the nation. Established in 1974, LSC operates as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that promotes equal access to justice and provides grants for high-quality civil legal assistance to low-income Americans. LSC distributes more than 90 percent of its total funding to 134 independent nonprofit legal aid programs with more than 900 offices.
Great Mission: Long time friends know how motivated I was by Goodwill’s mission of helping people out of poverty, and as important as the environmental work that I’ve been supporting for five years is, there was a part of me that missed the component of direct assistance to people in need. Don’t get me wrong — I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to support Earthjustice’s work. I am an environmentalist, and I will continue to put money and resources toward supporting that cause. But causes are both emotional and intellectual things, and social justice/helping people in need strikes a more resonant chord in me than the environmental work did. I think it ties to the type of ethic that brought my mother to her work running a clinic for pregnant teenagers in downtown Boston.
Great Challenges: Three things thrilled me as I interviewed for LSC. First, data management is a critical work process. Not only are grants based on data that communicates about the performance of the grantees’, but the organization is, in turn, measured by the effectiveness of the grantees. There are compliance and communication challenges that will require some creativity to address. Data strategy is what I do best, and I can’t wait to get started on the work at LSC.
Second, the first thing we discussed in the first interview was the priority to move to the cloud. As with any large org, that’s not a slam dunk, but as I believe that the cloud is where we’re all headed, eventually, it’s great to be working for and with people who get that as well. It was a hard sell at my last job.
Finally, LSC does more than just grant funds to legal aid NPOs, they also support the strategic use of technology at those organizations. When I left a job in the early 90’s as a Mailroom Manager/Network Administrator, I did so because technology was my hobby, so I wanted to do it full time. For the last six or seven years, my “hobby” has been supporting small and mid-sized NPO’s in their use of technology, through this blog, Idealware, NTEN, Techsoup and a number of other orgs that have provided me with the opportunities. Once again, I can fold my hobby into my day job, which has to be as close to the American dream as it gets, right?
Great Additional Challenge: Getting there. As my new job is 3000 miles form my current home address, I’m going to be relocating, in stages. I start in January; my family will follow me out when the school year is up this coming summer. If any of my DC friends know of a good six or seven month sublet or roommate opportunity within commuting distance of Georgetown, I’d love to hear about it.
Longer term, we’ll be looking to find a place in northern Virginia that, like our lovely home here in CA, has ample space for an active family of three and enough trees and nature surrounding it to qualify as a Natural Wildlife Federation backyard wildlife habitat. Oh, and isn’t too grievous a commute to DC…
This isn’t a small step for me and my family, but it’s absolutely in the right direction.