Fostering the sustainable growth of a national network of immigration legal clinics
National Justice for Our Neighbors (NJFON) supports a hospitality ministry that welcomes immigrants by providing affordable, high-quality immigration legal services to low-income immigrants, engaging in advocacy for immigrant rights, and offering education to communities of faith and the public. NJFON oversees the Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) network, which is a national alliance of 19 independently operated organizations that collectively serve over 4,000 low-income immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers each year.
NJFON serves as the backbone for this network of United Methodist immigration sites by providing strategic support to JFON staff, boards of directors, and volunteers so that they can offer more effective immigration legal services to low-income immigrants. NJFON also oversees the expansion of the network to welcome new JFONs in areas of high need.
Since 2014 Kimberley Jutze, Shifting Patterns’ Founder, has worked closely with NJFON staff and JFON staff and board members to support the sustainable growth of the JFON network and increase the capacity of JFON sites to address a growing demand in immigrant communities for expert, affordable immigration legal services. A particular focus of these efforts has been organization and leadership development.
Over the past four years Kimberley responded to requests from seven members of the JFON network for assistance with strategic planning and board development. For each of these local organizations she worked alongside their leadership to design and facilitate specialized retreats to clarify board member roles and responsibilities, set strategic goals, develop actionable strategic plans, establish board committees, and enhance accountability. In 2018 Kimberley worked with NJFON staff to set up and administer an organization development program in which funding has been provided to nine JFON sites to hire a local consultant to help them develop practices of excellence in governance and operations.
In 2018 Kimberley also worked with NJFON staff to develop and administer a leadership development program in which funding has been provided to seven JFON sites to hire an executive director for the first time or transition a part-time executive director to a full-time role. This program also includes organizing nonprofit management training for executive directors as well as providing opportunities for immigration site leaders to learn from each other through monthly conference calls and in person gatherings.
As a result of participating in organization and leadership development initiatives JFON sites are making positive strides in their growth and sustainability. They are building more diverse boards skilled in nonprofit governance, developing strategic and funding plans to guide their work, promoting retention of staff fundamental to quality legal service delivery, and measuring their performance according to nonprofit management best practices.
To learn more about NJFON and find out how you can support its work, visit www.njfon.org.