National Replication of a Successful Model
A locally based nonprofit sought our assistance after having greatly improved the outcomes for their hardest to serve participants by radically changing the way in which these participants were provided services. We brought this success to the attention of the nonprofit’s local Congressional delegation. This helped secure Congressional champions in both chambers of Congress, but more importantly brought the nonprofit to the attention of the Chair and Ranking Members of the committees with jurisdiction for overseeing the programs important to the organization’s work. While these Members came from very different points on the political spectrum, we explained the benefits our client’s approach from each of their political perspectives, and they agreed to include language to expand and replicate our client’s best practices in the underlying law.
In addition to working with Congress, we met with the relevant officials in the Administration to explain our client’s work and how it fit well within the President’s overall agenda. The Administration provided initial grant funding to expand our client’s model and has utilized the lessons learned from this work to help craft a federal funding proposal that will provide tens of millions of dollars in new funding. This will allow other areas around the nation to adopt the best practices first presented by our client – even as it brings additional funding to our client.
We secured a historic legislative settlement for four Indian tribes whose valuable and productive river bottom lands and villages had been taken by the federal government without just compensation before World War II to make way for main stem dams designed to protect manufacturers of aircraft and other essential wartime materials from spring flooding. The tribes came to us after suffering the extreme consequences of this taking for more than 50 years and at a time when the federal government had run up huge deficits and had no available funds for a legislative settlement. We overcame the opposition of the White House and the Interior Department to facilitate enactment of groundbreaking legislation that was timed under the Budget Act to avoid contributing to additional federal deficit calculations. The legislation had a complex financing mechanism that used some of the dams’ power revenues to underwrite the corpus of two just compensation accounts, the interest from which provides annual compensation payments to the tribes in perpetuity. The story of the takings and of this groundbreaking legislative settlement is chronicled in the award winning book Coyote Warrior.
Typically, new federal program legislation requires arduous and lengthy efforts to secure authorizing legislation and then a subsequent lengthy battle against severe spending limits to fund the new program. In two recent examples we were able to secure – in less than 12 months – legislative authority for innovative new programs and the follow-on appropriations to launch each program. One example involved a new outreach effort to qualify older Americans (who typically under-enroll in programs for which they are eligible) for public and private programs that can improve their health and welfare and, thereby, avoid large future public costs resulting from chronic or severe medical conditions. The second program involved new authority and funding for low income students to fulfill college work-study requirements through community service engagements.
Leadership for Positive Change
A longtime client’s groundbreaking antipoverty work in one of America’s largest metro areas had been stymied by the lack of credit available from banks to help small businesses create jobs in low income neighborhoods. While non-financial companies such as our nonprofit client are generally not permitted by bank regulators to own or control banks, we were able to identify and help our client secure a unique bank charter enabling them to launch a new financial institution in their community. Later, we were successful in securing legislation to protect their continuing authority as a non-financial company to operate the bank under the federal Bank Holding Company Act. Today, their bank is the most important financial institution in the community, having lent billions of dollars to job-creating businesses which have helped change the economic development trajectory of their community.
Strong Support through Difficult Times
A nationally recognized nonprofit that became politically targeted for elimination by a prior Administration approached us for assistance. Our client had been targeted not for any wrongdoing, but for the fact that they had a wealth of policy expertise that if utilized effectively could have impinged on the Administration’s ability to advance its own agenda. We worked with Members from both parties on the relevant authorizing and appropriations committees to protect the organization’s core funding from the Administration’s efforts to eliminate current funding and to ensure that these activities would continue to be funded through the remaining years of the Administration.