Introducing an upcoming leader in the pro bono movement: Universities. There are many pro bono programs at Professional Schools across the country, and they are paving the way to creating the next generation of socially responsible citizens while strengthening nonprofits.
To start the conversation on this emerging field, this week, Taproot Foundation, the Net Impact Chicago Booth chapter, and American Bar Association Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service and the Center for pro bono gathered twenty-five leaders from Chicago business, law, design, and architecture schools at the first-ever Chicago Summit on Pro Bono Service in Professional Schools.
With deans, professors, program directors, and students, we had a unique cross-university discussion focusing on the current State of the Pro Bono Union, how professional schools can collaborate to make an even bigger impact on the challenges facing Chicago today, and building a framework to ensure success and continuity of pro bono programs from year to year.
Some key points and outcomes from the Summit’s conversation include:
- Pro bono programs are currently student driven and primarily student run
- There is great value in collaboration across schools to take on multi-disciplinary projects
- There is great potential for university pro bono to have a positive impact in the city of Chicago
- In order to change the culture of the institution, infrastructure is needed – as one participant commented; “We have people ready, give me the resources!”
- The group envisioned experiential learning as a part of every professional school’s education by 2013
- A representative from the Civic Consulting Alliance committed to creating a list of 100 key issues for students to solve through pro bono
With great enthusiasm on campuses, we need to bring training, infrastructure, and resources to schools to move the needle on the pro bono movement. It’s clear the time is now!