CLASP

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Clasp
Headquarters Location: Washington, D.C.
Founded: 1969


Mission: CLASP seeks to improve the lives of low-income people.


Tags: national, workforce development, advocacy, policy, research, employment training, childcare, child welfare, higher education, civil legal assistance, youth support, temporary assistance, job quality, 2010


Clasp
Story: In August 1969, CLASP began as four lawyers energized by the Civil Rights Movement’s successes and deeply concerned that decision making in government and traditional legal practice failed to consider important issues and constituencies. At the time, public interest law… Read the full story.

Expert Reviews: Evidence of Impact
The Center for Law and Social Policy is credited for their range of research and analysis highlighting trends and issues relating to workforce development. Their research has fueled the decisions and advocacy of practitioners in this space.
See the complete expert review.

Leadership
Clasp Alan Houseman. Mr. Houseman is CLASP's Executive Director, a position he has held since joining the organization in 1982. His expertise is innovative anti-poverty strategies and civil legal assistance. He has written numerous articles, manuals, papers and books on legal services, poverty law advocacy, and welfare policies, including Securing Equal Justice for All: A Brief History of Civil Legal Assistance in the… See full bio.


Transparency Information
Silver-big
This organization has earned the GuideStar Participation Level Silver, demonstrating its commitment to transparency (learn more)


Financial Data
Charity Navigator Rating: 4stars (profile)
Total Revenue:
$5,447,656


From the Nonprofit
The nonprofit has not added any comments yet. If you are a representative of this nonprofit and would like to leave a comment, please email us at feedback@myphilanthropedia.org with your request.


Contact Info
E-Mail:
Phone:
202-906-8000
Address:
1200 18TH St Nw Ste 200
 
Washington, D.C. 20036, USA
Twitter:
Follow_twitter


Clasp Story: In August 1969, CLASP began as four lawyers energized by the Civil Rights Movement’s successes and deeply concerned that decision making in government and traditional legal practice failed to consider important issues and constituencies. At the time, public interest law was a concept but no legal organization entirely dedicated to the public interest existed. CLASP filled this void and quickly attracted legal professionals who strongly believed in serving the public and being effective advocates for underrepresented people. Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg chaired the new organization’s board of directors. CLASP ’s early years were, as founder Charles Halpern described, during a period of momentous change. The country was ending a decade defined by the Vietnam War, the oldest Baby Boomers’ coming of age, the deaths of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society programs, including health care for poor and elderly people. But the spirit of the country determined that there was still room for and great need of more social change. And there was recognition that the courts and government had a role to play in making society better for all citizens. CLASP stepped in to be a vehicle for change through legal, and soon after, legislative and regulatory channels. The small organization wielded significant impact with a staff of talented attorneys and students who participated in the organization’s public interest legal clinic—the first of its kind in the nation—which eventually grew from 12 students a year to 55. During the 1980s, the landscape for public interest advocacy changed dramatically. Funding for public interest law became scarce and the federal government turned many programs over to the states. In 1982, under leadership of a new executive director, Alan W. Houseman, CLASP changed its focus from general public interest law to extensive anti-poverty policy, with particular emphasis on child and family poverty and civil legal assistance. This shift reflected a deliberate effort to target resources where they would have the greatest impact. (Source: http://www.clasp.org/admin/site/publications/files/2009.pdf)

Expert Reviews of CLASP

Evidence of Impact Summary:

The Center for Law and Social Policy is credited for their range of research and analysis highlighting trends and issues relating to workforce development. Their research has fueled the decisions and advocacy of practitioners in this space.
See expert comments.

Organization Strengths Summary:

Experts praise CLASP for their bright and qualified staff and the positive work environment this organization has been able to create for their employees. This speaks to the great leadership and management of the organization, as well. Additionally, experts agree CLASP produces high quality research.
See expert comments.

Areas for Improvement Summary:

Areas for improvement mentioned were mixed but included program expansion, neutrality, diversity , and marketing enhancements.
See expert comments.

Expert Comments: Evidence of Impact

Select the boxes to display the results according to expert type.

Show:
X
Foundation Professionals (F)
X
Researchers and Faculty (R)
X
Nonprofit Senior Staff (N)
X
Other (consultants, journalists, policy makers) (O)

Impact

F
While their involvement isn't direct service - their recommendations on best practices, policy, funding, etc. have truly shaped systems change in a number of communities. Their work shapes efforts to better connect Adult Basic Ed with Community Colleges and Workforce Development as delivered by nonprofits. They effectively push out resources used by folks like me who require research based information for decision making.
R
They have an impact on policy for low-income workers.
R
They have translated policy and research for practitioners in the field.
R
They provide a wide variety of highly respected reports and analysis over a long period of time, which have become highly influential with staffs of member of Congress, state planners, and other researchers.
R
Their reports, analyses, and calls to action are credible and timely. They also have a very stable organization with talented and dedicated staff.
R
They provide excellent research and policy development.
R
They are advocates for postsecondary and workforce skills alignment. They work with other organizations to bring meaningful change and offer good research.
N
They have significantly influenced federal policy on serving low-income individuals and families. There is a greater sensitivity to the issues confronted by low-income population at the national, state and local levels, influenced by their work.
N
They do great policy, legislative, and advocacy work and understand the areas they are working with including postsecondary, adult basic education ,etc.
N
Their research and policy work is well known and respected; they have an influence on federal workforce policy as it affects low-skilled and low-income adults.
N
They have offered great publications on relevant topics.
N
They are a force in the legislative arena on ensuring the issues of disadvantaged populations are heard. They are frequent publishers of well researched issue papers on such topics as adult learning, welfare reform, and child safety.
N
This is an organization that conducts first class research on workforce issues. Their impact resides in the influence they have on focusing workforce development stakeholders on key issues based on the facts.
O
They are the leading source of ideas and policy development. They provide well-respected analysis of workforce activities and legislative proposals.


Expert Comments: Organization Strengths

Select the boxes to display the results according to expert type.

Show:
X
Foundation Professionals (F)
X
Researchers and Faculty (R)
X
Nonprofit Senior Staff (N)
X
Other (consultants, journalists, policy makers) (O)

Staff

F
Their staff is incredibly knowledgeable and accessible/more than willing to share their work. They market and share information in a way that is effective and efficient/user friendly.
R
They have a strong staff and are very good at documenting best practices/practices of interest.
R
To be as effective and respected as it is, it is a given that it has strong leadership and that its research/analytical staff is outstanding. It publicizes its materials well and advances its work through presentations in all sorts of important state and national venues. The collegiality the key staff show to other colleagues in the field. The professional behavior of individual staff as they interact with other national leadership groups is an asset as well.
R
They have a good staff: Julie Strawn is excellent.
N
Their greatest strength is a well-qualified staff with expertise and sensitivity to the issues affecting low-income populations-they are strong analysts, writers, and providers of technical assistance.
N
Their staff is bright and competent.
N
It is clear on its mission; it has a highly professional staff who dig deep into issues. It has emerged as a key leader in adult learning which was a non-issue a few years ago and is now a top national priority.

Leadership

R
Their leadership is a strength.
R
They have a flexible, effective management structure and culture that enables staff to thrive amid everyday personal issues.

Network

R
They have a very good network.

Staff & Leadership

N
Research staff is excellent; their leadership is strong and they do good publishing and dissemination.

Research

N
They provide good research data.
N
It is a great resource for validation and research on policy and effectiveness of programs. It is a respected and credible organization.
O
They generate ideas about strengthening system. They translate workforce issues into language policymakers understand.

Staff & Research

N
They have tremendous staff and research capabilities.

Advocacy

N
They are terrific advocates for fairness and equity. Recommend more social media dissemination of their work.


Expert Comments: Areas for Improvement

Select the boxes to display the results according to expert type.

Show:
X
Foundation Professionals (F)
X
Researchers and Faculty (R)
X
Nonprofit Senior Staff (N)
X
Other (consultants, journalists, policy makers) (O)

Marketing

R
They need better dissemination of their work.
N
I recommend they use more social media to disseminate their work.

Expand Programming

R
They are now reaching into the postsecondary space; it will be challenging to see how that goes.

Partnerships

R
They could form more partnerships with appropriate workforce organizations.

Neutrality

N
The perception that they too "liberal" leaning sometimes lessons their impact. They need to see the issues through more of a demand-side, business lens.

Knowledge Sharing

N
They should be willing to share more with institutions outside the Beltway.

Diversity

N
Being an advocacy organization for the disadvantaged boxes them in, at time, from taking broader views.


Leadership

Clasp
Alan Houseman
Executive Director
Mr. Houseman is CLASP's Executive Director, a position he has held since joining the organization in 1982. His expertise is innovative anti-poverty strategies and civil legal assistance. He has written numerous articles, manuals, papers and books on legal services, poverty law advocacy, and welfare policies, including Securing Equal Justice for All: A Brief History of Civil Legal Assistance in the United States (with Linda Perle). In addition to directing CLASP, Mr. Houseman is currently counsel to the National Legal Aid and Defender association (NLADA) and is a leader of national efforts to preserve and strengthen the federal legal services program. Mr. Houseman has a long history of involvement in poverty law advocacy and legal services for the poor. He is a past member of the NLADA board and executive committee and past chair of the organization's Civil Committee. He also is a past chair of the Organization of Legal Services Backup Centers (representing all state and national centers), past Vice-Chair of the Project Advisory Group and past General Counsel to the Coalition on Legal Services. He also has been involved in a variety of capacities with the American Bar Association (ABA).  In 2005-2006, he was staff to the ABA Presidential Task Force on Access to Justice and a member of the ABA Task Force to Revise the Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid. He also is a past member of the ABA Comprehensive Legal Needs Study Advisory Group, the ABA Policy Development Committee of the Comprehensive Legal Needs Study and the ABA Special Committee on Access to Justice.  He has served as an advisor to the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants and other ABA initiatives.  Mr. Houseman has been an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center and the University of Michigan Law School, and he previously taught at Wayne State University Law School. During law school, Mr. Houseman served as the national Assistant Director of the Law Students Civil Rights Research Council.  In 1968, he was a Reginald Heber Smith Fellow with Wayne County Neighborhood Legal Services.  In 1969, he founded Michigan Legal Services, a statewide legal services program that represented organizations working on welfare, health, housing, consumer, prison, mental health, education and family policy issues. Between 1968 and 1976, he was General Counsel for the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and co-chair of the legal committee of the National Welfare Rights Organization.  From 1976 to 1981, he was a senior staff member at the Legal Services Corporation and director of the Research Institute, which he founded and developed.  The Research Institute developed new directions in poverty law and researched delivery of civil legal aid services. At the Legal Services Corporation, he also oversaw and was responsible for funding its national and state support centers and the National Clearinghouse (now Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law).  Mr. Houseman is a graduate of Oberlin College and New York University School of Law, where he was a Field Fellow in Social Welfare Law (as part of the Hays Civil Liberties Fellowship Program).  His numerous awards and honors include the National Equal Justice Award and, most recently, the Oberlin College Distinguish Achievement Award.

From the Nonprofit

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