Clinic Team Meets with Board of SF-Based Arts Organization

Organizations and Transactions Clinic students Jocelyn Dicker (JD ’17) and Sara Gates (JD ’17) recently completed review of a local nonprofit’s governance materials. Below they reflect on this experience.

Organizations and Transactions Clinic students complete corporate governance review
Jocelyn Dicker (JD ’17) and Sara Gates (JD ’17) presented to the Board of Directors of Creativity Explored.

This fall we had the opportunity to work with Creativity Explored, a San Francisco nonprofit that provides artists with developmental disabilities the means to create, exhibit, and sell their art in studios and galleries around the world. To begin this project, we first reviewed over fifty documents sent to us by the client. We then prepared a set of questions and discussion topics to present at our project kick-off meeting. The talking points ranged from narrow questions about specific provisions in their current documents to open questions about their general expectations.

Our kick-off meeting took place in early October at Creativity Explored’s headquarters in the Mission District in San Francisco. We toured the studio and then met with the Executive Director and two Board members in a small office tucked away in the back of the studio. Our conversation lasted just over an hour and was full of energy. After the meeting, we worked diligently to develop our advice and prepare revised documents, using O&T’s simple and consistent models, that reflected current law and the client’s instructions, goals, and practices. Four weeks and six rounds of edits later, we sent our report and a 19-document set of proposed bylaws, board committee charters, policies, and practical tools to the client.

Then, on November 30, we presented our recommendation to Creativity Explored’s Board (fifteen people!). The meeting took place in the main studio, around a long table where artists typically sit and work on their pieces. Our part of the meeting lasted roughly 45 minutes; we walked through our advice and documents, Board members and the Executive Director asked us a number of questions, and the session ended with the Board expressing their enthusiasm and appreciation for our work.

While we each broadened our understanding of an organization’s governance structure, a major highlight of the project was getting to work with such an innovative and engaging client. We witnessed first hand how Creativity Explored’s artists expressed themselves through art. We saw artists addressing matters of fitting in, family, health, and sexuality concerns, to name a few. The supportive environment of the studio was palpable, and it really made an impact on us both. We are grateful that O&T gave us the opportunity to work with such an impressive client this fall.