LIFT Dane News - March 2020

March 30, 2020

Although many of you may be reading this post from the comfort and safety of your home, LIFT Dane continues its work developing technology and providing services in our community. Our Marketing Director, Fred Lauing, from Employment and Training, Inc. (EATA),  has attended workshops and made presentations to groups ranging from local social service providers, to staffing a table at job fairs, and presenting to Madison South Rotary.  Our Legal Outreach Coordinator, Evan Nordgren, is working hard to recruit pro bono attorneys and revise training materials for our training sessions.  

Our first module that we are developing for our LIFT Dane phone and web app will help people with driver’s license problems. While the app is in the early development stage, LIFT held our first onsite Pop-Up Driver’s License Recovery Clinic at the Dane County Job Center in late January, where clients met one-on-one with attorneys. We were also able to use the event as a learning opportunity because three tech developers from Theory & Principle (T & P), travelled to Madison and observed the clinic’s operation. Following the clinic, the LIFT team attended a workshop with the T & P developers where we discussed our observations from the clinic that will further the app’s development. T & P has designed mock-ups of how the app might actually look and function, which we plan to beta test at our next Pop-Up Clinic (date TBD) with actual clients. Subsequently T & P will design the app with this real-time feedback in mind.  

As LIFT works with T & P to develop the technology, we also are working with the DOT to help them better understand how we are planning to interface with their data. DOT representatives have been very cooperative, and we have met regularly (with T & P’s participation) to address their concerns as well as our needs. Since we have to fit within the DOT’s technology development schedule, we may be waiting a bit before the interface can be completely developed. However, we are on track to make DOT records available for use in our driver’s license module.  

Sarah Davis and Marsha Mansfield recently attended the SRLN Conference (Self-Represented Litigants Network) where they made a presentation with Nicole Braddick (CEO of Theory and Principle), attended sessions pertinent to our work, and made the most of networking opportunities. We also are working closely with the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) at the University of Wisconsin to develop and implement both outcome and process evaluations of our initiative. It is exciting for us to be working with graduate students who are designing the process evaluation aspect of the evaluation.  

Additionally, we have been working hard to solicit continued financial support. We submitted an application to the Gates Voices for Economic Opportunity Challenge. The goal of this challenge is to elevate diverse voices that can help broaden the conversation about the issues impeding economic mobility and generate deeper awareness and actionable understanding. $100,000 is awarded to groups that set forth an innovative approach to meeting the challenge.

We also were just invited to send in a full proposal for a Wisconsin Partnership Program’s (WPP) Community Impact Grant. The title of our proposal is Advancing Health Equity Through Legal Interventions for Economically Fragile Wisconsinites and it underscores the close relationship between legal health and other determinants of health in a community. Finally, we have submitted grant proposals to the American Family Dreams Foundation and the Gordon Flesch Charitable Foundation for $15,000 each to fund our drivers’ license recovery program, specifically for paying the reinstatement fee for clients we will serve.  We are always happy to receive donations of any amount. Just go here to donate.

On a policy advocacy level, we have interacted with many potential and current stakeholders as we share our initiative’s plan. The Dane County Clerk of Courts recently stopped suspending drivers’ licenses, and our initiative helped ensure that his voluntary commitment was documented in a resolution. The Dane County Board also is poised to approve the creation of a subcommittee on Fines and Fees Justice, and we believe that a representative of LIFT Dane will be appointed to the subcommittee. We also will continue to work with lawmakers on a local and state level to prevent these types of legal problems in the first place.

Marsha Mansfield, JD

Director

If you have any questions, suggestions, or thoughts, please feel free to contact me at mmansfield@liftdane.org or (608) 698-3733. Thank you for your interest and your support.