GJP is a Force for Good!

Given the fact that nonprofit organizations often get public attention only when they get into trouble or do something wrong, it’s refreshing to have an upbeat book like the new edition of Forces for Good by Leslie Crutchfield and Heather Grant.  These authors have put enormous effort into finding and analyzing exemplar nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and discerning the reasons for their success.  And I am absolutely thrilled that this book cites the Georgia Justice Project as one of those exemplars.  As the book documents, GJP is remarkable not only for its stunning record of achievement in helping its clients overcome the challenges of reclaiming their lives after involvement in the criminal justice system; it is also to be recognized  for its embrace of public policy advocacy in order to achieve systemic changes that can impact a far greater  number of lives and achieve GJP’s mission on a larger scale over the long run.  Balancing service and advocacy is a challenge for any nonprofit and GJP is showing why it is important and how it can be done effectively. Congratulations to Doug Ammar and his associates at GJP for the work they do and the recognition they have received in this important book.  –  Dennis R. Young, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies – Georgia State University

The Georgia Justice Project is featured in the newest edition of Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits.  First published in 2007, Forces for Good describes six unique, counterintuitive practices of nonprofit organizations that have achieved extraordinary results for the causes they champion.  Authors Leslie Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant employed a rigorous research methodology to determine “what makes great nonprofits great?”  From Habitat for Humanity to Environmental Defense Fund to Feeding America–and now the Georgia Justice Project–these high-impact nonprofits affirm the viability of six basic practices for scaling social impact.

The authors conducted entirely new research on the Georgia Justice Project (GJP), and 12 local and smaller nonprofits, to understand how smaller organizations operating on budgets ranging from $800,000 to just under $5 million creatively employ the “six practices” to deepen their impact within local communities on more limited budgets.  GJP’s new work in the area of public policy advocacy is emphasized, reflecting the organization’s shift from exclusively local to statewide outreach and effectiveness.  Joe Iarocci, President of Mission-Driven Partners, proposed GJP be included in the upcoming edition of the book.  “The Georgia Justice Project is indeed a powerful ‘force for good’ and its story significantly enriches Crutchfield and McLeod Grant’s message,” says Iarocci.  “In good company with these leading national nonprofit organizations, GJP reminds us that lasting change is possible regardless of size or budget.”

Notably, the updated Forces for Good is being published just as GJP celebrates its first legislative victory; the passage of criminal record reforms that will help thousands of Georgians gain employment and housing by keeping certain non-conviction information private during background checks.  “We realized that our 25 years of experience could inform the shape of legislation that would benefit far more people than we could ever represent on an individual basis,” said GJP Executive Director Doug Ammar.  “We hope that by sharing our story through Forces for Good we can help other organizations consider how to leverage their resources in equally meaningful ways.”

The updated and revised edition of Forces for Good was published May 7, 2012, and is available at major booksellers such as Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.