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Discovering Justice (The James D. St.Clair Court Public Education Project)

 1 Courthouse Way, Suite 3120
 Boston, MA 02210
[P] (617) 748-4185
[F] (617) 748-4199
Jon Spack
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-3580231

LAST UPDATED: 01/07/2019
Organization DBA Discovering Justice
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years Yes


Mission StatementMORE »

Discovering Justice is a nonprofit leader in civic education whose mission is to prepare young people to value the justice system, realize the power of their own voices, and embrace civic responsibility by connecting classrooms and courtrooms.

Mission Statement

Discovering Justice is a nonprofit leader in civic education whose mission is to prepare young people to value the justice system, realize the power of their own voices, and embrace civic responsibility by connecting classrooms and courtrooms.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2017 to June 30, 2018
Projected Income $1,923,022.00
Projected Expense $1,856,998.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Children Discovering Justice
  • Courthouse Tours
  • Discovering the Bill of Rights
  • Stand Up for Your Rights
  • The Mock Trial Program

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

Discovering Justice is a nonprofit leader in civic education whose mission is to prepare young people to value the justice system, realize the power of their own voices, and embrace civic responsibility by connecting classrooms and courtrooms.

Background Statement

From our home in Boston’s Moakley U.S. Courthouse, the James D. St.Clair Court Public Education Project, d/b/a Discovering Justice, prepares young people to value the justice system, realize the power of their own voices, and embrace civic responsibility by connecting classrooms and courtrooms. Driven by a vision of the Courthouse as a vibrant center of civic education and activity, Discovering Justice was founded in 1998 and became an independent nonprofit in 2001. Today we offer innovative, newly revised in-school social studies curriculum, afterschool mock trial and mock appellate programs, and courthouse field trips that teach elementary and middle school students about the justice system, the role of law in a democratic society, and the fundamental importance of good citizenship. In FY15 (July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015), we served a total of 24,073 people with our special brand of justice-oriented civic education. Of that number, more than 20,000 were elementary and middle school students from primarily underserved communities across Massachusetts. We concentrate our efforts where the need and opportunity for impact are greatest: in Boston and in Gateway Cities.

Impact Statement

This year, Discovering Justice:

  • Welcomed a new Executive Director, Jon Spack, who has taken the helm of an organization well-poised for continued growth and success;
  • Piloted a brand-new kindergarten Children Discovering Justice curriculum in Lowell, Cambridge, and Watertown; teacher feedback from this pilot includes “The program is wonderful. It has everything we need to be successful – thank you” and “Loved, loved, loved this workshop!” At the end of the introductory workshop in Lowell, teachers gave our Education Director a standing ovation;
  • Introduced to Lawrence and Salem our two 11-week afterschool legal programs that pair middle school students with volunteer attorneys, The Mock Trial Program and Stand Up for Your Rights, and expanded partnerships in Boston, Chelsea, and Lowell. 165 students participated in fall 2015, and ~250 students participated in spring 2016;
  • Brought over 4,000 elementary and middle school students to the Moakley U.S. Courthouse for mock trials; and
  • Raised over $434,000, including $94,000 in the room, at our 2016 Annual Benefit honoring Mary Bonauto of GLAD and Douglas Hallward-Driemeier of Ropes & Gray, who played key roles in the landmark marriage equality case Obergefell v. Hodges.
In the coming year, our goals are to:
  • Introduce Children Discovering Justice to approximately 25% of Lawrence Public Schools, reaching approximately 3,800 students by providing classroom books, curriculum guides, professional development for 100 teachers, and mock trials at the Moakley U.S. Courthouse;
  • Bring the revised and expanded Children Discovering Justice curriculum to Boston Public Schools in kindergarten, first, and second grades;
  • Pilot newly developed seventh and eighth grade Children Discovering Justice curriculum in Lawrence and Lowell;
  • Offer a three-day Culturally Responsive Teacher Institute, allowing teachers to earn course credit from Framingham State; and
  • Develop a comprehensive strategic plan to guide our organization into the future.

Needs Statement


  • A new strategic plan to guide Discovering Justice into the future, deepening our impact and broadening our reach;
  • A sustainable delivery model to meet rapidly increasing demand from cities across Massachusetts and across the country;
  • A more effective approach to evaluation to better demonstrate the impact of Discovering Justice on students from kindergarten through eighth grade;
  • A comprehensive communications strategy to increase our visibility, promote smart growth, and foster new partnerships; and
  • An increased and diversified pool of funders, and in particular individual donors, to support future growth.


CEO Statement

Discovering Justice played a foundational role in fostering my passion for civic education. In 1999-2000, I was a Citizen Schools Teaching Fellow placed at Discovering Justice to support the first Mock Trial Program at the Moakley U.S. Courthouse. One of my greatest joys was recruiting civic leaders and other volunteers to serve as jurors for the students’ arguments. One courtroom had two rabbis, a priest, a Fidelity executive, a teacher, a Boston City Councilor, a Supreme Court Justice, and my grandmother together in a jury box!

I am deeply passionate about how Discovering Justice increases educational and civic access for under-resourced schools and communities to directly alter the current opportunity gap in our country. When young people feel connected to our justice system in a positive manner and when they have access to adult volunteer mentors, it has a profound impact on their participation in positive activities. What drives me most about Discovering Justice is our ability to impact young students both at the Courthouse and in the classroom. It is a critical time in our country to prepare young people to value the justice system, realize the power of their own voices, and embrace civic responsibility.

I want Discovering Justice to be recognized and positioned as a leader not just in legal or civic education, but in education in general. I also plan to determine our readiness to scale to serve more students and communities across Massachusetts and perhaps elsewhere. Already we have received inquiries from different communities here in Massachusetts as well as in states such as Connecticut, Virginia, and Louisiana. Discovering Justice has an exceptional Staff and Board; enthusiastic teacher, school, and district partners; and dedicated supporters, including the judges, lawyers, and docents who talk with such joy and enthusiasm about our programs. In particular, the Judges of the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, who in partnership with the Boston Bar Association created Discovering Justice 17 years ago, are champions of our work. I see Discovering Justice as being at a point of deep inflection. There are so many great opportunities to expand our reach given that the curriculum is newly revised and expanding to K-8 to be stronger than ever. Both the Staff and the Board are fully committed to helping strategically shape the next few years of Discovering Justice. It is refreshing to be a part of an organization so eager to talk about what can be ahead.

Board Chair Statement

Discovering Justice is transformative civic education, and with your support, we will help our next generation’s leaders develop the courage to lead.

Why do we focus on kindergarten to grade eight? Because courage is abundant in those students, and we need to start civic education young. As the daughter of an educator, I often cite my mother as my inspiration to work with Discovering Justice, targeting young students, grades K-8. A strong student who finished college by age 19, my mother obtained her master’s degree in education soon thereafter. What did she choose to do with her education? To teach second grade in the New York City public schools. She believed that second grade was the perfect age for students. The wonder of learning was beginning to blossom. The courage to speak up was a large part of the curriculum in my mother’s class. And in my home, my mother encouraged me to speak up.
Discovering Justice’s mock trial and appellate experiential learning programs and our school curriculum give our educators and our young students in kindergarten through eighth grade the knowledge and the tools to give their ideas a voice. And to give a voice to those who don’t have one, a voice to those who need our students’ advocacy. That’s what I love about Discovering Justice. Transformative civic education and the courage to speak up.
Our challenges are related to expansion and the realities of a decentralized educational landscape. We need to be strategic about our growth so that we can make our incredible curriculum and programs available to as wide an audience as possible.

Geographic Area Served

Central Massachusetts Region
Greater Boston Region-All Neighborhoods
Metrowest Region
Northeast Massachusetts Region
Southeast Massachusetts Region
Discovering Justice’s small staff works with more than 900 teachers and more than 350 volunteers—judges, attorneys, and other community members—to teach students that their voices matter. At a time when social studies is disappearing from the classroom, our programs last year reached more than 23,000 elementary and middle school students from Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, Lawrence, Lowell, Malden, Milton, New Bedford, Quincy, Revere, Somerville, Springfield, Watertown, and Worcester.

Organization Categories

  1. Education - Educational Services
  2. Youth Development - Youth Development-Citizenship
  3. Public & Societal Benefit - Citizen Participation

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)



Children Discovering Justice

Children Discovering Justice (CDJ) is a literacy-based social studies curriculum for kindergarten through eighth grade that provides students with the tools to understand sophisticated ideas such as democracy, tolerance, rights, responsibilities, and the connection between rules and law. CDJ includes interactive mock trials that further empower children to stand up for their beliefs, engage in respectful discourse, and resolve differences in constructive ways. To create vibrant learning environments where civic skills, values, and content knowledge can flourish, we provide teachers curricula, training, and support, and their students receive high-quality, justice-themed literature and courthouse field trips. In FY15, CDJ reached 20,835 students (~70% from low-income households) in classrooms in Boston, Cambridge, Lawrence, Lowell, New Bedford, Springfield, Watertown, and Worcester. Complementing the in-school curriculum, 1,374 of those students visited the Moakley U.S. Courthouse or another community courthouse to actively participate in democracy through age-appropriate mock trials of mock appeals. 104 teachers new to the curriculum also participated in our professional development workshops, with a grand total of 945 active teachers.

Budget  $286,097.00
Category  Education, General/Other
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Program Short-Term Success 

Students have greater content knowledge about government, history, and civil rights, and increased confidence to voice their opinions about what they believe is right.

Program Long-Term Success 

Civically educated students will understand that their voices matter in society, and they will feel empowered to vote, serve on juries, make informed political decisions, become involved in their communities, and pursue opportunities through education.

Program Success Monitored By 

Discovering Justice administers surveys of participating teachers, asking teachers to reflect on their students' growth.

Examples of Program Success 

According to one Children Discovering Justice teacher “Bullying issues have diminished a great deal. Students reflect on reading and examples from the lessons in order to work together in a calmer and more respectful way. My students take the time to listen to both sides of a situation when they are having an argument in the school yard.”

Courthouse Tours

 Courthouse Tours provide educational tours of the Moakley U.S. Courthouse in Boston. Volunteer docents teach visitors about the court system and the history, art, and architecture of this beautiful building. Courthouse Tours welcome students and adults into the Courthouse to demonstrate how the building is a center of education and civic life and that the Courthouse truly belongs to the public.  In FY15, Discovering Justice took 1,501 students and visitors on Courthouse Tours, the majority of whom were students in grades 5-12. Among others, tour groups included students from public, private and charter schools, colleges, universities, and law schools; elderly/assisted living centers; community groups; law firms; corporations; public agencies; and international educators and members of the judiciary. During the summer months, Discovering Justice also offers Courthouse Tours on a walk-in basis.

Budget  $32,718.00
Category  Education, General/Other
Population Served General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success 

Courthouse tours give the public increased access to, understanding of, and interest in Boston’s courthouses and the justice system as well as an appreciation of the art and architecture of these majestic buildings.

Program Long-Term Success  For many, Courthouse Tours offer positive introductions to courts and the legal system, and provide unique opportunities to experience, firsthand, Boston’s magnificent courthouses.
Program Success Monitored By  --
Examples of Program Success 

Betsy Gabrielson volunteers as a Docent for Discovering Justice Courthouse Tours. When asked why she volunteers her time, she answered: “I want students to appreciate that courtrooms affect their lives. . . . Giving tours has opened up a whole new world to me, and I’m giving something back to my adopted Commonwealth. They start out thinking there may be a stigma attached to the courthouse, and I tell them ‘No, the courthouse is for the public. It is yours. You belong here.’”

Discovering the Bill of Rights

Discovering the Bill of Rights draws middle school students into the midst of the judicial process. In real courtrooms, students learn about the Bill of Rights and the appellate process, then develop and present appellate arguments based on landmark Supreme Court cases before lawyers presiding as judges. This 90-minute field trip challenges students to think critically, advocate for their client, and consider opposing arguments. Discovering the Bill of Rights brought 1,640 students (more than 70% from low-income households) to the Moakley U.S. Courthouse this past academic year, welcoming students from Boston, as well as Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Quincy, Revere, Salem, and Somerville.

Budget  $39,207.00
Category  Education, General/Other Extracurricular Activities
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) Minorities Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short-Term Success 

Students practice public speaking skills, and gain increased knowledge of the Bill of Rights and our legal system.

Program Long-Term Success 

For many students, Discovering the Bill of Rights offers a positive introduction to courts and the legal system, and provides a unique opportunity to experience, firsthand, the magnificent Federal Courthouse in Boston.

Program Success Monitored By  --
Examples of Program Success 
Feedback from Somerville Neighborhood School students afterward:
  • "Everybody listened to what other people had to say, which made it feel safe, and made me want to participate.” –Lexi Sousa
  • “The most important freedom in the First Amendment is freedom of speech because people should be able to voice their opinions. It builds communities.” –Rocco Lima
  • “Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to see a life of a lawyer for a day. I especially liked the part where we got to debate against the judge. I felt like I was a real lawyer.” –David Badaro

Stand Up for Your Rights

Stand Up for Your Rights, offered in the spring, transforms middle school students into appellate lawyers. Working with a team of volunteer attorneys for 11 weeks, students delve into the Bill of Rights, explore how constitutional protections apply in public schools, and argue their cases in real courtrooms before Appellate Panels composed of actual judges and experienced attorneys. Approximately 250 students from Boston, Chelsea, Lawrence, Lowell, New Bedford, and Salem will participate in spring 2016.

Budget  $131,222.00
Category  Education, General/Other Afterschool Enrichment
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) Minorities Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short-Term Success 

Students develop self-confidence, public speaking skills, understanding of the justice system, and critical thinking skills that enable them to respond, on the spot, to questions posed by judges.

Program Long-Term Success 

Students who participate in Stand Up for Your Rights have the confidence to try new activities and take on challenges that would have previously been perceived as too difficult. Moreover, students will gain exposure to professionals in the legal and judicial fields, potentially expanding pipeline opportunities.

Program Success Monitored By 

Program success is monitored by pre- and post- surveys of participating students and year-end feedback from attorney volunteers.

Examples of Program Success 

Jamal Grant, a Stand Up alumnus wrote: “I am emailing to let you know that you guys really did make a difference and that your work does not go unnoticed by us students. I really enjoyed your program; it served as a way of learning, encouragement, and a good time.”

The Mock Trial Program

The Mock Trial Program, typically offered in the fall, is an 11-week afterschool experiential learning program in which middle school students become trial lawyers. With the support of volunteer attorneys, students tackle age-appropriate legal issues, engage in legal analysis, and ultimately try cases in real courtrooms before federal or state judges and juries made up of community members. Through Mock Trial, students build knowledge of the law, confidence, critical thinking, writing, and public speaking skills while developing a positive, proactive experience with the justice system. In fall 2015, 165 students and over 100 attorneys and judges from Boston, Chelsea, Lawrence, Lowell, and New Bedford participated in Mock Trial.

Budget  $131,222.00
Category  Education, General/Other Afterschool Enrichment
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) Minorities Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short-Term Success 

Students develop self-confidence, public speaking skills, and understanding of the justice system.

Program Long-Term Success 

Students who participate in the Mock Trial Program have the confidence to try new activities and take on challenges that would have previously been perceived as too difficult. Moreover, students gain exposure to professionals in the legal and judicial fields, potentially expanding pipeline opportunities.

Program Success Monitored By 

Program success is monitored by pre- and post- surveys of participating students as well as feedback from volunteer attorneys.

Examples of Program Success 

In the words of Caleb Encarnacion-Rivera, a Mock Trial alumnus from Worcester: “What I am most grateful for is that Discovering Justice opened a new path in my life, giving an 11-year old middle school young man a clear direction . . . . law is definitely in my future and I will use it to make a difference in my community and the lives of others.”

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Children Discovering Justice operates primarily in schools with high percentages of low-income students in Greater Boston and Gateway Cities, statutorily designated as cities with populations between 35,000 and 250,000 and with family income and average educational attainment below the state average. As a result of the pressure schools and teachers face due to standardized testing, few, if any, resources are expended on civic education and social studies, especially in the underfunded communities we serve. The students involved with Discovering Justice programs are remarkably diverse. The wide range of student perspectives and experiences make discussions of history, society, ethics, and government deep and rich, broadening young minds while frequently providing teachers with information they can use to establish stronger connections with students. Safe, respectful spaces for students to express their opinions and share their experiences help young people bridge cultural gaps and form stronger bonds with their schools’ communities. Discovering Justice connects students to ideals of justice and democracy, to stories of heroic struggles to realize those ideals, and to practical knowledge of the social, political, and legal mechanisms through which injustice can be peacefully challenged in our society.  Our special brand of civics and justice education gives students opportunities to immerse themselves in history that resonates, literature that inspires, and activities that foster good citizenship. In a true collaborative effort, Discovering Justice brings innovative resources, professional development, and support to schools while teachers, administrators, and volunteers share their time, talent, mentoring, enthusiasm, and extraordinary dedication to students.  Discovering Justice has embarked upon true partnerships with public school districts to further their civic mission.


CEO/Executive Director Mr. Jon Spack
CEO Term Start Aug 2015
CEO Email
CEO Experience

Jon joined Discovering Justice as Executive Director in August 2015, where he oversees the strategic vision to ensure Discovering Justice remains a high-impact, widely recognized leader in education. Prior to Discovering Justice, Jon served in leadership roles at several national education non-profits in Boston and in the Bay Area, including Education Pioneers, Citizen Schools, and Spark. Throughout his career, Jon has focused on building core infrastructure to sustainably expand high-quality programming, as well as leading fundraising and expansion operations. After graduating from Brookline High School, Jon received his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his M.S. in Non-Profit/NGO Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania. Jon currently resides in Brookline, MA with his wife and daughter.

Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Ms. Ann Gogol Legal Programs Director --
Ms. Jan Shafer Elementary Education Director --


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --



CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 8
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 569
Number of Contract Staff 3
Staff Retention Rate % 75%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 7
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 6
Male: 2
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Management Succession Plan --
Business Continuity of Operations Plan --
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy --
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy --
State Charitable Solicitations Permit --
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions


Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually


Board Chair Ms. Deborah Birnbach
Board Chair Company Affiliation Goodwin Procter
Board Chair Term July 2013 - June 2017
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr. Thaddeus Beal Painter Voting
Ms. Deborah S. Birnbach Goodwin Procter LLP Voting
Mr. John H. Chu Chu, Ring & Hazel LLP Voting
Mr. Anthony M. Doniger Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C. Voting
Mr. Jeremy Eisemann Liberty Mutual Voting
Mr. Richard J. Henken Shochet Companies Voting
Mr. Anthony Jordan Ernst & Young Voting
Dr. Peter Levine Tufts University Voting
Mr. Joshua S. Levy Ropes & Gray Voting
Ms. Emiley Lockhart Office of State Senator Eileen Donoghue Voting
Ms. Cynthia Malm Community Volunteer Voting
Mr. Terence McGinnis Eastern Bank Voting
Mr. Joseph J. Mueller Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP Voting
Ms. Carmen Ortiz Anderson & Krieger LLP Voting
Mr. Michael Parini Vertex Pharmaceuticals Voting
Mr. Jonathan Spack Former CEO, TSNE MissionWorks Voting
Mr. Gary A. Spiess Retired Voting
Mr. Benjamin Taylor Retired Voting
Mr. E. Abim Thomas Vertex Pharmaceuticals Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 15
Hispanic/Latino: 1
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 5
Male: 14
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % --
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions --
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Finance
  • Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction
  • Trusteeship

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$218,100 $252,048 $267,060
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $363,318 $171,911 $200,570
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $32,613 $39,673 $78,162
Investment Income, Net of Losses $9,213 $-4,045 $101,644
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $301,281 $317,611 $369,791
Revenue In-Kind $598,300 $573,700 $162,000
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Program Expense $1,088,172 $1,036,054 $622,715
Administration Expense $244,622 $203,767 $125,058
Fundraising Expense $64,022 $117,066 $360,983
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.09 1.00 1.06
Program Expense/Total Expenses 78% 76% 56%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 7% 16% 43%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Assets $1,166,033 $1,017,148 $1,030,127
Current Assets $1,078,244 $996,973 $1,010,463
Long-Term Liabilities -- $0 $0
Current Liabilities $49,327 $26,451 $33,441
Total Net Assets $1,116,706 $990,697 $996,686

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? 13.00

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 21.86 37.69 30.22

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's audited financials.  Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.


The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.

1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

Discovering Justice hopes to inspire generations of citizens to have a deep understanding of and respect for civic responsibility, justice, community, and democracy. The greater the challenges students face—whether those challenges are a language barrier or the trauma that often accompanies growing up in poverty—the greater our responsibility is to provide meaningful educational opportunities in supportive school environments.

Under the leadership of our new executive director and with the enthusiastic support of the Board of Trustees, staff, and school administrators, we are taking the following steps to achieve these goals: expanding Children Discovering Justice by introducing comparable curriculum with integrated experiential programming for seventh and eighth grades; deepening relationships with partner educators, administrators, and other organizations; and seeking new connections across multiple sectors. Our longer-term goals include expanding our programs districtwide in Boston and in more Gateway Cities; improving data collection and analysis; and becoming a nationally prominent thought leader in civic education. We look forward to developing an updated strategic plan in the coming year.

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

In three years, we will have successfully piloted the full kindergarten through eighth grade continuum of Children Discovering Justice. On a statewide level, we will have expanded our presence to reach more underserved students in more Gateway Cities throughout the Commonwealth and deepened our presence in the cities in which our programs are currently taught. We will have developed an effective model for licensing our curriculum and will conduct efficient outreach that takes into account the vagaries of the educational landscape. We will better measure and communicate the impact of our programs on even our youngest students. Discovering Justice will be seen as a national leader in civic education.

To achieve this vision, Discovering Justice will develop a scalable delivery model for both our curriculum and our afterschool programs; continue to improve data collection and analysis; raise our organizational visibility through enhanced communications; expand and engage our Board of Trustees; and pursue a major individual giving strategy.

3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

Discovering Justice’s greatest strength is the high quality of our programs. Feedback from educators is overwhelmingly positive—at a recent training, Education Director Jan Shafer received a standing ovation from teachers—and Discovering Justice has become a sought-after resource. Our location in the Moakley U.S. Courthouse and focus on elementary students make us a unique voice in civic education and resource in the community. The organization benefits from the enthusiasm and dedication of experienced staff and volunteers and the reinvigorated leadership of our new Executive Director. Staff members include:

Jon Spack, Executive Director, joined Discovering Justice in August 2015. Jon has focused on fundraising and strategic growth in leadership roles at education nonprofits in Boston and California, including Education Pioneers, Citizen Schools, and Spark. Jon received his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his M.S. in Non-Profit/NGO Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania.
Ann Gogol, Associate Director, joined Discovering Justice in 2013. Previously, Ann taught elementary, middle school, law, and community college students. She was an attorney in Portland, Oregon and a law clerk at the Oregon Court of Appeals. Ann earned a B.S. in Business from Miami University in Ohio, and a M.A.T. and J.D., cum laude, from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.
Jan Shafer, Education Director, joined Discovering Justice in 2014 after 25 years as a classroom teacher in Cambridge and Newton elementary schools. She has significant experience in culturally responsive teaching and curriculum development. Jan holds a M.Ed. from Harvard University and a B.S. in Education and Massachusetts Certification from Lesley University.
Danielle White, Education Programs Manager, joined Discovering Justice in 2013. She facilitates field trips, assists with professional development, and provides support for teachers. Danielle graduated from Stonehill College in Easton, MA with a B.A. in International Studies.
Marieljane "MJ" Bastien, Legal Programs Associate, joined Discovering Justice in 2015. MJ, a former Lawrence Public Schools special education teacher who has also been a judicial intern at the Moakley U.S. Courthouse, leads middle school mock appellate field trips and coordinates attorney recruitment, logistics, and communications for both The Mock Trial Program and Stand Up for Your Rights. She holds a B.A. and an M.Ed. from Boston University.

4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

We believe that teaching young people to value justice, realize the power of their own voices, and embrace civic responsibility transforms individual lives and builds stronger communities. Discovering Justice relies on both outputs and outcomes to measure the success of our programs. For Children Discovering Justice (CDJ), outputs include the number of students served, teachers trained, and the number who participate in mock trials. More critically, outcomes are students who show gains in civic knowledge, skills, and values; teachers who acquire new skills as civic and justice educators; and educators who report that the curriculum helps improve their school climate. In the last three years, 87% - 95% of teachers agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “I feel confident that the curriculum has helped to increase students’ comprehension of social studies/civics/ history content.” 88% - 96% of teachers agreed or strongly agreed that “Being involved in CDJ has given me additional tools to positively influence the climate and culture in my classroom.” Future success will be measured by achieving similar outcomes while providing crucial CDJ resources to thousands of new students each year.

Teachers appreciate the high-quality professional development workshops and classroom books that accompany the curriculum; feedback afterward continues to be overwhelmingly positive: “Absolutely wonderful--developmentally appropriate--SO EXCITED!!” and “My ideas about teaching civic education have definitely evolved…This workshop has helped me realize that it is our duty as educators to empower students with the skills they need to think, analyze, and critique events in order to make sense of the world around them.”
Our goals for Mock Trial and Stand Up for Your Rights are to introduce students to the First or Fourth Amendment and develop their critical thinking, writing, and speaking skills. We track knowledge gained and skills developed through pre- and post-program student surveys, as well as attorney surveys. We examine numbers of teams, students, schools, and attorneys. A successful semester will mean over 100 volunteer attorneys working with at least 250 students from at least 15 schools in Boston, Chelsea, Salem, Lawrence, Lowell, New Bedford, and elsewhere. Anticipated outcomes include students showing significant gains in knowledge, skills, and dispositions. To determine impact, the surveys ask multiple-choice questions about the role of a witness, the identification of facts versus opinions, and other topics. In the post-program surveys, we ask students to identify three things they learned.
Measuring authentic civic learning can be challenging, and so we also depend on qualitative feedback and observations to evaluate impact. We frequently receive tremendous accolades from students and volunteer attorneys:
"The skills I developed over the course of the semester [participating in Mock Trial] had an impact well beyond arguing my case. Being clear and organizing my ideas was a huge obstacle for me in middle school...Mock Trial gave me the tools to change that." –Adrianna Jean-Louis, senior at Malden High School, former student attorney
"Standing up in front of a courtroom, in front of a judge, that’s nerve-wracking – times a billion…but once you take that deep breath, and you start, it’s like you can’t stop, it’s like a spark in your soul ready to set on fire. And it’s just wow. Wow." –Angelina Chhim, Stoklosa Middle School, Lowell
"Students grow so much in terms of their knowledge of law, and they also develop the building blocks for being a professional in the world. They come to see the courthouse and the justice system as a tool for change." –Alana Van der Mude, Esq., Goulston & Storrs, volunteer attorney 
By expanding Discovering Justice’s presence in Boston and Gateway Cities, we will help create more engaged learners, more confident educators, more supportive school environments, and a more inclusive democracy for all of us.

5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?