Date: January 22, 2015

Meet our newest board member! Bob Olson has been a Friend of Public Advocates for over 10 years and a highly-valued member of multiple board committees. Learn why Bob got involved with Public Advocates and what excites him about joining our board.

Debi: How did you first get involved with Public Advocates?

Bob: In 2004, I read a San Francisco Chronicle article about the landmark $1 billion settlement Public Advocates had just reached on behalf of California’s disadvantaged students in Williams v. California. As an attorney, I was so inspired that I called Public Advocates’ CEO at the time (Jamienne Studley) to congratulate her and her legal team. We talked over coffee and I became impressed with the body of work that was being undertaken. I decided that day to lend my time and talent directly.

Since then, I’ve had very rich and unique experiences working on three board committees with colleagues who are entirely focused on how to make Public Advocates more effective and impactful. This work has only reinforced my commitment.

Debi: What committee work are you most proud of?

Bob: The Finance Committee because the group has a real interest in exploring new ways to ensure Public Advocates’ long-term financial stability. Our team was able to raise awareness and growth in new financial instruments that would better leverage litigation revenues during lean times and into the future.

Debi: In addition to giving your time, why do you give financially to Public Advocates?

Bob: Simply, I give because I believe the work is important. Public Advocates’ mission is to address systemic causes of inequities with the goal of gaining fairness for those who are often the most disadvantaged – people of color, people of lower incomes. Additionally, I value how Public Advocates works with community groups collaboratively, winning cases and staying around through implementation. To have impact, post win follow-up is essential.

Debi: Anything else to share?

Bob: Some organizations try to do good work but are not effective. My goal as a new board member is to ensure Public Advocates continues to strengthen and grow.

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