Small Business and Community Economic Development Clinic Empowering Nonprofits to Make a Positive Impact

May 15, 2023

People ordering food at a food truck

The Small Business & Community Economic Development Clinic, supervised by Professor Susan R. Jones, Professor Amanda Spratley and Professor Darryl Maxwell, had multiple client victories this year. A team of student-attorneys represented Global Consciousness Institute (GCI). GCI is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to elevate global consciousness as a field of study, transform education and economic practices and policies, provide a strategic and energetic focus to nurture change agents and leaders, and activate a collective experience of oneness globally, enabling humanity to exist in loving harmony with all life.

During the fall, a team of student-attorneys helped GCI incorporate as a DC nonprofit corporation, while also providing advice and counsel to GCI as it applied for, and was ultimately granted, tax exempt status from the IRS under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code on an expedited timeline. The team also assisted GCI with drafting contracts associated with GCI's growth, such as employment and sponsorship agreements, and a donation acknowledgment letter. Inspired by the mission and vision of GCI, the team had a front row seat to and an influential hand in organizing GCI and helping it realize its mission. Congratulations to all fall and spring student-attorneys including Taiwo Adeniyi (Class of ’23), Evan Conner (Class of ’23), Yanjaio (Katrina) Du (Class of ’23), Melissa (Schlosberg) Flocks (Class of ’23), and their client on the success of this matter.

This Spring the Clinic represented a Beloved Community Incubator, Inc. (BCI), a worker-directed nonprofit that has advocated at the forefront of many important community initiatives in the DC Metro area since 2018. BCI has tirelessly fought for the transformation of DC’s street vending laws. With the support of their team of student- attorneys, BCI’s organizing efforts finally culminated in a momentous victory for DC’s street vendors. On April 4, 2023, the DC Council unanimously passed the Street Vendor Advancement Amendment Act of 2023. The bill will bridge equity gaps by decriminalizing unlicensed street vending, creating sidewalk vending zones in DC, and establishing a new license category (a microenterprise home kitchen business permit) for the sale of food prepared in home kitchens. The bill still must be approved by Mayor Muriel Bowser and reviewed by Congress before it becomes law, but for now we celebrate a monumental achievement for BCI, the SBCEDC, and the DC Street vending community. More information about this bill and how to follow its progress, is available on DCist's website. Congratulations to student-attorneys Brandon Martinez Gonzalez (Class of ’23), Ani Mard (Class of’ 23), and Taylor Sutton (Class of ’23).