Chances are, if you’ve been involved in nonprofit policy or legal work, you know Gene Takagi. Gene is an award-winning nonprofit lawyer who runs Nonprofit Law Blog, a resource for all of your favorite nonprofit legal topics — like how to deal with fiscal sponsorships, maintain effective collaborations, and understand the role of social enterprise. He is also the managing attorney of NEO Law Group, based in San Francisco, and a frequent speaker in the nonprofit conference circuit. We asked him to introduce himself to you as one of the earliest registrants for Upswell in November.
Q: In a few sentences, tell us who you are – what drives you, what you’re working on, and why you’re inspired to make the world a better place.
GT: I’m an attorney for nonprofits, nonprofit board member, and a writer, speaker, and advocate for the nonprofit sector. I’m driven by a belief that we have a duty to use our talents, opportunities, power, and privileges for the common good. And I’m inspired by those who fight to make the world a better place and also by random acts of kindness.
Q: What’s your favorite Sunday morning activity?
GT: Reading and writing about the things that interest me at a local coffee shop and planning an afternoon hike with my wife.
Q: Who or what are you inspired by right now and why?
GT: I’m inspired by our past, current, and future advocates of civil rights, environmental protection, and justice. Right now, Bryan Stevenson comes to mind for his work and dedication to fighting poverty and challenging racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.
Q: Upswell is about breaking the mold. What’s one thing you’d like to see in the conversation that doesn’t get enough national attention?
GT: How local advocacy efforts can create broader positive change. While we recognize major social change often originates from the work of nonprofits, we don’t share enough specific instances of how this is happening on a local level and how a great many more nonprofits can better realize their potential as changemakers.