The Pro Bono Incubator: Access to Therapy Around the Corner

“Increase access to quality rehabilitation medicine around the corner and around the world.”

How can that statement not inspire you? I remember the first time I heard it I was driving home from a long day in the clinic and talking on the phone with Josh and Efosa about Move Together, a new non-profit organization they co-founded. They asked me if I’d like to help coordinate a program to help fulfill the organization’s mission and values. I had to pull off the busy freeway to finish our conversation because I felt immediately energized. Ideas began rushing into my head, originating from that one powerful statement – from there, the Pro Bono Incubator, was born.

The Pro Bono Incubator starts with the belief that every good idea to improve access to care should be funded. How can we help the local doers do good in their communities? How can we support and empower individuals or groups wanting to improve access to care? How can we improve the quality and quantity of clinics? How can we help people bring their ideas to fruition? And how can we reduce barriers they encounter and help ensure success?

As PBI developed, we identified three main components the program would offer:
Grant funding – helping to financially support groups who are looking to improve an existing or create a new pro bono innovation through a grant program.
Mentoring – the purpose of the mentoring program is twofold. One, to help pair a mentor from our mentoring pool with groups who are in the process of creating or evolving pro bono innovations. And two, to recruit and engage individuals who have experience in the pro bono world to participate as a mentor.
Resources – pro bono rehabilitation services can look a variety of ways. We wanted to create a resource to reflect this and also include aspects that individuals/groups should be aware of as they create a pro bono program. Therefore, we created the Pro Bono Playbook – a comprehensive resource posted on our website for anyone to access.

Reflecting back since the first time I heard Move Together’s mission statement only 18 months ago – when the Pro Bono Incubator was only an idea – I’m incredibly proud of where the program is now. In our first grant cycle we had the pleasure of reading through 15 inspiring applications. We were able to split $10,000 in funding between 6 incredible recipients. We’ve been able to connect 7 organizations with our pool of 5 experienced mentors. And in only 4 months, our grant recipients have provided over 300 client contact hours, served over 104 clients, and engaged over 97 rehabilitation professionals in pro bono work.

This upcoming year we again have $10,000 of funding available to support new innovative ideas, incredible organizations, and inspiring people. Applications will open on March 1st, 2018, and close on April 30th, 2018. Considering how this program has blossomed from only an idea 18 months ago, I can’t wait to see what the next 18 months will bring. I truly believe that together we can take great strides towards reducing gaps in care and improve access to quality rehab medicine around the corner and around the world.

For more info, please contact Ciara (CiaraBurgi@movetogether.org) or visit the Move Together website (movetogether.org).

Ciara Burgi
Program Director – Pro Bono Incubator

Check out all the Move Together episodes here!