PLATINUM2024

Great North Innocence Project

aka GN-IP   |   Minneapolis, MN   |  https://www.greatnorthinnocenceproject.org

Mission

The Great North Innocence Project works to free the wrongfully convicted and prevent future wrongful convictions from occurring in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Ruling year info

2002

Executive Director

Ms. Sara Jones

Main address

229 19th Ave S Suite 285

Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

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Formerly known as

Innocence Project of Minnesota

EIN

41-2020362

NTEE code info

Legal Services (I80)

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

Civil Rights, Social Action, and Advocacy N.E.C. (R99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Great North Innocence Project works to free the wrongfully convicted and prevent future wrongful convictions from occurring in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. We provide free legal representation to people who are actually innocent of crimes for which they were convicted. In this way we strive to correct injustices in our legal system. We also advocate for policies and laws that help to prevent wrongful convictions and that improve the criminal legal system to make it more fair and just. We educate stakeholders in the legal system such as law students, lawyers, judges, and law enforcement personnel to improve the quality of that system for all. Our work addresses the disparate impacts of the criminal legal system and of wrongful convictions on BIPOC populations and low income individuals.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Great North Innocence Project

The Great North Innocence Project represents people who were wrongfully incarcerated for crimes they did not commit. We also educate the public and attorneys and criminal legal professionals on best practices, and work to reform the criminal legal system to prevent wrongful convictions and other unjust results in criminal cases.

Population(s) Served
Incarcerated people
Adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of volunteer hours contributed to the organization

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Great North Innocence Project

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of grants received

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Great North Innocence Project

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of pro bono hours contributed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Great North Innocence Project

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

*Free the wrongfully convicted

*Educate the public and stakeholders about the causes and consequences of wrongful convictions

*Advocate for policy changes to prevent future wrongful convictions

*Fighting to Free the Innocent
Each year our team works diligently to screen hundreds of requests for help, to give freedom back to
people in prison for crimes they did not commit. IPMN staff, law students, investigators, and
volunteer attorneys spend thousands of hours carefully analyzing these cases to determine whether
there is new evidence that could show actual innocence. We litigate cases where newly discovered
evidence is identifiable and can provide clear and convincing proof of actual innocence.

*Shining Light on Injustices
Through school and community presentations, we inform the public about the causes and
consequences of wrongful convictions to raise awareness and support for our work. We provide
practicing attorneys, judges, and law enforcement officers with continuing education and expert
information on wrongful convictions and the best practices to prevent them. We teach law school
courses on wrongful convictions and provide experiential learning opportunities to the next
generation of lawyers to build a better justice system.

*Advocating for Change
We work independently and in coalition with other organizations to pass laws and implement
policies that minimize chances of wrongful convictions and remedy injustices.

GNIP has a strong staff who all work to fulfill our mission in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. We have the support of an effective board of directors and working board committees in our region. Our donor base includes individuals, foundations, and corporate organizations.

GNIP works with law students from five law schools in our region and we actively partner with those law schools in support of our legal and advocacy work. We have a solid relationship within the legal community and a positive reputation among state policy makers with respect to our reform and advocacy work.

GNIP is a member of the international Innocence Network (innocencenetwork.org) which is an affiliation of more than 67 organizations from all over the world dedicated to providing pro bono legal and investigative services to individuals seeking to prove innocence of crimes for which they have been convicted, and working to redress the causes of wrongful convictions. As part of our Network membership, we receive consulting support on organizational development, communications and development, and policy reform.

Since our inception in 2001, GNIP has helped free eleven people from wrongful incarceration, investigated thousands of cases of alleged wrongful convictions, educated thousands of law students, lawyers, judges, law enforcement professionals, and community members, and effectively advocated for legal and policy changes. In 2019, after years of reactively assisting applicants from North Dakota and South Dakota when asked to do so, we were able to increase our staff and now proactively serve Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota as a regional innocence organization.

2023 brought a record breaking year to the GNIP, including the release of 3 innocent people.

As we look ahead to 2024, we intend to fully imbed ourselves in North Dakota and South Dakota and continue to make progress in freeing more of our innocent clients, passing more legislation to prevent wrongful convictions throughout our tristate region and educating more community members on the causes and consequences of wrongful convictions.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection

Financials

Great North Innocence Project
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Great North Innocence Project

Board of directors
as of 04/11/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mr. Jim Volling


Board co-chair

Mr. Tara Duginske

Rachel Bond

Tara Duginske

John Hart

John Kingrey

Benjamin Vickers

Jim Volling

Tim Walsh

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/7/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/07/2024

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.