This semester, for the second year in a row, Mano a Mano has been the beneficiary of a great course for William Mitchell College of Law students – “Advising the International and Humanitarian NGO”. From the William Mitchell course description, “[t]his course gives students a unique opportunity to work directly with a major international non-profit organization (Mano A Mano International Partners, to help this client carry its work forward in two ways: (1) Provide legal guidance on issues that are of current concern to the organization, and (2) Research and prepare high quality advisory papers regarding legal issues that are broad concern to international non-profit organizations.”

The students’ work has been tremendously helpful; with a US staff of 3 it is very difficult to invest much time in the kinds of issues that law students can help with. We have been very happy to have this opportunity, and are extremely grateful for the students’ help!

Mano a Mano co-founder and Board Secretary Joan Velasquez wrote a letter of thanks to the students, which we wanted to share:

Letter to William Mitchell Students from Mano a Mano

Dear “Advising the International Humanitarian NGO” students,

On behalf of Mano a Mano’s Board of Directors, staff and volunteers I send our hearty thank you to each of you for becoming our legal team for the past semester.  And what a stellar team you are.

Your memos have clearly explained our due diligence responsibilities and reviewed Minnesota laws and IRS regulations that apply to us. Our Board will refer to these memos when evaluating its processes.

You have taken documents that I pieced together years ago, applied your legal expertise to modifying and updating them and developed excellent, useful tools that will guide us for years.

Your search for information on unrelated businesses will inform us as we proceed to discuss possibilities with potential partners. You have guided us along the path to publication, presenting clear options along with their advantages and drawbacks, and given valuable feedback that will be incorporated into our book-in-progress. And your work on crisis communication will prepare us to avoid landmines that have derailed other NGOs.

I am thoroughly impressed with your work and the diligent and conscientious processes you used to respond to our questions. All of us at Mano a Mano wish you the best as you pursue your legal careers. We have every confidence that you will be successful.


Joan Velasquez Ph.D., Board Secretary