Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Michael Jacobson Moves

Today brings official word that Michael Jacobson is stepping down as head of the Vera Institute of Justice to create a new institute on municipal finance at the City University of New York.

I don't write about Vera very often in this space, but it is an agency that plays a number of important roles for the Center for Court Innovation -- from partner (we have worked closely with them and the City of New York on creating new alternatives to detention, for example) to inspiration (the Vera model of a non-profit working in close partnership with government that was pioneered by Herb Sturz has directly influenced the development of the Center) to competitor (in a world of limited resources, we inevitably end up competing for some of the same grants as Vera).

At the end of the day, I consider myself part of the extended Vera family, although I've never worked there or had any formal connection to the place.  I've particularly enjoyed my interactions with Mike, who has always been generous with his time and his ideas when I've called upon him.  Over the years, Mike has spoken at the Center, participated in our roundtables, and offered advice (and sympathy) about non-profit management issues.  He was even nice enough to blurb Good Courts.  Having walked a mile in similar shoes, I can attest to the degree of difficulty of some of the signal accomplishments of Mike's run at Vera, including the creation of an outpost in New Orleans, the opening of a guardianship project with the New York courts, and the establishment of a center on cost-benefit analysis.  I'm sure Vera will miss Mike, but so will we.