2019 Special Recognition Award: Melanie Tsuchida

For five years, Melanie Tsuchida, Manager of Strategic Learning at the Colorado Nonprofit Association, was an essential part—and coordinator and administrator extraordinaire—of the Colorado Lawyers Committee Nonprofit Legal Audit Clinics and the CLC Nonprofit Working Group. She has been an invaluable resource for the nonprofit community and for Colorado Lawyers Committee. 

Since 2006, the Colorado Lawyers Committee has co-sponsored a Nonprofit Legal Audit Clinic for small nonprofits with limited operating budgets. Teams of transactional attorneys review a checklist with participating nonprofits to evaluate their legal health. Client meetings are preceded by a CLE training for participating lawyers on various aspects of Colorado nonprofit law. The Colorado Lawyers Committee partners with the Association of Corporate Counsel—Colorado Chapter, the CLC Young Lawyers Division and the Colorado Nonprofit Association to offer these clinics. This award recognizes the extraordinary effort put forth by Melanie to organize, educate, and assist in providing legal services for several hundred local nonprofits. 

Melanie has also been an essential partner in the Nonprofit Working Group. Since 2009, this Task Force has provided transactional-type legal services and representation to budget-constrained nonprofit organizations. Melanie has expertly solicited, evaluated and approved applications for assistance so that volunteer attorneys can be paired with nonprofits in need of pro bono lawyers. 

These two nonprofit programs have provided pro bono legal services to more than 400 nonprofits. The monumental success of the Nonprofit Legal Audit Clinic and the Nonprofit Working Group would not have been possible without Melanie’s tireless efforts, contagious enthusiasm, and skilled coordination. 

Robin Gates