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PJC Profile: Lainie Rutkow

Law, social justice and passion

April 25, 2013

Photo of Lainie Rutkow

Lainie Rutkow is a lawyer, but you won’t find her in a courtroom or in settlement talks. She’s an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, focusing on health policy. But she does get a window into litigation as a board member of the Public Justice Center. “Serving on the board gives me a way to contribute to a side of the law that I don’t encounter in my job,” Lainie says.
While some of the legal tools may differ, Lainie certainly finds that the PJC’s mission aligns with her work. “The PJC advances public health,” she says, citing the PJC’s work on reducing delays in processing Medicaid applications, improving conditions in prisons, and improving the treatment of kids in foster care. She elaborates on how the PJC’s Human Right to Housing Project relates to public health: you can’t focus on your health if you don’t have a home. And the quality and condition of your home affects your health as well.
Lainie first learned of the Public Justice Center through one of her former students, PJC donor Anna Davis. But she really got to know the ins and outs when she led the PJC’s application for the Maryland Nonprofits Standards for Excellence. The Standards for Excellence is a voluntary, peer-review based accreditation program for nonprofit organizations. The program evaluates principles of honesty, integrity, fairness, respect, trust, responsibility, and accountability in nonprofit program operations, governance, human resources, financial management and fundraising. As Lainie gathered information on the PJC’s policies and best practices, she witnessed the enthusiasm and dedication of the board and staff. The work paid off – the PJC received its Standards designation in February 2013.
Lainie is not only an active board member; she is also a donor to the Public Justice Center. When she gathered with hundreds of other supporters to celebrate the PJC’s 25th anniversary in 2011, she said she could feel the energy and collective commitment to building a just society. It is that passion, combined with the use of the law to promote social justice, that inspires Lainie to contribute to the PJC and that she hopes will motivate others to become supporters as well.

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