Advocating for Children's Health Care

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Tennessee Justice Center
City & State:
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

The Tennessee Justice Center advocates on behalf of poor Tennesseans:

  • in areas of public policy having the greatest impact on their health and welfare;
  • by means which afford clients opportunities to make their own voices heard; and
  • in ways which emphasize collaboration across lines of race, class and generation.

Our clients inspire and drive the work that we do. The Center also supports the work of others engaged in similar advocacy efforts, beyond state boundaries, on behalf of the poor.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

Our staff of a dozen committed non-profit lawyers, client advocates, and administrators relies on Microsoft products daily. All our internal email communications are through Outlook, and nearly all our correspondence is in Word. We leverage $2 million in pro bono contributions of co-counsel working in law firms throughout the country who serve low income children in even the most remote corners of Tennessee. Only through the networking and data-sharing capabilities from Microsoft are such collaborations possible.

Tennessee Business magazine, in a cover story on TJC, asked, “Which Tennessee-based nonprofit …has directly affected the welfare of more Tennessens? The Tennessee Justice Center, of course.” To touch so many lives with a budget of less than $1 million requires great efficiency. And we could not begin to achieve such efficiency without Microsoft support.

We utilize Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Publisher to fulfill our mission; working at both the systemic and the individual level, we hold the state accountable to its legal duty to provide public health services and assist Tennesseans in accessing their needed care. These tools also help us maintain relationships with our supporters, colleagues and donors who want to stay informed about our current work.


Monitoring the performance of state public health programs is a massive undertaking. Analyzing performance improvements or shortfalls over time is even more complex. By using Microsoft Excel, however, we have been able to simplify our datasets and analyze the state-run public health program in terms of its smaller parts: immunization rates, outreach efforts, doctor availability, etc. We have been able to condense raw data into much more useful and straightforward charts and tables. Using Excel’s graphing and analysis tools, we have been able to clearly see which trends are most alarming and work to target these problem areas.

Beyond its service as an analytical tool, Excel has provided us with an invaluable method of interoffice communication. We are often dealing with tables of 40,000+ rows, and the ease with which we can sort data, merge tables, and divide these massive sets of information into smaller pieces has made us much more productive when multiple individuals are simultaneously using one large table. We frequently use Excel charts and diagrams in our presentations and outreach materials as a way to graphically represent the state’s success rates in implementing its public health initiatives.


As a watchdog for the public, we hold the state accountable when it is not reaching goals mandated by Federal law. In addition to working from the top down to create system-wide reforms, we target outreach and assistance to public health plan enrollees and their advocates. Our staff gives presentations across the state and the nation to supply technical assistance and inform people of their legal rights. As a Nashville-based non-profit, we do much of our work in the Middle Tennessee area. In order to diversify our clientele and reach a particularly vulnerable population, a new project, Legal Education, Advocacy, Services and Empowerment (LEASE), reaches foster children, who are at exceptionally high risk for mental health diagnoses and are often without advocates to fight for the care they need.

A dedicated staff member gives presentations throughout middle Tennessee to foster families and their advocates. We educate about foster children’s rights to appropriate health care through TennCare, Tennessee’s Medicaid program. We also provide advocacy tools that parents and advocates can use to help foster children access appropriate care. PowerPoint is our tool of choice to deliver these presentations, allowing us to reach our audience most effectively.

The PowerPoint we currently use includes (with their permission, of course), photos of clients we have helped, our organization’s logo and signature color, a diagram of the network that serves foster children on TennCare, and pop quizzes to make sure we are engaging the audience. Thanks to PowerPoint, our presentation has a finished and professional appearance. In the past year, our staff has given 31 presentations in over 16 middle Tennessee counties, each time using PowerPoint software. Additionally, we dispense advice to advocates during presentations, and there is a multiplier effect of our outreach through foster parents who share their new knowledge with others. Based on a survey given after TJC’s presentation, 95% of participants have a better understanding of the rights of children on TennCare and a better understanding of appealing denials of service. PowerPoint is essential to our outreach and education success.


Publisher has helped us unleash creative strategies for maintaining relationships with supporters and donors. In the spirit of creativity, we decided a poem – “Ode to Publisher” – says it all.

Publisher, oh Publisher, you keep your secret well

Many people aren’t aware of how you are so swell

You liven up the program choices contained on my Dell.

Before we found you, Publisher, to card shops we would go

Settling for pre-fab messages, and shelling out the dough

What worlds awaited with Publisher, little did we know!

Now our donors, friends, and clients are treated to the best –

Personalized, picture-filled cards are much better than the rest

They even include some poetry, in case you haven’t guessed.

But thank you cards and get well soon – the uses don’t stop there,

Microsoft Publisher’s eye-catching products can go any place you dare!

To schools, Head Starts, presentations and meetings, even an outreach fair!

Your user-friendly, flexible interface makes creating such a snap

With a choice of templates and clip art galore, we put TJC on the map

Publisher, our partner in amazing outreach, thank you! That’s a wrap!

Submission Category
Optimize Mission Delivery