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One of Canada’s leading social justice organizations.

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Katrina Pacey, criminal defense lawyer serving the Pivot Legal Society // www.pivotlegal.org

Founded: 
2001
Number of Employees: 
10
Annual Budget:
$700,000

Katrina’s Story

In 2001, first year law student Katrina Pacey discovered the Pivot Legal Society—an edgy nonprofit serving Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Working from a founder’s bedroom and borrowed office space, Pivot had embarked on becoming a prominent advocacy group for marginalized people. Katrina devoured the collaborative atmosphere of lawyers and east side citizens around the same table. She found her niche in law reform for sex trade workers.

“I received my legal education through Pivot,” explains Katrina. “As Pivot’s grown up, I’ve grown up.” After several years as a Pivot volunteer, Katrina now also works as a criminal defense lawyer at Pivot’s new social enterprise law firm, Pivot Legal LLP. The LLP is an innovation in self-funding, a for-profit subsidiary of a social justice advocacy group. By practicing law at the LLP, Katrina helps fund the nonprofit efforts that remain her passion.

Meeting Renewal

Pivot has always known Renewal, having been born from connections made at the Social Venture Institute (SVI). Since then, Renewal has supported Pivot with a dual strategy of investment and charitable giving: An initial grant from Endswell helped keep Pivot’s vision alive. Subsequent investments and mentoring helped strengthen Pivot’s influence. The recent shared purchase of a building helped give Pivot a home.

With these contributions, Pivot staff and volunteers have pioneered some of the most innovative approaches to community activism. “Renewal trusts us to do the right thing with the support they provide. It’s a responsibility we take seriously,” says Katrina.

Making Ripples

Pivot has amplified the voices of marginalized people in unprecedented ways—proving themselves a high impact advocate, particularly on housing issues. At the same time, they have broadened the legal perspectives of skilled professionals who join in contributing to Pivot’s success.

With the wisdom and passion of their community, Pivot has positively influenced systems, powers and politics—demonstrating how successes for marginalized people benefit everyone. As Katrina puts it: “Embedded in the law are all these principles that people want our society to stand for. We can use the law to remind ourselves who we want to be.” Today, Pivot is driving the Canadian policy agenda for protecting the rights of marginalized people.