Details about the Luongo Fund
Federal Judge Gerald Austin (Jerry) McHugh, Jr. marked his first anniversary of service in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by establishing the Luongo Fund with the Philadelphia Bar Foundation, named in honor of one of his mentors, the late Chief Judge Alfred L. Luongo. In the words of Judge McHugh, “Judge Luongo was a mentor to me both while I was his law clerk and during the early years of my career, and he remains a role model for me now that I have joined his Court.”
Judge Luongo’s son, Stephen, a partner at Blank Rome, where his father practiced decades before, was happy to endorse the use of the Luongo family name. “My father was a great believer in second chances. He was also the consummate public servant. He would be very pleased to be associated with this effort.”
The inspiration for the Luongo fund came after Judge McHugh began judicial service, and saw emails that would periodically circulate, seeking donations of various items to assist STAR reentry program participants with their transition from prison life. The turning point came when he saw a particular request for a shirt needed to assist one of the men with an upcoming a job interview, seeking such an unusual size that there was virtually no chance anyone would have such a garment in their closet. “It occurred to me then that we needed some additional resources to address the wide variety of needs men with limited resources face upon release from prison.” The Luongo Fund seeks to fill that void by providing much-needed funding for emergency needs.
Judge McHugh is no stranger to the needs of ex-offenders or to public interest service. Beginning at an early age, he was a volunteer teacher in the Philadelphia prisons, and co-founded Hospitality House of Philadelphia, a halfway house which served ex-offenders for more than 20 years before finally closing because of lack of funding. He has also served as President of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation, Chair of Pennsylvania’s IOLTA Board, and as President of Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network.