2017 Foundation Benefit - Uniting for Legal Aid


By Thomas A. Brophy, president and CEO at Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, P.C., and president of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation.

The Access to Justice Benefit, the Philadelphia Bar Foundation's biggest annual charity event, is all about helping folks struggling with poverty, abuse and discrimination to have access to the full range of legal services they need. The generous support received through sponsorships and ticket sales provide vital funding for the Foundation’s grants and technical assistance to the dozens of legalaid nonprofit organizations that depend on these resources.

This year, the benefit will be Saturday, Nov. 4 at the Mütter Museum, conveniently located at 19 S. 22 St. in Philadelphia.

This year the benefit will feature the work of the 38 legal aid nonprofits supported by the Foundation. Our grants and other programs assist a range of nonprofit legal aid organizations that collectively cover the entire spectrum of legal issues: from health to housing, from court reform to education, from employment to consumer fraud, from juvenile justice to elder justice, and from women’s rights to the rights of people with disabilities, immigrants, and veterans.

Your participation in the benefit allows the Foundation to strengthen the legal aid and pro bono systems and raise public support through unrestricted grants, training programs, fellowships and awards. Philanthropic commitments from law firms, businesses, and individuals have allowed the Foundation to provide more than $3 million in grants and other assistance in the last five years.
In these ways, the Foundation is the embodiment of the Philadelphia legal community's commitment to the fundamental principle of equal access to justice for all. We engage thousands of attorneys, law firms, corporate legal departments, vendors and other businesses as donors, event sponsors and in multi-year giving programs. The Foundation is in a unique position with the ability to identify sectorwide needs and marshal the resources to address issues in effective and timely ways.

Your attendance at the benefit makes all this possible, and this year is more important than ever. Many legal aid organizations in our community are experiencing urgent increases in client demand for their services and potentially facing significant cuts in their federal and state funding. They need an immediate infusion of resources due to these special, unexpected circumstances.

We are honored and proud to announce that the Honorable Louis H. Pollak Champion of the Public Interest Award will be presented to Richard C. Glazer of Cozen O’Connor and the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. His lifetime commitment to supporting programs and causes that advance the public interest, as well as his ground-breaking work on behalf of the innocence community, make his recognition with the Pollak Award particularly fitting.

The Philadelphia Bar Foundation Award will be presented to Ayodele “Ayo” Gansallo. She is a senior staff attorney at HIAS Pennsylvania who has devoted her career to representing victims of persecution, abuse and discrimination who are seeking asylum in the U.S. Gansallo was selected to receive this year’s award in recognition of her years of tireless service on behalf of some of the most vulnerable members of our population – immigrants and refugees.

The Foundation’s Pro Bono Award will honor Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. Drinker Biddle was selected to receive the Pro Bono Award for its thousands of hours of pro bono service and investment from its attorneys in providing direct service through legal aid agencies.

The Mütter Museum is a beautiful and unique venue for the benefit. The museum's special collections will also be open to those attending the Benefit. Enjoying international popularity, the museum has been featured on countless TV programs and specials and is the subject of two bestselling books. Docents will be on hand to explain the beautifully preserved collections of anatomical specimens, models and medical instruments.

The Big House Band is back by popular demand. Voted one of Philadelphia's top-five party bands for more than eight consecutive years, the Big House Band features Jimi Milligan and DaNica Shirey from NBC's "The Voice." The band plays everything with class and style, from Sinatra, soul, funk and Motown, to rock, pop and current hits.

Catering by Design will once again serve up the Philadelphia’s best event experience combining gourmet food and drink, immersive design and gracious hospitality. Enjoy a custom menu inspired by dishes and flavors from all over the globe.

The most important aspect of the benefit is the opportunity for the entire legal community to come together in support of the mission of the Foundation. This event is the highlight of the year, where law firm and business leaders come to demonstrate their commitment to equal justice for all.

Thank you for your support. You can register your sponsorship or obtain tickets through our secure website.