By Meredith S. Auten, Partner at Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP and Acting President of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation
Fall is always an especially busy time for us at the Bar Foundation. Our annual awards are presented at our Access to Justice Benefit, and we are busy preparing and organizing the best event we can for our community, nonprofit partners, honorees, donors, and friends. During this time of the year, we are also preparing for our annual year-end grant distributions. On top of that, we continue to support our ongoing fundraising campaigns and engagement with the broader community.
National Celebration of Pro Bono - October 24-30
Please join us in celebrating National Pro Bono Week beginning on October 24th! There are many opportunities to learn about and support legal aid in our community. You can celebrate with us by hosting a Friends of the Foundation event supporting the Bar Foundation. Pick any day during pro bono week to hold a one-day fundraising event to raise money for our end-of-year grantmaking. Your participants donate $5 (or more) through the Friends of the Foundation event page on our website. Your law firm, legal department, corporate office, group of friends, or professional network can participate – all are welcome!
Equal Justice Center Initiatives
In May 2021, we engaged Novus Insight to examine ways of improving interagency collaboration and data sharing among our community legal aid service providers and other organizations involved in the legal aid ecosystem. In our first project phase, we are discovering ways that data can be collected and shared more efficiently across organizations. Recommendations, a gap analysis, and a needs assessment will be created in the next phase of the project. These project phases will ultimately lead to an action plan that sets forth a roadmap to implement a technology-driven solution for legal aid service providers.
Our Equal Justice Center initiatives are geared toward transforming the capacity of the community's legal aid system to further support and enhance operations to meet client needs. Redesigning existing process maps to reflect a future in which there is a “one-stop-shop” for legal aid information, assistance, and referrals will further improve access to justice for all Philadelphians. Work on our current initiative this year will facilitate future efforts on our strategic objective of co-creating community-based justice hubs to provide equal access to justice for all.
Access to Justice Awards Benefit - November 9
Our 2021 annual awards event scheduled for November 9th will be a virtual celebration again this year, and we look forward to continuing the success of last year’s virtual event. At this event, we recognize the outstanding achievements of pro bono and public interest attorneys in the community through our Pro Bono Award, Philadelphia Bar Foundation Award, and Trailblazers for Justice Award. We also celebrate the incredibly generous financial support of all of our Unified Giving partners and donors. We welcome all businesses that support the legal industry or business community and all those interested in supporting the Philadelphia public interest community to participate as event sponsors. Proceeds from this event are used to further support the Bar Foundation’s annual grants to civil legal aid organizations in our region. Please join us! For more information, please visit www.philabarfoundation.org.
2021 Philadelphia Bar Foundation Grants
The Bar Foundation’s Grants Committee has been working hard on preparations for our annual year-end grants. Members of the committee and the Bar Foundation staff have been meeting with the executive directors of all grant applicants – 38 this year! We truly value the opportunity to connect with the public interest leadership in our community and learn about their outlook on advancing legal aid service delivery and advocacy in the Philadelphia region and throughout the community.
We are so appreciative of all of the generous support of all our donors and would like to call on everyone in the legal and business community to support our Unified Giving program for 2021 so that we can further support and enhance legal aid in the community.
I have outlined some exciting opportunities to learn about the extraordinary work of our nonprofit partners and honor those who are making an impact in our communities. We always have many ongoing programs, events, and activities that depend on your help and engagement. Thank you for supporting our mission and our nonprofit partners all through the year!