Giving in Support of Legal Aid


By Meredith S. Auten, President of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation. 

In 2021, the Philadelphia Bar Foundation distributed over $400,000 in unrestricted grants and provided more than $50,000 in programmatic and technical assistance to strengthen the public interest civil legal aid sector and help improve equity in our society.  Generous donations from Philadelphia’s legal and civic community throughout the year made that possible. Each year, the Foundation looks for innovative ways to maximize the funds available to enhance and fortify the delivery of civil legal aid services.

Since 2018 the Bar Foundation has pursued a Unified Approach to Giving (Unified Giving Campaign) with law firms. This annual, one-time gift obviates the need for multiple requests for event sponsorships throughout the year, provides long-term marketing benefits to Unified Giving partners, and allows the Foundation to focus more productively on the fight for equal and equitable access to justice through programs, grants, and partnerships. Thank you to all of our Unified Giving partners and we hope you will join us again this year in the fight for equal access to justice.  

For individuals, there are a number of ways to give to the Foundation throughout the year: 

  • Lawyers who volunteer their services as arbitrators in the Court of Common Pleas may designate their entire fee (or a portion of their fee) to the Bar Foundation or to Community Legal Services through the Arbitration Fee Donation Program. For many attorneys the fee is less than one billable hour, but for a legal aid organization, it is a welcome contribution to advance their mission. This program is made possible through the joint efforts of the Philadelphia Bar Association, the Philadelphia Bar Foundation, and the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
  • Memorial & Tribute Gifts are a meaningful way to congratulate a colleague on a promotion or a victory in a case, or to honor and remember someone special.
  • The Foundation also offers a number of different long-term Major Gift & Endowment Programs. The Foundation’s Endowment Fund provides stability and is crucial for supplementing other forms of fundraising, ensuring the Foundation can continue to provide substantial annual grants and programmatic support to our nonprofit partners. 
  • The Equal Justice Society has been established to recognize the community of liked-minded individuals who have committed to naming the Philadelphia Bar Foundation as the beneficiary of a planned gift. Planned giving options may have significant donor benefits and allow an individual to leave a meaningful legacy to the Bar Foundation and the entire legal services community of advocates.

Individuals can also give on a recurring basis to the Foundation through Paycheck Deductions, United Way Workplace Campaign, or by setting up Monthly Donations directly through the Foundation’s website. 

For organizations and businesses that serve the legal community, we offer opportunities to meaningfully support our work through sponsorships at our annual Access to Justice Awards event, an awards reception and donor thank you event. We have already started to plan this year’s event and are looking forward to sharing those details with all of you in the near future.

Please visit for more information on all the ways you can support the Foundation. No matter which way you prefer to give, we are deeply grateful for your generosity. You make the work that we do possible.