The Philadelphia Bar Foundation receives Leadership Grant from the Philadelphia Foundation

The Philadelphia Bar Foundation receives Leadership Grant from the Philadelphia Foundation

The $26,000 grant is from the Ira Jewell Williams Fund.

PHILADELPHIA, PA –  The Philadelphia Bar Foundation is pleased to announce it has received a Leadership Grant from the Philadelphia Foundation’s Ira Jewell Williams Fund, which was established in 1969 to meet the community’s greatest needs. The Bar Foundation will use the $26,000 to support the Board of Trustee’s Anti-Racism Taskforce (ART) in its efforts to adopt more equitable processes and practices for both internal and external operations, and to disrupt any current process or practices that uphold or perpetuate systemic racism or white supremacist ideals and systems. 

The funding from the Ira Jewell Williams Fund will support the initial phase of the work of the ART, which focuses on evaluating the Bar Foundation’s internal structures and operations. Working with an expert equity consultant/facilitator, the Foundation is re-examining key policies and procedures related to grantmaking, hiring, and Board make-up, as well as developing a shared language around equity. From this examination, the Bar Foundation will proceed to identify best practices and adopt more equitable practices and processes consistent with its strategic aims to center racial equity in its mission and work. 

“This Leadership Grant from the Philadelphia Foundation’s Ira Jewell Williams Fund will allow the Foundation to not only undertake this critical project, but also do so with the care and attention necessary and to make it as effective as possible,” said Jessica Hilburn Holmes, the Bar Foundation’s Executive Director. “We are so grateful for the Philadelphia Foundation’s support.” 

The findings from this effort will also inform the next phase of the project, which will focus on the greater civil legal aid ecosystem within which the Foundation exists and operates. The Bar Foundation intends to work with other collaborators to coordinate and amplify efforts to dismantle elements within the civil legal ecosystem that perpetuate harm as a result of systemic racism and white supremacist policies. In anticipation of that work, the Bar Foundation is also working with the equity consultant to better understand and identify best practices for involving other stakeholders including our nonprofit partners, law firm and corporate partners, as well as individuals with lived experience of disparate and unjust outcomes. 

In 2020, following a call-to action from Philanthropy Network of Greater Philadelphia (PNGP) and the nationwide protests against racial injustice, the Bar Foundation Board established the Anti-Racism Taskforce and reviewed and revised its Strategic Plan to center racial equity in every aspect of its mission and operations. The ART is led by co-chairs: Niki T. Ingram, Esq., Senior Counsel at Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, and Leslie E. John, Esq., Partner at Ballard Spahr. Ms. Ingram currently serves on the Board of Trustees as Vice President and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, and Ms. John is a Trustee who served a two-year term as President of the Board (2019-2020). “I’m so grateful to the Philadelphia Foundation for supporting this crucial work,” said Niki T. Ingram. “This funding will allow the ART to really make an impact within the Bar Foundation and the greater Philadelphia civil legal aid system.” 

Founded in 1918, Philadelphia Foundation strengthens the economic, social and civic vitality of Greater Philadelphia. Philadelphia Foundation grows effective philanthropic investment, connects individuals and institutions across sectors and geography, and advances civic initiatives through partnerships and collaboration. A publicly supported foundation, the Philadelphia Foundation manages more than 1,000 charitable funds established by its donors and makes over 1,000 grants and scholarship awards each year. To learn more, visit:


About the Philadelphia Bar Foundation

The Philadelphia Bar Foundation believes in a Philadelphia community in which everyone has equal access to justice. Through programs, grants, and partnerships, the Philadelphia Bar Foundation removes barriers to justice, engages the community in support of civil legal aid, and builds system-wide capacity in order to strengthen the provision of quality legal services and to ensure that all individuals understand their rights to equal justice under law.