A Season for Hope and Positive Change


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

As we approach the end of the year, while the winter is young yet, I write this month’s column with a sense of hope. We at the Philadelphia Bar Foundation have many reasons to express gratitude for the incredible work of our nonprofit partners. With 2023 on the horizon, the Bar Foundation will be even better positioned to reduce inequities and promote access to justice for all. Of course, to achieve our goals we need the help of all members of the legal and corporate communities.

In the month of October pledges to our Unified Giving campaign exceeded our already ambitious goals. Through Unified Giving, the Bar Foundation’s law firm donation structure, law firms provide an annual one-time financial gift each year. Through the generous support of our participating law firms, we work to ensure that justice is available for all in our community, removing barriers whenever possible and promoting equity through unrestricted grants to our nearly forty nonprofit partners. The grants that we provide support essential efforts and cover critical operating costs. Even as costs continue to rise, our donors have continued to show support for the mission of the Bar Foundation. I remain hopeful that firms who have not yet participated in our Unified Giving Campaign will do so before the year’s end. The Bar Foundation enjoys the support of so many of Philadelphia’s leading firms, but we hope that all firms will one day participate. For more information about the Bar Foundation’s Unified Giving, please see our website.

While the Unified Approach to Giving provides great opportunities for law firms to participate in the work of the Bar Foundation, the Bar Foundation still relies on individual contributions. Individual contributions continue to be a substantial part of the Bar Foundation’s annual revenue. The participation of individuals, within and outside the legal community, allows greater participation in the work of the Bar Foundation. Different perspectives help us recognize and dismantle barriers to justice, to allow all people to exercise their basic rights and fully participate in our economic and civic systems. I hope that you will be inspired and inspire others to donate through this link.

In November the Bar Foundation welcomed Frank Pellicone to the staff as Director of Community Engagement. Frank brings experience as a nonprofit leader, fundraiser, and community builder with a commitment to education and social justice. Frank will conduct community outreach, strengthen existing programs and partnerships, and develop new opportunities to ensure that the work of the Foundation aligns with the needs of the city of Philadelphia. The growth of the Bar Foundation staff adds to my optimism that the Bar Foundation will continue to make great strides making a substantial impact to expand the capacity of the civil legal services system and expand access to justice.

And, ultimately, my hope is increased by the results of recent elections, not only at home, but, throughout the nation and around the world. People are not willing to allow rights and protections to be stripped away. Working together with our nonprofit partners and through the Bar Foundation, we have the capacity to address any crisis and make positive change, supporting our nonprofit partners. It is my hope that you will donate by mail or online before December 31st. Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy, and hopeful Holiday season!