Rochanda Hiligh-Thomas of Advocates for Justice and Education to Receive Annual Scoutt Prize

Washington, DC – The District of Columbia Bar Foundation (DCBF) has selected Rochanda Hiligh-Thomas as the recipient of the 2017 Jerrold Scoutt Prize. Ms. Hiligh-Thomas is the Interim Executive Director at Advocates for Justice and Education (AJE).

The Scoutt Prize is awarded annually to an attorney who has worked for a significant portion of his or her career at a nonprofit organization providing direct, hands-on legal services to poor or disadvantaged persons in the District of Columbia, has demonstrated compassionate concern for his or her clients, and has exhibited a high degree of skill on their behalf.

During her tenure as Legal Services Director at AJE, Ms. Hiligh-Thomas worked to bring justice and education to low-income clients. In his nomination, Timothy Riveria, a former staff attorney with AJE, said of Rochanda: “Since the start of her career, Rochanda’s service to DC has led to the preservation of educational opportunities for thousands of children.” Mr. Riveria also referred to Ms. Hiligh-Thomas as “a pillar of the public interest community and a pioneer in education law in DC.”

Ms. Hiligh-Thomas has worked in DC’s legal aid community for over 20 years. Prior to her 12 years with AJE, Ms. Hiligh-Thomas worked with Neighborhood Legal Services Program for eight years, serving as Assistant Director of Legal Operations from 2002 to 2004. She is a graduate of Tuskegee University and the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law.

The Scoutt Prize, endowed by the Washington, DC firm of Zuckert, Scoutt, & Rasenberger LLP, is named in honor of Jerrold Scoutt, Jr., a founding partner of the firm, in recognition of Mr. Scoutt’s and the firm’s long-term support of legal services. The DC Bar Foundation’s Scoutt Prize Committee is chaired by DCBF Advisory Committee member Seth A. Rosenthal of Venable LLP. The DC Bar Foundation will present the 2017 Jerrold Scoutt Prize during the DC Bar’s Judicial Reception on Friday, April 7, 2017.

The DC Bar Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization established in 1977, is the largest funder of civil legal services in the District. The Foundation’s mission is to fund, support, and improve legal representation of the poor, vulnerable, and otherwise disadvantaged in the District of Columbia, and it is committed to the vision that residents of the District have equal access to justice, regardless of income. The Foundation provides grants, training, and technical assistance to local non-profit legal services organizations and awards loans to DC poverty lawyers to help with their educational debts.

###

DC Bar Foundation Seeks Nominations for 2017 Scoutt Prize

WASHINGTON, DC – The DC Bar Foundation is seeking nominations for the 2017 Jerrold Scoutt Prize, which is awarded annually to an exceptional legal services attorney in the District of Columbia. Nominations will be accepted until November 11, 2016.

The Scoutt Prize recognizes outstanding lawyers who work full time, or have spent much of their careers working full time, at DC nonprofits that provide direct, hands-on legal services to the poor or disadvantaged in our community. We encourage you to nominate attorneys who have not only demonstrated a high degree of skill in representing their clients, but who have also demonstrated a high degree of compassion.

Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger LLP established the Scoutt Prize in 1993 in honor of founding partner Jerrold Scoutt Jr. The firm continues to provide an award of $2,500 annually, and since its creation, 27 outstanding public interest attorneys have been recognized. In 2016, Jennifer L. Berger, a Supervisory Attorney at Legal Counsel for the Elderly, was honored for her exceptional work and dedication to community advocacy.

The 2017 Scoutt Prize will be presented during the DC Bar Judicial Reception on Friday, April 7, 2017.

How to submit your nomination:

Nominations must include the nominee’s curriculum vitae. Supporting materials, like articles of interest or letters of support, are highly encouraged.

Please send nominations and supporting materials by 5:00 p.m. on November 11, 2016 to: info@dcbarfoundation.org.

About the DC Bar Foundation: For DC residents in poverty, we make strategic investments to strengthen and expand our civil legal aid network, addressing critical needs and improving our community. As the largest funder of civil legal aid in the District, we are a steadfast community partner, committed to protecting access to justice in life’s most pivotal moments.

###

DCBF to Participate in the 2016 Combined Federal Campaign (Designation Code: 87057)

CFC NCA Logo

         Designation Code: 87507

The DC Bar Foundation will proudly participate in the 2016 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), which is scheduled to run from September 1st to December 15th. The CFC is the official workplace giving campaign of the federal government. Its mission is to promote and support philanthropy among federal employees and give them the opportunity to improve the quality of life for all.
We hope that you will include the DC Bar Foundation in your annual giving plans. Your support makes access to justice possible for District residents in desperate need of legal representation. Be sure to use our designation code 87057 so your donation can be counted.

For more information about the CFC and how to make a gift, click here. To learn more about the Foundation’s participation in the program, please contact David Stone, Development Officer, at stone@dcbarfoundation.org or (202) 853-9025.

DC Bar Foundation Awards $950,000 to Prevent Foreclosures and Redevelop Communities

WASHINGTON, DC — The DC Bar Foundation (DCBF) awarded $950,000 in grants to five two-year projects focused on foreclosure prevention and community redevelopment. Lawyers funded by these grants will provide free civil legal assistance to DC residents living in poverty and who are facing situations including foreclosures, wrongful evictions, poor housing conditions, and expiring housing subsidies.

“From representing elderly individuals who are fighting to remain in their lifelong homes to assisting tenants in negotiating fair building purchase prices, the lawyers funded by our grants will ensure that the most vulnerable in our community have access to justice,” said Kirra L. Jarratt, Executive Director of the DC Bar Foundation. “We believe that over the next two years, this infusion of nearly one million dollars will strengthen DC’s communities, prevent hundreds of foreclosures, and help to preserve affordable housing units for those who are most in need.”

DC Bar Foundation Awards $900,000 in Grants to Expand Access to Justice

WASHINGTON, DC — Between July 2016 and December 2017, the DC Bar Foundation (DCBF) will award $900,000 to 22 organizations that provide direct civil legal assistance to underserved and low-income DC residents. These grants are funded by private donations to DCBF and by the DC Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program, which DCBF administers. The organizations receiving grants provide legal help in many areas of civil law, including housing, employment, domestic violence, immigration, education, health, and disability rights. (See a complete list of grantees below.)

“The IOLTA program and the generosity of our donors allows us to advance the ideal of justice for all, not just for those who can afford it. We are proud to support our grantees, who provide exceptional legal representation to DC residents facing challenges to their families, homes, health and livelihoods,” said Kirra L. Jarratt, Executive Director of the DC Bar Foundation. “Donors and IOLTA participants contribute to the important work of leveling the civil legal playing field here in DC, and we thank them for their ongoing support.”

Since 1978, DCBF has awarded nearly $25 million in private grants to DC civil legal services providers. To make these grants, the Foundation depends on the support of firms and individuals, as well as the interest accrued on eligible client funds held in trust by attorneys in DC as part of the IOLTA program. DC’s IOLTA Program was created in 1985 by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, and the program became mandatory in 2010. All attorneys barred in the District must place eligible client funds—those that are nominal in amount or will be held for only a short period of time—in a DC IOLTA account offered by an approved financial institution. The interest generated on these accounts is pooled to help provide civil legal aid in DC.

More than $4.5 Million Awarded to DC Civil Legal Aid Organizations

[District of Columbia, March 23, 2016] -The DC Bar Foundation announced the 2016 recipients of the Access to Justice (ATJ) Grants Program (public grants), which awards grants to DC-based legal aid organizations that provide free legal help to low-income DC residents. A total of $4,544,000 was awarded to 33 projects, of which eight are new.

Funded by a grant from the District of Columbia Office of Victim Services Justice Grants, the ATJ Grants Program funds projects in three categories: (a) underserved areas; (b) housing-related matters; and (c) a shared legal services interpreter bank. DCBF awarded 28 grants in the underserved areas category, totaling $3,138,000; four grants in the housing-related matters category, totaling $1,106,000; and one $300,000 grant to a shared legal services interpreter bank.

Now Accepting Applications for Foreclosure Prevention and Community Redevelopment Projects

[District of Columbia, March 7, 2016] – The DC Bar Foundation (DCBF) is now accepting applications from DC-based legal aid organizations for foreclosure prevention and community redevelopment legal assistance projects. The application is hosted on DCBF’s new online grants management system and due by 5:00 pm on Friday, April 8, 2016.

DCBF will award $950,000 for foreclosure prevention and community redevelopment legal assistance projects in mid-June 2016, with the grant year beginning July 1, 2016. Organizations can apply for one-, two- or three-year grants. Interviews will take place on May 10, 11 and 12, 2016. The funds were made available through a settlement on mortgage-related litigation between the U.S. Department of Justice and Citigroup. To start an application for these funds, visit our online grants management system here.

Jennifer L. Berger of Legal Counsel for the Elderly to Receive Annual Scoutt Prize

[District of Columbia, Feb. 5, 2016] – The District of Columbia Bar Foundation (DCBF) has selected Jennifer L. Berger, Esquire, as the recipient of the 2016 Jerrold Scoutt Prize. Ms. Berger is a Supervisory Attorney at Legal Counsel for the Elderly (LCE).

The prize is awarded annually to an attorney who has worked for a significant portion of his or her career at a nonprofit organization providing direct hands-on legal services to the needy in the District of Columbia, has demonstrated compassionate concern for his or her clients, and has exhibited a high degree of skill on their behalf.

In her ten years as Supervising Attorney at LCE, Ms. Berger has worked to advocate for elderly citizens experiencing difficulty in the housing area. In her nomination, Jan May, Executive Director of Legal Counsel for the Elderly, said of Jennifer: “She shows a dogged commitment to enhance the quality of life for low-income D.C. seniors through legal advocacy, social service, and public outreach.” Mr. May also praised Ms. Berger for her passion and determination to provide her clients with the best representation.

Young Lawyers Network Council Calls for Applications

[District of Columbia, Feb. 4, 2016] – The Young Lawyers Network (YLN) Leadership Council offers younger attorneys an opportunity to further the goal of access to justice in our community by working with the DC Bar Foundation—the leading funder of civil legal aid for the District’s poor and underserved. Members of the YLN Leadership Council are appointed to DC Bar Foundation Board committees, and serve as liaisons to the organization’s Board and Advisory Committee.

The DC Bar Foundation will add several new YLN Leadership Council members for a two-year term expiring June 30, 2018. Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. on May 2, 2016.