- Issue 23 (June 2018)
- Issue 24 (July 2018)
- Issue 25 (August 2018)
- Issue 26 (September 2018)
- Partner Profile
Programs Officer Elizabeth Nellums joins the DC Bar Foundation with a passion for improving access to justice for underserved residents of the District.
A stable, solid education creates opportunity for DC students and sets them on a path toward a more prosperous life. It is why we fund Advocates for Justice and Education (AJE), an organization providing free, on-site legal assistance to parents, guardians, or students at disciplinary hearings before the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH).
This back-to-school season, I am reflecting on the challenges students face in our community — and our potential for creating change together. I recently learned about Shannon, a 15-year-old DC Public Schools (DCPS) student who faced a 45-day suspension. The cause? Failing to throw away a drink bottle when asked by a staff member.
As I reflect on our recent announcement of new grant awards, I want to share a colleague’s story. Imoni Washington, Director of Programs at the DC Bar Foundation, is a DC native. She grew up in a middle-class family with a Foreign Service Officer dad, stationed for many years in West Africa. There she witnessed deep poverty, and vividly remembers visiting slave castles as a child. She later attended a Quaker high school focused on community service and equality, further shaping her vision.
Over the past year, DC Bar Foundation has awarded nearly $3.5 million for free legal assistance to low-income DC tenants facing eviction. (More than triple 2017’s awards!) Our longtime grantee DC Law Students in Court (DCLSIC) is among these recipients, awarded $777,000 this year to provide free-same day representation in eviction cases at DC Superior Court.
A young, skilled attorney is passionate about providing civil legal aid to low-income clients. She grew up with economic challenges herself, and was the first in her family to attend a four-year college—let alone law school. But she’s now saddled with law school debt and challenged by the DC-area’s cost of living. Local legal aid nonprofits face a barrier to recruiting her, because they can’t offer salaries competitive enough to meet these realities. Sound familiar?
Since 2007 the DC Bar Foundation (DCBF) has funded the Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP), providing 12-month, interest-free loans for educational debt, making it possible for skilled attorneys to work in legal aid. And because of LRAP, DC’s legal aid community can recruit talented, high-quality lawyers from around the country.
Applause for the team at Arnold & Porter, who raised more than $6,000 for access to justice in DC — just by going casual at the office!