As the District's leading funder of civil legal aid, every day we see how great the need is and how much is yet to be done. We’re committed to meeting this challenge, and we invite you to join us. In this edition, learn about our grantee Break the Cycle’s support for marginalized youth who have experienced violence and sexual assault. Get more information about our Call to Action and Go Casual for Justice campaigns, then encourage your workplace to participate. And find out about Lip Sync for Justice, an event bringing together the District’s “under 40” attorneys to support legal aid access.
Calling all singers! Join the DC Bar Foundation’s Young Lawyers’ Network Leadership Council on June 7, 2018 for an evening of lip sync, karaoke, networking, and fun! Show your skills or simply sit back and enjoy the show. Proceeds will support the Foundation’s work providing access to justice for District residents in desperate need of legal representation. Individual and corporate sponsorships are available.
This past January, DCBF awarded a grant to Break the Cycle (BTC). BTC serves marginalized youth ages 12 to 24 from all DC wards who have experienced dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. BTC attorneys know that their clients have unique barriers to accessing services due to many factors, including lack of knowledge. For example, DC minors age 12 and older can obtain a Civil Protective Order without parental consent, but most are unaware of these legal rights. Our grant helps BTC increase its community outreach so that DC youth facing intimate partner violence know their rights.
We are halfway to the finish line for our annual goal of $685,000! Call to Action is the largest annual fundraising campaign ever undertaken by DCBF. With strong leadership from 2018 Board Development Committee Co-Chairs Ellen Jakovic of Kirkland & Ellis, LLP and Paulette Chapman of Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, and their team of Volunteer Solicitors, we say thank you to local law firms and corporations for their generosity and support. If your firm has not yet committed to become a leader in Call to Action campaign, please join us! A current listing of all firms can be found on our website. Gifts received by March 31, 2018 will be recognized in Washington Lawyer.
Go Casual for Justice is underway. If casual dress is the order of the day and you love the support provided to DC’s legal aid network by the Foundation, become a contributor to DCBF’s Go Casual for Justice campaign. Simply register your workplace, schedule a day for participation, and make a contribution! No amount is too small, and every gift counts.
Each month, we highlight your efforts to make the justice system more accessible for DC residents. This Partner Profile features Courtney Lindsay, an Attorney in the Federal government, and Co-Chair of our Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council’s 2018 Lip Sync for Justice Event! Thank you for your dedication to our leadership as a member of our Young Lawyer’s Network Leadership Council.
The DC Bar Foundation’s newest program, the Civil Legal Counsel Projects program, is funneling $2.5 million into fighting illegal evictions of low-income DC tenants. DCBF has held several listening sessions with various stakeholders since launch of the program in October 2017.
On January 24, 2018 DCBF held a listening session with five different DC government agencies working with low-income tenant communities. DCBF received valuable insight into systemic issues that affect low-income tenants and their access to legal services. This was the first step of many in building new and strong relationships with our local agencies to advance the Civil Legal Counsel Projects Program.
The Foundation is currently accepting applications for eviction defense projects through the 2018-2019 Civil Legal Counsel Projects Program and housing-related matters only through the 2018-2019 Access to Justice Grants Program. The applications are due by 3:00 pm on Monday, April 2, 2018. Organizations may apply for a six-month grant (July 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018), 12-month grant (January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019), or an 18-month grant (July 1, 2018 to December 31, 2019). Access the applications, instructions, and attachments on the CLCPP page or the ATJ page of our website. Please direct questions to email@example.com.
DCBF also held a second planning session with DC legal aid providers on February 21, 2018, providing an opportunity for the providers and other stakeholders to continue developing a plan for the delivery of housing-related legal services in the District. This is a critical step in determining how best to structure partnerships and project proposals for the Civil Legal Counsel Projects Program. DCBF is excited to continue working with the community on developing and implementing the best possible program to enhance legal aid for low-income DC residents.
In recognition of January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, this month’s newsletter highlights the work of Foundation grantee Amara Legal Center. Amara, founded in 2013 by Stacie Reimer, provides free legal services to individuals whose rights have been violated while involved in sex trafficking, whether by coercion, necessity, or choice.
The DC Bar Foundation (DCBF) is committed to working strategically with the DC legal aid community to increase access to justice. We provide 360° support to our community by funding legal aid organizations, providing professional development opportunities to attorneys working at those organizations, and helping some of those same attorneys reduce their law school debt with our Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP). This year, with your support and that of many others, we awarded over $400,000 through our LRAP to 76 civil legal aid lawyers, who work with legal aid organizations representing low-income, underserved residents of the District. Elizabeth Landau is one of those lawyers. Her work at Amara Legal Center is aided by the funding she receives from the LRAP program.
As 2017 comes to an end, we reflect on all that has been accomplished, and even more on all that is still left to do. December is a time for holiday cheer, as well as helping our DC neighbors secure equal access to justice. I would like to thank all of you for your continuous support of the Foundation’s initiatives, both new and ongoing.