Posts Tagged ‘Issue 32 (March 2019)’

Letter from the Executive Director

Dear Friends:

Last fall, Mr. Thomas walked into a nonprofit legal clinic in Southeast DC, operated by one of our grantees, and explained to the coordinator that he was scheduled for eviction the next day.

A veteran, Mr. Thomas suffered from PTSD and had been hospitalized after attempting suicide, followed by time in an inpatient drug treatment facility. While under care, Mr. Thomas fell behind on his rent. And during treatment, his disability and food assistance benefits had been terminated when he missed a request for information. He also missed a court date, which led to the scheduled eviction.

Legal aid staff were able to restore his food and disability assistance benefits, and then they turned to the more complicated housing problem. Since Mr. Thomas had a pending application for housing assistance, his attorney used this to request a stay of the eviction. His application – now expired – could be re-submitted and processed, thanks to a reasonable accommodation request. Back rent was paid, and his housing secured.

Equal access to justice for Mr. Thomas – and so many other low-income DC neighbors like him – transforms lives. It’s why our Civil Legal Counsel Projects Program (CLCPP) exists and has support throughout the District.

And it’s why this month we launched an independent evaluation of the CLCPP, the most extensive evaluation of one of our grant programs to date. This investment prioritizes improving the program to provide the best support and secure the best results for the most vulnerable residents our grantees serve. It allows our work to become increasingly focused on outcomes (not just “outputs”) and to refine grantmaking approaches that truly create change.

Working with NPC Research for this evaluation brings us into the national conversation about eviction right-to-counsel. It allows us to benefit from their experience evaluating the Sargent Shriver Right to Counsel initiatives in California, an ambitious right to counsel pilot program providing legal counsel to low-income parties in housing, custody, and guardianship cases. The CLCPP evaluation will also give our grantees new tools and processes for improving their own programs and services, equipping them to provide life-changing legal aid to more of the District’s residents in greatest need.

On behalf of every DC resident like Mr. Thomas, we are committed to learning new things, improving our approaches, and meeting the future together. Thank you for your support!


Kirra L. Jarratt
Executive Director

Celebrating Generosity: President’s Reception Takes Place May 14

Our annual President’s Reception takes place Tuesday, May 14, where we will celebrate the esteemed members of our 77 Society – loyal donors who give $1,000 or more to the Foundation each year – for their partnership with the Foundation. Named in honor of the year the DC Bar Foundation was founded, the 77 Society recognizes the generosity of our donors as well as the impact their support has on low-income District residents in need of free legal resources and assistance.

Individual donors play a critical role in our ability to provide access to justice for thousands of DC residents each year. To show our gratitude for these individuals, we proudly offer numerous benefits to all current 77 Society members, including an invitation to our annual President’s Reception, an event offered exclusively to 77 Society members.

To attend this special event – and become a member of the 77 Society – please make or pledge your total gift of $1,000 or more before May 14. For more information, please email

First Shift Justice Project Fights Workplace Discrimination

A female security guard in DC, who was pregnant with twins, experienced repeated harassment from her supervisor after disclosing her pregnancy. Her supervisor complained about her not wearing the required uniform, which could not fit over her growing belly. When she was rushed to the emergency room for pregnancy complications and was unable to give advance notice, her supervisor threatened to discipline her.

The security guard had already taken unpaid leave and was at risk of losing her job when she reached out to First Shift Justice Project, a DC Bar Foundation grantee. Fortunately, the lawyers at First Shift Justice Project stepped in to draft documents clarifying the client’s rights and communicated with her employer on her behalf.

This is the kind of outcome our grants program makes possible, through funding to the First Shift Justice Project for their Latina Outreach Project. The Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act of 2014 requires District of Columbia employers to provide reasonable workplace accommodations for employees whose ability to perform job duties is limited because of pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or a related medical condition. First Shift’s mission is to empower low-income pregnant women and parents to safeguard the health and economic security of their families by asserting their workplace rights. Within this grant, First Shift Justice Project received funding to provide training to employers about DC pregnancy accommodation laws and deliver legal services to low-income immigrant women.

Learn more about the life-changing impact of our grants on our website.


Daniel M. Clark to Receive 2019 Jerrold Scoutt Prize

Daniel M. Clark, Director of DC Law Students in Court’s Civil Division and Co-Director of their Eviction Defense Services, is the recipient of the 2019 Jerrold Scoutt Prize. 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. The Foundation will present the 2019 Scoutt Prize to Mr. Clark at our annual Fall Reception on October 10, generously hosted by Alston & Bird LLP.

Become a 2019 Lip Sync for Justice Sponsor

Want to make a difference in DC’s civil legal aid community? Become an event sponsor for Lip Sync for Justice today! We have six unique sponsorship levels –  at the corporate and individual levels – offering a fit for every need. To become an event sponsor, fill out our sponsorship form or make a gift through ourwebsite by selecting “LipSync for Justice” at checkout. All proceeds from this special event support DCBF’s efforts to provide equal access to justice for DC residents needing legal representation. Individual tickets go on sale April 1.

Will You Answer Our “Call to Action”?

Equal access to justice not only protects the lives of individuals and families, but also helps build strong communities. Each year through their generous support of our Call to Action initiative, local law firms and businesses give low-income District residents vital access to legal resources. When you give to the Foundation, you help provide a wide range of services – including grants, trainings and technical assistance, and student debt loan repayment – to dozens of legal aid organizations throughout DC. Will you support our mission? Join the Foundation’s Call to Action campaign by donating on our website or filling out our donation form.

Apply for 2019 LRAP

DC residents: Are you committed to serving the most vulnerable people in our community? If you work for one of our eligible employers and provide free legal services to low income residents, we may be able to assist you with our 2019 Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP). Applications are due on October 25, 2019. To learn more and to see if you qualify, visit our information page.

Searching for a Rewarding Career?

Are you interested in helping to provide equal access to justice in the District? The DC Bar Foundation is hiring for several positions to join our hardworking team. Apply today!

Partner Profile: Kelly Jarvis

Each month we highlight an individual working to make the justice system more accessible to DC residents. This month features Kelly Jarvis, Director of Research in Community Health at NPC Research and leader of our Civil Legal Counsel Projects Program evaluation.


Kelly Jarvis


Director of Research in Community Health

Years on the Job

6 years at NPC, 20 years doing evaluation research


NPC Research

Where did you grow up?

I have moved a lot. I was born in NJ. Most of my childhood was in FL. I have lived in Texas, Pennsylvania, DC, California, Oregon, and Germany. I’ve been in Oregon for 15 years.

What brought you to do DC-based work?

I lived in DC many years ago, for a short while in between college and graduate school. I wanted professional experience in both research and social services. DC has both opportunities in spades.

What was your first job in DC and what did you learn?

While in DC, I worked part-time at the NIH doing neuroscience research and full-time at Sasha Bruce Youthwork, Inc., a social services organization focused on at-risk youth. At NIH, I learned about neuroscience testing protocols and cognitive functioning. At SBY, I learned about the day-to-day realities of poverty, systemic racism, family dysfunction, and personal resilience. I also learned firsthand the importance of service systems that are well organized, evidence based, and sufficiently resourced. The health of our communities often relies on the effectiveness of these supports.

Favorite Movie

The Darjeeling Limited

Guilty Pleasure

Random Order Coffee’s chocolate cream pie

One Item from Your Bucket List

Walking the Shikoku Pilgrimage


Yoga, boxing, hiking in the NW’s amazing forests

One thing (other than your phone) you never leave your house without is…

A sweater – in the NW even summer nights are chilly.

You get to paint a mural on the side of the White House. What do you paint?

The silhouette of a female president.

Most rewarding element of your work

Using scientific tools to improve social services.

Legal aid is important to me because…

Civil justice is critical for peace and prosperity.

Your dream for our legal system is…

True and complete access to justice.