Last Thursday, the Boston Bar Foundation’s Society of Fellows held its annual winter reception at 16 Beacon Street to celebrate the achievements and growth of the Society in 2015 and look towards the year ahead.
In 2015, the Society hit a major milestone: it grew to more than 400 members! These 400 attorneys are leaders of Boston’s legal profession and the BBF’s most dedicated supporters. They come together as a community several times throughout the year to mingle with friends and colleagues while learning more about what they’ve been supporting from inspirational speakers. Click here to see photos from last Thursday’s reception.
As the community of Fellows has grown, they have been able to make tremendous progress towards the BBF’s goal of a $5 million endowment, creating a stable and lasting foundation for the BBF’s work and freeing up other monies – such as 100 percent of the proceeds of the annual Adams Benefit – for the legal aid grants that increase access to justice for Greater Boston’s underserved. Last year alone, the BBF’s funding helped more than 37,000 underserved children, adults and families with essential legal aid in Greater Boston.
This year, the BBF is granting $950,000 to 23 local legal services organizations, including Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts (PLSMA), which promotes the safe, humane and lawful treatment of Massachusetts prisoners.
At the reception, Leslie Walker, Executive Director of PLSMA, was able to communicate why PLSMA’s work – which the BBF helps to support – is so fundamentally important to our community. Leslie has spent the past 30 years increasing access to justice for Greater Boston’s underserved, the last 15 of which at PLSMA.
She informed the crowd that PLSMA focuses the funds it receives from the BBF on its current top priorities: access to healthcare and prevention of excessive force. She was able to share some heartrending stories about PLSMA’s clients, and impart the poignant message that while much of society writes off individuals who have committed crimes, lawyers have a unique understanding of how crucial it is to protect their rights. That’s why the BBF has supported PLSMA for more than 15 years!