Posts Tagged: Legal Aid

Society of Fellows Celebrates Its Recent Accomplishments at the MFA

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Last Thursday evening the Boston Bar Foundation’s Society of Fellows came together for their spring reception at the Museum of Fine Arts to celebrate the extraordinary work in the community that they make possible through their generous contributions to the BBF’s endowment.

The Fellows enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while catching up with friends and colleagues in the MFA’s Bravo restaurant and then had the opportunity to go on exclusive tours of the MFA’s latest exhibition, Megacities Asia, which the Boston Globe’s art critic Sebastian Smee calls “poignant” and “spectacular.” You can see the photo gallery of the event here.

Like a sprawling megacity itself, the exhibition extends to all corners of the museum. Because of the BBF’s close relationship to the MFA, the tours were led by two extremely knowledgeable guides: Barbara Martin, the Alfond Curator of Education, and Adam Tessier, the Head of Interpretation.

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Lisa Wood (Foley Hoag LLP), Lisa Goodheart (Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen), Martin Murphy (Foley Hoag LLP), and Jill Reilly

BBF President and Sustaining Fellow Lisa Goodheart said a few inspiring words about the crucial role that the Society plays in allowing the Foundation to continue its work to make our city a better place to live and work.

“You are the ones who make possible all of the extraordinary work that the BBF is able to do in the community,” Lisa said. “Because of your pledges, we are able to fund all of the pro bono and public service initiatives of the BBA, support essential legal services for those in need, and provide unique educational and professional opportunities for Greater Boston’s youth. It wouldn’t be possible without the Society of Fellows’ support.”

The Society is what allows the BBF to work towards its mission to make impactful grants to local legal services organizations, promote the public service and pro bono initiatives of the bar and strive to create exceptional opportunities for urban youth. Because of the Society of Fellows, the $45,000 raised from the recent BBF’s Casino Night fundraiser – a record high – will be dedicated 100% to the Boston public school students of the BBA’s Summer Jobs program, enabling them to have summer jobs at nonprofits, in the courts and at government agencies.

A community of more than 400 leaders in the Greater Boston legal profession, the Society of Fellows comes together throughout the year to hear from legal services organizations, public service volunteers and others that are involved in the BBF’s work. To learn more about how you can become a part of this enthusiastic group of BBF supporters, please contact Tara Trask at [email protected] or (617) 778-1984.

Calling All Legal Services Organizations–The BBF Is Now Accepting 2015 Grants Applications

The Volunteer Lawyers Project is a 2014 BBF Grantee. The BBA also supports grantees in other capacities including holding pro bono trainings and recruiting volunteers for their efforts. In the photo above, staff from the Volunteer Lawyers Project discuss volunteer opportunities with interested law students at the Suffolk Pro Bono Fair in October.

The Volunteer Lawyers Project is a 2014 BBF Grantee. The BBA also supports grantees in other capacities including holding pro bono trainings and recruiting volunteers for their efforts. In the photo above, staff from the Volunteer Lawyers Project discuss volunteer opportunities with interested law students at the Suffolk Pro Bono Fair in October.

The Boston Bar Foundation (BBF) has released its application for the 2015 grants cycle. As you probably know, the BBF grants support programs and organizations that advance access to legal services, improve fair administration of justice, and help expand public understanding of the law. Combined with money raised from events such as the John & Abigail Adams Benefit, the BBF grants its portion of Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) funds to legal service organizations. However, in response to the decline in IOLTA funding, the BBF has stepped up and increased its commitment to funding legal services by granting a greater portion of its own fundraising. Last year the BBF’s contributions were almost half of the total funds granted.

So how does the grant making process work? Beyond the Billable is bringing you a firsthand look at how the grant decisions are made. Take a look below:

The members of the BBF Grants Committee spend countless hours reviewing each application, discussing the current needs within legal services and the Greater Boston area, and examining emerging issues affecting low-income individuals in our community. While reviewing applications, the BBF Grants Committee looks for organizations that:

  • Provide civil legal services to low-income people and/or underserved populations, especially organizations and programs that address an unmet legal need.
  • Develop or strengthen pro bono programs through which the private bar delivers substantial voluntary legal services to low-income and underserved populations.
  • Demonstrably enhance the administration of justice in Massachusetts (i.e. improve the courts’ effectiveness, address systemic problems in the court system or provide information to low-income, underserved or special needs populations regarding their legal rights and/or accessibility to the courts).

Last year, the BBF granted $825,500 to 23 community legal service providers. Among the grantees are organizations working to assist low-income families and individuals who face problems relating to immigration, domestic violence, and homelessness, as well as increasingly prevalent issues such as human trafficking and environmental justice. To learn more about last year’s grantees, please check out our website.

Please contact the BBA/BBF Public Service Manager Sonia Shah at [email protected] if you have any questions about the BBF grant process.