Letter From The President Of The Boston Bar Foundation

2004-05-01 00:00

To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:

The BBF is the charitable arm of the Boston Bar Association.The mission of the Boston Bar Foundation (BBF) is to promote: increased access to justice for all; improved administration of justice; and law-related public education. Lawyers in the greater Boston community have long supported and engaged in pro bono and philanthropic activities and continually strive to find the time and resources to further Boston's rich tradition of public service. By supporting the work of the BBF, attorneys can have a vital impact on the Boston community.

The BBF has supported a variety of legal services programs including advocacy, environmental justice, immigration services, family advocacy and children and youth outreach programs as well as family law projects for battered women. One group to which we have made several contributions is Legal Advocacy and Resource Center (LARC). LARC maintains a coordinated regional service delivery program which provides low-income and underserved individuals in Greater Boston with broad access to legal services. LARC acts as a clearinghouse and handles more than fourteen thousand calls per year. LARC originated from a Boston Bar Association study of how best to deliver legal servicesto those in need and it has developed into an organization we believe has made this delivery system very efficient.

Another major organization supported by the BBF is Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) which provides core legal services to low income residents of Greater Boston who live at or below 125% of the federal poverty standard. GBLS represents clients in areas such as employment, housing, family law, immigration, health and disability and welfare. Supporting organizations such as LARC and GBLS helps to maximize the utility of our charitable dollars.

The BBF's major sources of revenue are the John and Abigail Adams Ball, IOLTA, and the Fellows Program. The Adams Ball is our major annual fundraiser and each year we recognize a prominent individual in the fields of philanthropy and public service by conferring the BBF's Public Service Award. There are three components to The Fellows Program. The Executive Fellows Program requires a commitment of $50,000, the Fellows Program requires a commitment of $10,000, and the Junior Fellows Program was recently launched in an effort to encourage younger lawyers to contribute $1,000 in order to bring them along through the various stages of their careers with different levels of fellowship participation. We currently have 215 Fellows.

The BBF is especially proud of our Grants Committee. All attorneys on the Grants Committee spend an enormous amount of time educating themselves about the current needs of the community and the capabilities of the legal services organizations that are applying for grants. They meet with these organizations, follow up and try to prioritize the greatest needs. They assess the applicants on their efficiency and ability to provide services throughout the period of the grant. After a very thorough analysis, they determine what grants should be made.

Recently the Grants Committee recommended grants totaling $300,000 to seven organizations from the proceeds of the BBF's 2003 John and Abigail Adams Ball. Grantees included the Victims Rights Law Center, Massachusetts Correctional Legal Services, as well as LARC and GBLS. Additional proceeds from the Ball helped to build the BBF's endowment.

The contributions of our Trustees, our Fellows, our Grants Committee and the many law firms and corporations who support the BBF, and our collaboration with other Bar associations and with legal services providers in the community have enabled us to further our mission. By utilizing an appropriate mix of current grants and contributions designed to build our endowment, we hope to help meet legal services needs today as well as to build a reserve for future needs.


Lena G. Goldberg