Letter From The President Of The New York Bar Foundation

2004-06-01 01:00

To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:

The New York Bar Foundation has initiated an exciting new program which substantially expands the scope of the benefits The Foundation provides to grant applicants.

At the meeting of The Foundation's Board of Directors on April 3, the Board authorized creation of a new program in which The Fellows of The Foundation will provide pro bono legal services to the nonprofit law-related organizations which receive grants from The Foundation. To implement this program, we have added to the form on which applicants request grants from The Foundation a new section advising applicants that they may request, in addition to a financial grant, the pro bono legal services of one or more Fellows in connection with the operations and activities of the grant applicant. We have also written to all Fellows inviting them to participate in this program; a substantial number of Fellows have already volunteered.

This article explains the new program. We hope that readers who are involved with potential grant applicants will bring the program to the attention of organizations which might be interested in the new services The Foundation now provides.

The Foundation And The Fellows

The New York Bar Foundation is the charitable and philanthropic arm of the New York State Bar Association. Founded in 1950, The Foundation is dedicated to aiding educational, direct legal services, and charitable projects aimed at meeting the law-related needs of the public and the profession. The work of The Foundation is made possible through the contributions of lawyers, law firms, and corporations.

The Fellows of The New York Bar Foundation were established in 1974. The Fellows provide ongoing financial support for The Foundation's work in serving the public and profession. In recognition of professional distinction and dedication to the objectives of the Bar, The Fellows are elected by The Foundation's Board of Directors, with membership limited under the Bylaws to one percent of the New York State Bar Association members in each of the State's 12 judicial districts, plus 100 at-large members. At the present time, there are approximately 700 Fellows.

The New Program

Prior to the institution of this new program, the principal activities of The Foundation were to solicit grant applications and to provide financial grants to legal services organizations and other entities. The principal role of most Fellows on behalf of The Foundation has been to provide financial support. Many Fellows have expressed an interest in doing more. This new program provides Fellows with opportunities to do so.

Many of the most distinguished and respected lawyers in New York State are Fellows. Many Fellows have extensive experience as officers and directors of nonprofit organizations such as bar associations, legal services organizations, and other entities.We believe that that experience would be beneficial to The Foundation's grant applicants.

One unique feature of this new program is that Fellows will render pro bono legal services to the organizations themselves relating to their operations and activities. Grant applicants may specify the particular types of legal services they are requesting in The Foundation's new grant application form.Fellows will not render legal advice or services to clients of such organizations nor will they advise such organizations regarding the advice or services to be provided to particular clients of such organizations. Thus, the structure of this program seeks to take advantage of the extraordinary experience which many Fellows have in working directly with nonprofit law-related organizations and to focus The Fellows' expertise on the operations of such organizations.

We believe that this program will add a significant new dimension to The Foundation which will make it more attractive to potential donors.In addition to providing financial grants, The Foundation will now make available to grant applicants legal advice and guidance from a uniquely experienced and talented group of advisors: The Fellows. Thus, The Foundation can now add substantial value to the funds The Foundation distributes to grant applicants. Although a donor could contribute funds directly to the same organizations which receive grants from The Foundation, no donor has 700 sophisticated Fellows to maximize the cost-effectiveness of its contribution.

If you would like more information, please contact me by telephone (212-808-7715) or e-mail (rhaig@kelleydrye.com).


Robert L. Haig