By Dave Duncan, Bose McKinney & Evans LLP
The final months of 2014 are now upon us and with the year-end quickly closing in, many of you are considering your giving options. I’ll happily take this opportunity to share my insight as to why you should put our Indianapolis Bar Foundation at the top of your list.
Did you know that if you put all of the individuals served by the foundation’s pro bono efforts in a room together, that room would be the size of Bankers Life Fieldhouse? Over 18,000 individuals have been served by programs made possible by your contributions to the Foundation in the last five years.
In 2014 alone, your foundation raised over $240,000, granted $140,000 to assist central Indiana families and provided funding for programs in which 582 IndyBar members volunteered their time providing pro bono assistance to families in need. Below is just a brief summary of the service made possible by your contributions in 2014. As you read about how much the IBF has accomplished this year with our current fundraising goals, imagine the impact we could have if every lawyer gave just a bit more. The positive effect on families in our community would be truly astounding.
Ask A Lawyer (Spring and Fall): Over 250 attorney volunteers gave 525 hours to offer free legal advice to over 1,500 people with nowhere else to turn
Hospice Program: Over 20 attorney volunteers gave 150 hours to assist 30 individuals at Eskenazi, Methodist/IU and St. Francis hospitals in their time of need
Bankruptcy Help Line: Four attorney volunteers gave 26 hours to advise 51 people on their tough options ahead
Legal Line: Eighty attorney volunteers donated 160 hours answering 663 calls from Indianapolis residents looking for answers to their legal woes
Homeless Project: Two hundred and twenty attorney volunteers partnered with Wheeler Mission, Care Center, Holy Family Shelter, Salvation Army and the Julian Center and donated time to address the legal and non-legal needs of individuals served by these providers
ILAS/Indy Bar Family Law Conflict Program: Eighty attorney volunteers were matched with 80 clients for direct representation on family law issues donating a total of 720 billable hours to help families navigate their issues through the legal process.
Over the past 10 years more than a million dollars have been granted to improve the lives of Indianapolis families. But there is still so much more we could do. The most recent Census data shows that nearly 20 percent of Indianapolis families live below the Federal poverty level, and the growth of the poverty rate in our city is among the 10 highest for any metropolitan area in the United States.
Our year-over-year figures show that more individuals are turning to the IndyBar for assistance in addressing their unmet legal needs. In 2014, the average family income of an individual receiving pro bono assistance through a program funded by the foundation was less than $25,000.
With your help, we can and will do more. Your contributions to the IBF are what make the pro bono programs of the IndyBar possible. This is our foundation and provides each of us the opportunity to prove that attorneys practicing law in Indianapolis care about the community in which they work and want to make a positive impact.
Every IndyBar member can make a tangible impact by donating to the IBF. No contribution is too small, and 100 percent of our dollars serve residents residing in our City. Our foundation is the only charitable organization of its kind serving Indianapolis.
No one else is doing what our foundation does, and you can be a part of it. Be one. Have impact. Support the Indianapolis Bar Foundation. Please commit to being a part of our Impact of One campaign and donate at indybar.org/donate.•