By Andrew Campbell, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP and 2016 Indianapolis Bar Foundation President
With the generous support of the Indianapolis legal community, the Indianapolis Bar Foundation is pleased to report that it exceeded its 2015 fundraising budget by more than 10 percent. This success will further maximize the IBF’s impact in the Indianapolis community through its mission to advance justice and lead positive change through philanthropy, education and service.
As the exclusive financial sponsor of the Indianapolis Bar Association’s pro bono programs, the IBF has and will continue to positively advance justice in Indianapolis. In 2015 alone, IndyBar pro bono programs allowed more than 1,800 of our neighbors to access a lawyer’s services free of charge.
These programs included legal consultation and referral through the bi-annual Ask-a-Lawyer and monthly Legal Line programs; legal advice and representation at area homeless shelters via the Homeless Project; end-of-life planning and representation through the Hospice and Low Asset Wills programs; and, family law representation when those in need are conflicted out of representation by other legal service providers.
Together, nearly 500 IndyBar members donated over 1,800 hours of pro bono service through these programs. Without the financial support of the IBF and its donors, these programs simply would not exist, leaving those in need without access to valuable legal services.
In 2015, the IBF also continued its long history of philanthropy. Specifically, the IBF again awarded an Impact Fund grant of $35,000 to an Indianapolis non-profit with a focus on the public’s awareness of, understanding of, and access to the legal profession. With the 2015 Impact Fund grant, the Peace Learning Center (PLC) is implementing its new One Indy Campaign.
Through this program, the PLC has partnered with four Indianapolis Public Schools that serve six of the Department of Public Safety’s focus neighborhoods. Among other key components, the One Indy Campaign will train students as peer mediators, lead restorative justice circles, and educate teachers and staff about restorative justice practices as a viable and effective alternative to punitive disciplinary practices. Since last fall, One Indy has worked with nearly 1,000 students, parents, and teachers, and is positioned to positively impact hundreds more. The One Indy Campaign will also offer valuable volunteer opportunities for IndyBar members in 2016.
The IBF also continues to enhance its impact on legal education and professional development through multiple scholarships. In 2015, the IBF awarded more than $8,000 in scholarships to law students to defer the cost of tuition and attend Bar Review courses. The IBF also awarded $1,000 to legal professionals to attend the annual Bench Bar Conference. These important scholarships not only make legal educational and professional opportunities more accessible, but they honor the legacies of Rosie Felton (former Executive Director of the Indianapolis Bar Association); Judge Noland, Judge Steckler, and Judge Dillin; and Neil Shook.
Many IBF supporters and IndyBar members also took advantage of numerous service projects coordinated and/or supported by the Foundation. For example, IBF Distinguished Fellows participated in service projects with Gleaner’s Food Bank, and many supporters participated in CLE and pro bono programs with the 2014 Impact Fund recipient, the Joseph Maley Foundation. Numerous members represented the legal community at nearly 26 naturalization ceremonies, and the IBF made major contributions to the IndyBar Diversity Job Fair and Bench Bar Conference.
In summary, the IBF continues to make a meaningful and lasting impact on the Indianapolis community by providing access to lawyers by those who are the most vulnerable, supporting non-profit organizations whose own efforts increase awareness and access to the legal profession, and enhancing the educational and professional opportunities of law students and practitioners alike. These initiatives would not be possible without the continued, generous support of IBF donors. Thus, the IBF is looking forward to building on its success in 2015 to continue its good works in 2016 and beyond.