I recently received an email from Julie Armstrong, the Indianapolis Bar Association and Foundation Executive Director, containing notes taken at the very first meeting of the Indianapolis Bar Foundation (IBF) over 40 years ago. The note reported the activities of the IBF from Dec. 29, 1969 through Dec. 31, 1970. It was enlightening to see how far our legal community has brought the IBF in the last 45 years.
Here are some metrics to put this in perspective: At the end of its first full year of operations, the IBF had 125 contributors (10 percent of the IndyBar membership), raised approximately $4,550 in contributions from its members and received two grants from the Lilly Endowment that totaled $5,000. Among its membership, the IBF had 25 Lifetime Fellows (pledging to contribute $50 for 10 years), 35 Sustaining Fellows (pledging to contribute $50 per year) and 65 Annual Members (pledging to contribute $50 per year).
With those contributions, the IBF granted $2,000 to the Indiana University Indianapolis Law School (now McKinney School of Law) on an unrestricted basis, $2,675 to the University of Chicago’s Law in American Society Foundation Seminar and $1,500 to the Indiana Criminal Justice Planning Commission in support of a bail research project.
By comparison, here are the current projected goals for IBF’s 2014 annual activity: There will be 1,300 contributors (27 percent of the IndyBar membership) and will raise approximately $250,000. The IBF can include among its contributors 17 Distinguished Senior Fellows (pledging to contribute $1,500 over three years) and 34 Distinguished Fellows (pledging to contribute $1,500 over five years).
With your contributions, the IBF has awarded the $35,000 Impact Fund Grant to the Joseph Maley Foundation to fund a new parent education and pro bono legal assistance program for central Indiana students in need of individualized education plans. Additionally, the IBF will grant the IndyBar approximately $105,000 to fund a variety of the IndyBar programs and initiatives, including but not limited to: Ask a Lawyer, Bankruptcy Help Line, Bench Bar Conference, Diversity Job Fair, Homeless Project, Hospice Program, Legal Line, Low Asset Wills, Marion County Superior Court Pro Bono Program, IndyBar Staff for Pro Bono Program Support, technology for online education, Web-based access to Bar Review and academic scholarships for law students, IndyBar Review, Applied Professionalism and Bench Bar.
During its 45-year existence, IBF donors have also taken on special projects that have had a meaningful impact on our community and the practice of law in Indianapolis, including funding the metal detectors for the City-County Building and the original children’s waiting room for the Marion Superior Courts.
Most recently, the 2013 Impact Fund Grant recipient, Indiana Legal Services Inc.’s Military Assistance Project (MAP), sponsored a free CLE that trained attorneys on MAP. In return, attendees agreed to staff a shift at IndyBar’s Oct. 14 Ask a Lawyer program at the Roudebush VA Medical Center and provide pro bono legal services addressing common legal issues encountered by Hoosier veterans. Having the opportunity to fulfill your pro bono duties through a program made possible by the IBF’s Impact Fund Grant is something in which all members of the IndyBar should take great pride.
The contributors to the IBF, comprised mostly of members of the Indianapolis Bar Association, make each of these initiatives possible. None of this could happen without their generosity and continued support. Every IndyBar member can make a tangible impact by donating to the IBF. Please commit to being a part of our Impact of One campaign, and donate your one billable hour at www.indybar.org/donate.•The Indianapolis Bar Assocation President Jeffrey A. Abrams, Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff LLP, is out taking a much needed vacation.