Dallas Bar Association

DBF Provides $2.48 Million in Grants

by Elizabeth Philipp

Since 1981, the Dallas Bar Foundation has provided $2.48 million in grant awards to organizations whose program goals are consistent with the Foundation’s mission. Continuing that tradition, the DBF is pleased to have awarded almost $90,000 in grants for the 12-- month period ending September 30, 2013. These grant awards are in addition to the other programs funded by the DBF including the Sarah T. Hughes Diversity Scholarships, the Collins Clerkships, the Justice James A. Baker Clerkship, the Donald C. McCleary - Gardere Leadership Scholarship and the Philbin Awards for excellence in legal reporting.

The 2013 Grants Committee is chaired by Rey Rodriguez, of Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, with Frank Stevenson,of Locke Lord LLP, serving as Vice Chair. They are joined on the committee by Nina Cortell, of Haynes and Boone, LLP, and Victor Corpuz, of Jackson Lewis LLP.

Each grant request is reviewed by the committee before being presented to the DBF Board of Trustees for final determination. Committee members review the requests to ensure the programs align with the DBF mission of supporting law related scholarships and education, charitable and legal aid for the indigent, law related forums for the furtherance of justice and historical preservation and observances. The organizations must provide financial statements, a program budget and a list of their board members which often include attorneys who are DBF Fellows. “It is always so inspirational to see the many attorneys actively serving on the boards of non-profit organizations and making a difference in the community,” Mr. Rodriguez, said at a recent meeting.

Throughout the year, selected grantee organizations are invited to attend a DBF Board meeting to report on the measurable difference the grant has brought to the beneficiaries of their programs. All grantees are asked to submit a written narrative on the results they have achieved from their initiatives described in the grant request. In a recent report, the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance, a pipeline for future attorney leaders, shared some wonderful quotes from DISD students thanking the DBF for its support.

“Thanks for literally one of the best, most moving, most intellectual teaching moments of my life. You made me think of debate in a way I can’t even begin to comprehend...for all that, thank you.” – Luis, junior at Sunset High School, now a second year debater.

“Honestly, you changed my life, for the better.”– Brenely, senior at Samuell High School, now a 3rd year debater.

“My favorite time is the time I was really happy for the first time in a while. Be back next year. I’ll be here.” - Tommy, sophomore at Garza Early College High School, now a second year debater.

A partial list of grantees approved this past year include:

▪ Conference on Crimes Against Women, the premier national conference organized by Genesis Women’s Shelter, for prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement personnel.

▪ CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) which provides abused and neglected children a caring volunteer to represent their best interests in court.

▪ Human Rights Initiative which provides legal services for children clients who have been victims of violence or are immediate relatives of crime victims.

▪ “Appealing to the Public,” a public service program of the DBA, Dallas ISD and the Fifth District Court of Appeals at Dallas for Dallas ISD students and the public to enhance their understanding of the Court system and appeals process. An actual appeal is heard by the Court at Belo with 400 students in attendance.

▪ DBA Diversity Summit which received the 2013 ABA Partnership Award. The summit explored diversity challenges and developed action items for increasing diversity in the Dallas area legal profession in four key areas.

▪ Dallas Minority Attorney Program Nuts and Bolts Family Law, which saw a record attendance at this year’s one day seminar designed to address the special needs of solo, small, minority and female attorney practices.

▪ Dallas Urban Debate Alliance which provides debate instruction, debate competition, and attorney mentors to DISD students who would not otherwise have had an opportunity to participate on a debate team.

▪ Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program CLE and recruitment program which enlists volunteer attorneys to accept pro-bono family law cases.

▪ IGNITE, an after-school civics program for high school girls, which encourages their understanding of the political process, and the importance of having women involved in leadership positions as elected officials.

▪ Mosaic Family Services which provides legal assistance to a diverse and underserved immigrant population.

▪ Texas High School Mock Trial program which is organized and supported by the DBA. Local attorneys and judges volunteer many hours each year to host and judge the state-wide high school competition. The winning school advances to the national competition.

 

Elizabeth Philip is Executive Director of the Dallas Bar Foundation and can be reached at ephilipp@dallasbar.org.

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