May 16, 2007
Law Foundation Announces Grant Awards
On April 29, the Virginia Law Foundation Board of Directors approved 36 grant awards totaling $425,000 for law-related projects benefiting the people of Virginia. Now in its twenty-second year of grant making, the Foundation has provided over $22.4 million dollars to programs that provide civil legal assistance to low-income Virginians, law-related education to the public, public service internships for Virginia Law students, and projects designed to improve the administration of justice.
The VLF awarded $140,900 to fourteen pro-bono/legal services projects; seven law related education projects received $31,160; thirteen administration of justice programs received $177,940 and $75,000 was awarded to support public service internships. VLF funds are provided in support of these projects for a one-year period beginning July 1, 2007.
The Virginia Law Foundation was established in 1974 by the Virginia State Bar. The Foundation board allocates 5% of its assets annually for grants and operations. During the current grant cycle, the VLF received seventy-six requests for funding totaling $1.11 million.
Grants awarded are:
Court Advocacy ($10,000) – The Help and Emergency Response Shelter will provide an advocate for women facing domestic violence issues while they navigate their way through the legal system. The goal of this project is to increase the knowledge of available options and resources to victims of domestic violence.
Oliver White Hill Foundation Internship Program ($3,000) – Funds will support an intern who will work with the Employment Discrimination Project of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law during the summer of 2007.
Public Service Internship Program ($72,000) - Grant Funds will provide a minimum of three public-interest internships at the following law schools: George Mason University School of Law; Regent University School of Law; University of Richmond, T.C. Williams School of Law; University of Virginia School of Law; William & Mary School of Law; Washington & Lee University School of Law; Appalachian School of Law; and Liberty University School of Law. Internships will be awarded to selected students who will have completed one or two years of law school by the summer of 2007 and want to work with a public interest legal employer in Virginia.
Basic Virginia Law For Non Lawyer: Legal Survival in the Commonwealth of Virginia ($10,000) – The Center for Legal and Court Technology at the College of William and Mary School of Law will print 3,000 copies of a public service guide to basic legal issues that affect everyday life in the Commonwealth as a resource is to promote increased awareness of each citizen's rights and responsibilities and encourage increased civic participation.
Senior Citizens Law Day ($10,000) – The Senior Lawyers Conference of the Virginia State Bar will hold a Senior Citizens Law Day at each of the local bar associations that will be hosted by lawyers who will discuss a range of legal topics that impact the elderly. Grant funds will be used for printing costs for the Senior Citizens Handbook.
Clinic for Legal Assistance to Service Members ($5,000) – This clinic run by the George Mason School of Law helps active-duty military service members manage personal legal problems by providing free legal assistance to individuals who cannot afford to hire private counsel.
Local Government Attorneys Pro Bono Guide ($1,200) – The Local Government Attorneys Association’s Pro Bono Committee will publish a guide for local government attorneys that will address various pro bono opportunities and provide solutions for obstacles to local government participation in pro bono legal services.
Community Training to Protect Victims of Domestic Violence ($6,000) - In the fall of 2007, the Southwest Virginia Legal Aid Society will hold two training conferences for volunteers who serve victims of domestic violence.
ARISE: Life Skills ($5,000) - Gemeinschaft Home residents will be trained as instructors for this program which works to empower at-risk youth. The program helps youth gain the necessary skills to become productive citizens. Gemeinschaft residents teach through their own experiences, encouraging youth away from the life of offenders.
Mentoring Live: Successful Reentry through Relationships ($12,000) - This program of Boaz and Ruth matches ex-offenders with mentors as part of a program that trains released prisoners in emotional and relational competencies, life attitude and work skills they need to re-enter society as healthy productive citizens.
Pro Bono Program ($12,500) - The Fairfax Law Foundation will use funds to support the Family Legal Assistance Program (FLAP) and other aspects of their program, such as CLE programs provided to attorneys who agree to serve in a pro bono capacity.
Re-Entry and Transitional Services for Offenders ($3,500) – Offender Aid and Restoration/Jefferson Area Community Corrections will work with offenders both prior to and after release from prison in order to assist with successful re-entry into the community by focusing specifically on "Workplace Essentials" classes in order to help prepare these individuals for job placement.
Central Virginia Restorative Justice ($10,000) – This program of Offender Aid and Restoration/Jefferson Area Community Corrections will work with adult and juvenile offenders to achieve offender accountability, victim and community restoration and healing, and the rebuilding of relationships in the community by confronting offenders with the ramifications of their behavior upon victims and the community.
Mediation Program Enhancement ($7,500) – The Piedmont Dispute Resolution Center will use funds to train and mentor new mediators; train restorative justice mediators; coordinate an educational program regarding mediation and restorative justice for attorneys and the community; and develop and conduct a CLE.
Virginia Institutionalized Persons’ Project of the Legal Aid Justice Center ($15,000) – This project will examine issues pervasive in the institutions in which persons are incarcerated, by focusing on issues such as timely access to medical, dental, and mental healthcare for inmates, use of isolation and other restrictive confinement and protection for attacks by inmates.
Immigration Counseling Services ($25,000) - Refugee and Immigration Services will provide immigration counseling to low income individuals.
Legal Assistance to Women and Girls Fleeing Violence ($7,500) – The Tahirih Justice Center, located in northern Virginia, provides legal services, holistic social and medical referrals, and public policy advocacy to immigrant women and girls fleeing abuse.
Domestic Violence Pro Bono Program ($10,000) – Legal Services of Northern Virginia will conduct one pro bono training in the Fall of 2007 with the goal of recruiting 60 pro bono attorneys to represent victims of domestic violence.
Virginia Capital Case Database ($25,000) – The Virginia Capital Representation Resource Center will use grant funds to create a comprehensive database related to all past and present capital cases in Virginia.
Community Legal Practice Center at Washington & Lee University ($5,000) – Grant funds will support law student interns for the Center, a law clinic that provides legal services to underserved and underprivileged populations in the Rockbridge County area with a particular focus on elderly victims of domestic violence.
Hiring of Professional Investigators ($11,200) – The Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project will hire a professional investigator to look into the validity of wrongful imprisonment cases.
A New Direction: Prostitution Rehabilitation Program of OAR of Richmond ($5,000) - This group will work as part of a coordinated, multi-agency effort to combat the problems associated with prostitution.
Immigration Services Program of the International Rescue Committee ($10,000) - This program provides both refugee and non-refugee immigrants with low-cost professional assistance in navigating through immigration matters such as visa petitions, naturalization applications and permanent residence.
Re-Entry Program of New Visions, Inc. ($12,000) – The program works to address the full range of challenges confronting women as they reenter community and family life after periods of incarceration such as homelessness, unemployment, poverty, violence and addiction.
Capital Defense Workshop ($19,000) - This program of the Virginia Bar Association Foundation covers training requirements (forensics and litigation) for attorneys appointed to represent defendants charged with capital murder cases.
Annual Statewide Legal Aid Conference 2007 ($20,000) -The Virginia Poverty Law Center will hold a three-day conference in the fall of 2007.
Juvenile Rights Handbook ($3,500) – The Young Lawyers Conference of the Virginia State Bar will print a handbook that addresses the rights and responsibilities of individuals under eighteen years of age in Virginia.
Children and Divorce Spanish Pamphlet ($660) – The Family Law Section of the Virginia State Bar will use grant funds to translate into Spanish a pamphlet that provides detailed guidelines concerning how parents should treat their children during a divorce process.
Law Related Education Project of the Page County Bar ($2,000) - Attorney-presenters will deliver classroom lectures and presentations to public school students of Page County in grades K-12 and at the Vocational Technical Center.
Child Advocacy Center (CAC) of Greater Richmond SCAN ($5,000) – Funds will help SCAN improve its services to referred children who are the victims of severe physical and sexual abuse.
Horticulture Training and Job Placement Program ($10,000) - This program of Offender Aid and Restoration of Arlington County works with ex-offenders to help them develop occupational skills in floral arrangement, to help them become productive members of society.
Kids Court ($4,000) – Childhelp Children’s Center of Virginia will work with children who have suffered abuse, to help them understand court proceedings and the judicial process.
Pro Bono Outreach and Recruitment Project of Blue Ridge Legal Services ($10,000) – Funding will be used to hire a Pro Bono Development Director to conduct a year-long series of pro bono outreach drives, enhancing the work of their pro bono program.
Asian American Equal Access Project ($7,500) - This project of the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center will help Asian Americans better communicate with their attorneys through the use of a trained legal interpreter.
Law Library Improvement Project of the Russell County Bar Association ($1,000) – This project will focus on increasing public access to legal documents over the internet.
Statewide CASA Program Assistance ($48,940) – For a project to be developed that will assist in statewide CASA volunteer recruitment and/r training.
VIRGINIA LAW FOUNDATION May 16, 2007
Contact: Sharon Tatum, Executive Director 804/648-0112 (Richmond, VA)