Chinn: Special Relationships

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iba-chinn-scottA 2010 film called “The Special Relationship” depicts British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s important relationship with President Bill Clinton. The film traces the interactions between the leaders in the 1990s both in the contexts of the prosperity and the political tumult of those times. Originally, the movie’s screenplay was to deal with Blair’s relationship with both President Clinton and President George W. Bush. In the end, the director found the Blair-Clinton relationship too interesting not to receive the exclusive focus of the film and left the Bush story on the cutting room floor.

A special relationship exists between the Indianapolis Bar Foundation and the Indianapolis Bar Association. It is easy to think of the IBF as the “fund raising arm” of the IndyBar. And that isn’t wrong. Many metropolitan bar associations around the county have the support of separate bar foundations dedicated to raising money for bar programs. Indeed, so integrated are the layers of bar association management, operations and financing that the semi-annual and annual meetings of the National Association of Bar Executives, National Conference of Bar Presidents, and National Association of Bar Foundations are held jointly.

For the IBF’s part, its board – which is separate from the IndyBar’s board – establishes fundraising goals to maintain and grow a corpus of funds, the investment earnings from which are used to support the IndyBar. As just one example of the IBF’s efforts, on September 28, it held its annual “Evening Under the Stars” event which nets funds for the foundation from dinner tickets, sponsorships and proceeds from live and silent auctions. The event, held at the stately Scottish Rite Cathedral this year, was again a success to the credit of IBF President Kelly Scanlan, the event chair Erin Clancy and the many other volunteers and staff who helped put the dinner together.

But in focusing only on the IBF’s structural and financial relationship with the IndyBar, something important is missed that shouldn’t be left “on the cutting room floor,” if you will. And that is the impact of the IBF’s fundraising on real people in our community. Here are a couple of examples of how the IBF funding to the McKinney School’s Health and Human Rights Clinic – through your contributions – makes a difference in our community.

“A single mother on the near west side of Indianapolis was struggling with many repairs that needed to be made to her rental unit. She made repeated requests of her landlord, who refused to make repairs. She sought help from the Health Department, and in retaliation, her landlord began eviction proceedings. An attorney who received pro bono training from the Health and Human Rights Clinic now represents the mother and is working to keep her in her home and to obtain necessary repairs for the health and safety of the mother and her children.”

“A disabled and illiterate Indianapolis resident encountered difficulty making his mortgage payments, and found himself in danger of becoming homeless when the lender initiated foreclosure proceedings. An attorney who received pro bono training from the Health and Human Rights Clinic got involved, and secured a mortgage modification for the gentleman, who can now remain in his home.”

These are just two concrete examples of the good things accomplished through the work of the IBF. And they happen because lawyers generously make donations to the IBF. At the September 28 “Evening Under the Stars” dinner, I bid on several items but was unsuccessful (I even bid up Kelly Scanlan on an item during the live auction! Sorry Kelly). So, I will be making an additional contribution this month given that I had budgeted to spend on the auction.

I hope you too will consider making a contribution (or an additional one for those who’ve already given) to the IBF before year end. I am confident it will foster the continuation of the special relationships the IBF has with the IndyBar – and most importantly, with the Indianapolis community.

Want to support the IBF? Online donations can be made at•


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  1. Especially I would like to see all the republican voting patriotic good ole boys to stop and understand that the wars they have been volunteering for all along (especially the past decade at least) have not been for God & Jesus etc no far from it unless you think George Washington's face on the US dollar is god (and we know many do). When I saw the movie about Chris Kyle, I thought wow how many Hoosiers are just like this guy, out there taking orders to do the nasty on the designated bad guys, sometimes bleeding and dying, sometimes just serving and coming home to defend a system that really just views them as reliable cannon fodder. Maybe if the Christians of the red states would stop volunteering for the imperial legions and begin collecting welfare instead of working their butts off, there would be a change in attitude from the haughty professorial overlords that tell us when democracy is allowed and when it isn't. To come home from guarding the borders of the sandbox just to hear if they want the government to protect this country's borders then they are racists and bigots. Well maybe the professorial overlords should gird their own loins for war and fight their own battles in the sandbox. We can see what kind of system this really is from lawsuits like this and we can understand who it really serves. NOT US.... I mean what are all you Hoosiers waving the flag for, the right of the president to start wars of aggression to benefit the Saudis, the right of gay marriage, the right for illegal immigrants to invade our country, and the right of the ACLU to sue over displays of Baby Jesus? The right of the 1 percenters to get richer, the right of zombie banks to use taxpayer money to stay out of bankruptcy? The right of Congress to start a pissing match that could end in WWIII in Ukraine? None of that crud benefits us. We should be like the Amish. You don't have to go far from this farcical lawsuit to find the wise ones, they're in the buggies in the streets not far away....

  2. Moreover, we all know that the well heeled ACLU has a litigation strategy of outspending their adversaries. And, with the help of the legal system well trained in secularism, on top of the genuinely and admittedly secular 1st amendment, they have the strategic high ground. Maybe Christians should begin like the Amish to withdraw their services from the state and the public and become themselves a "people who shall dwell alone" and foster their own kind and let the other individuals and money interests fight it out endlessly in court. I mean, if "the people" don't see how little the state serves their interests, putting Mammon first at nearly every turn, then maybe it is time they wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe all the displays of religiosity by American poohbahs on down the decades have been a mask of piety that concealed their own materialistic inclinations. I know a lot of patriotic Christians don't like that notion but I entertain it more and more all the time.

  3. If I were a judge (and I am not just a humble citizen) I would be inclined to make a finding that there was no real controversy and dismiss them. Do we allow a lawsuit every time someone's feelings are hurt now? It's preposterous. The 1st amendment has become a sword in the hands of those who actually want to suppress religious liberty according to their own backers' conception of how it will serve their own private interests. The state has a duty of impartiality to all citizens to spend its judicial resources wisely and flush these idiotic suits over Nativity Scenes down the toilet where they belong... however as Christians we should welcome them as they are the very sort of persecution that separates the sheep from the wolves.

  4. What about the single mothers trying to protect their children from mentally abusive grandparents who hide who they truly are behind mounds and years of medication and have mentally abused their own children to the point of one being in jail and the other was on drugs. What about trying to keep those children from being subjected to the same abuse they were as a child? I can understand in the instance about the parent losing their right and the grandparent having raised the child previously! But not all circumstances grant this being OKAY! some of us parents are trying to protect our children and yes it is our God given right to make those decisions for our children as adults!! This is not just black and white and I will fight every ounce of this to get denied

  5. Mr Smith the theory of Christian persecution in Indiana has been run by the Indiana Supreme Court and soundly rejected there is no such thing according to those who rule over us. it is a thought crime to think otherwise.