IndyBar: The IBF is in full swing for spring

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duncan Duncan

We have all finally made it through the winter that just never seemed to quit and I hope everyone is enjoying the long awaited return of warmer weather. We are now just over a quarter of the way through 2014 and I am happy to report that, like the welcome spring weather, your Indianapolis Bar Foundation is having meaningful impact throughout central Indiana. Thank you everyone for your generous contributions and continued support of the Foundation and the Indianapolis legal community.

The IBF recently awarded three academic scholarships to assist students during their law school career. The following students received academic scholarships in 2014: Rosalie F. Felton Scholarship awarded to Jason Sprinkle, student at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law; Hon. S. Hugh Dillin Scholarship awarded to Marcus McGhee, student at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law; and Neil E. Shook Scholarship awarded to Daniel Spungen, student at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. In addition to these academic scholarships, four individuals received educational scholarships for the IndyBar’s summer 2014 Indy Bar Review course. This course, the only bar review course offered by a bar association in the country, will prepare these individuals to sit for the Indiana Bar Exam in July 2014. Individuals receiving educational scholarships in 2014 include: Graham Youngs; Whitney Coffin; and Vanessa Woolsey.

Under the direction of the Impact Fund Committee, chaired by Melanie Reichert, finalists for this year’s Impact Fund Grant have been announced. The final recipient will receive a grant of up to $35,000 to fund its project. Through its grant award, the IBF wishes to support a project presented by an organization that seeks to affect a substantial positive impact in central Indiana.

The finalists for this year’s Impact Fund are as follows:

1. Peace Learning Center - Creating a Case for Peace is an innovative project designed to teach the 622 elementary students, more than 50 staff members, and parents/guardians of students at Indianapolis Public Schools’ (IPS) Thomas D. Gregg School #15 (first in poverty within the school district and situated within the second-highest crime rate in the city) about the tremendous responsibility lawyers and our legal system have to uphold justice while also creating a culture of peace by establishing a new peer mediation program at the school. The project will begin with teacher training in the summer of 2014; 20 peer mediators/student leaders will be trained at the start of the 2014-2015 school year; PLC facilitators will work in the school two days per week throughout the year to support the peer facilitators, hold office hours, communicate program related messages and teach peace education lessons in all classrooms; the student leaders will meet during lunchtime to plan school-wide activities involving lawyers to achieve project goals, parent nights with lawyers, and discuss the peer mediation initiative; and three parent nights will be held throughout the school year to build relationships between lawyers and the school community. The program is designed to be nearly self-sustaining because the students and staff will be trained to continue the peer mediation program after the first year of training, and the community coordinator at IPS #15 will be able to assume the duty of coordinating volunteer opportunities for the Indianapolis legal community after initial relationships have been established and training has been provided by PLC’s volunteer coordinator.

2. The Joseph Maley Foundation (“JMF”) plans to start its Parent Education and Pro Bono Legal Assistance Program for Central Indiana Students with Individualized Education Programs in the summer of 2014. Pertinent to the educational calendar year, the JMF will roll out this program to the public in August/September 2014 and proceed to work with families in August/September and January/February of each school year to coincide with semester cycles, with ongoing counseling and advocacy year-round. Funding would provide staff for community and family outreach, paralegal assistance on intake of matters needing legal advocacy, and educational programs through central Indiana. IndyBar members would be recruited to serve as volunteer speakers, volunteer writers of educational materials, and as pro bono advocates for students as necessary and appropriate in their IEP planning and implementation. There is a tremendous unmet need for these services. The JMF has a proven track record of success in programming and delivery of services, and a growing and strong donor base to sustain this program beyond the significant assistance that the Impact Grant would provide.

Videos of each finalist’s presentation to the Impact Committee have been emailed to the IBF’s Distinguished Fellows and Senior Fellows, and I ask all recipients of the survey to take a few minutes to watch these presentations and mark your ballot for which program you would like to receive the Impact Fund Grant. The award of the 2014 Impact Fund Grant will be announced at a meeting of IndyBar members to be held May 28, 2014, at 9 a.m. at the Skyline Club. Please plan on attending this meeting of members by registering at

Last year’s Impact Fund was awarded to Indiana Legal Services, Inc. (“ILS”) to fund the expansion of ILS’s Military Assistance Project (“MAP”). Through this award, the ILS has developed a Military Cultural Competency Manual being utilized as a resource by pro bono attorneys in implementing workshops, clinics and training sessions and/or offering direct legal services addressing common legal issues encountered by Hoosier veterans on a regular basis. Look for more updates on the successes of MAP to come.

Congratulations to all scholarship recipients and best of luck to our Impact Fund finalists. Finally, thank you to all of our donors! Without your generous contributions and support, none of this could be possible. Your gifts enable this Foundation to continue have meaningful impact, not only to the Indianapolis legal community, but to the Indianapolis community at large.

If you haven’t already, please donate to the IBF’s Impact of One Campaign. No gift is too small, but imagine the collective impact we can have if all of us donate the equivalent of one billable hour. I ask you to be part of the “Impact of One” and donate to the IBF of this year.•


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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.