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 indybar.org/events.
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.•