For some time, the Foundation had explored the idea of making a larger “impact” grant. A significant cy pres award to the Foundation last spring has provided a source of funding for an Impact Grant.
Human trafficking is a public safety, public health, and human rights issue that occurs around the world and in communities throughout Minnesota. New laws focusing on providing justice for the victims of human trafficking have had, and will continue to have, an impact on Minnesota’s legal system. In response to this impact, the Foundation has released this Request for Proposals (RFP) to provide legal services to victims of human trafficking in Minnesota.
At the December 5, 2014 meeting, the Board gave the $25,000.00 grant to Battered Women's Legal Advocacy Project who will be using the funds to expand their immigration services to provide direct representation for trafficked to women in securing the appropriate visas needed to insure their safety and to increase their ability to provide legal consultation and training in all legal aspects of trafficking to all professionals serving trafficked women.
The Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) created the Minnesota State Bar Foundation in 1932 as its charitable arm. The Foundation mobilizes legal community philanthropy to achieve access to justice for all Minnesotans. The Foundation awards monetary grants to community and bar-related programs and activities.
From July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015, the Foundation awarded $119,000 in grants. This includes a $25,000 impact grant awarded to the Battered Women’s Legal Advocacy Program as seed money to support a permanent expansion of services to provide specialized expert support consultation and representation to victims of human trafficking. The impact grant was funded by an award of cy pres funds from a class action lawsuit in the Hennepin County District Court.
The requests for funding continue to exceed the funds the Foundation is able to award. The Foundation’s ability to fulfill its charitable purpose depends on the generosity of its donors. Through the MSBA’s annual dues renewal process, there is an optional $25 contribution to the Foundation members can make. The majority of the Foundation’s contributions come from this source. Funds were also received from local district bar associations. In addition, MSBA members are encouraged to make donations to commemorate the work, retirement, or memory of another lawyer.
The Foundation continues to strive to meet its mission of funding legal assistance to the disadvantaged, improvements in the administration or justice, and law-related education. Thank you to all of the donors who make this possible.