York Bar Commits $255,056 for Access To Justice Programs
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Posted by: Kendall Menzer
2016 Impact Grants and Program-Support Funding for Legal Needs of Underserved
In 2016, the York County Bar Foundation (YCBF), the charitable arm of the York County Bar Association, committed $255,056 in funding for legal justice programs in York County.
The community impact grant recipients for the 2017 program year are the County of York, YWCA York, and the City of York.
The County of York, acting as the fiscal agent for the newly created York Regional Opiate Collective (YROC), received $10,000. The YROC, a partnership of community, medical and government agencies, is dedicated to reducing the abuse of heroin in York County. Under the leadership of Executive Director Dr. Matt Howie, the YROC is focused on educating citizens of the prevalence of the heroin problem, the signs and symptoms of addiction, and the resources available in addition to reducing drug-related deaths and crime in our communities through public education, advocacy, law enforcement, and legislation. In addition to the York County Bar Foundation, other funding partners include WellSpan Health, the Memorial Health Fund of the York County Community Foundation, and an anonymous donor.
The York County Bar Foundation granted $15,000 to YWCA York for the establishment of the new YWCA York Center for Justice and Advocacy to meet the legal needs of victims of domestic and sexual violence.
Funding in the amount of $15,000 was awarded to The City of York to launch the Gun Violence Intervention Initiative (Operation Ceasefire) focusing on reducing gun violence by individual offenders. The program brings parolees with histories of violence and/or gun offenses into a call-in, informs them of the legal risks of the federal felon-in-possession gun laws to which they are now subject, conveys clear antiviolence messages from community members and ex-offenders, and spells out social service opportunities. Careful evaluation has found substantial reductions in gun violence as a result.
MidPenn Legal Services received the lion’s share of the available program-support funding, with grants and alternative pro bono service funds in the amount of $90,125 to support pro bono services and to preserve the critically needed family-law attorney position in the York office.
Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center received $45,000 to retain staff and support its operations in providing free legal services to indigent, vulnerable immigrants in the York community. This includes direct representation in York County of immigrant victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
The County of York received $10,000 from the Henry Lenz Memorial Fund for the provision of support for juveniles in the court system and their families. Funds were used to offset the costs of travel, clothing, education, and enrichment activities.
United Way of York County, the fiscal agent for the York County Truancy Prevention Initiative (TPI), received $10,000 for TPI program staff and operations to continue their work with school districts, judges, agencies, service providers, business, families, and students to implement consistent responses and interventions on truancy in York County. The Bar Foundation helped found and remains a major funder of the TPI. Through this initiative, York County’s statewide truancy rank has significantly declined.
Leave A Legacy® York County, a program of the York County Bar Foundation, received $2,000 to promote charitable and legacy giving in York County. A partnership of civic-minded volunteers, professional advisors and nonprofit organizations, Leave A Legacy® York County brings awareness of charitable planned giving through bequests and other planned gifts. Leave A Legacy® assists York County nonprofits to develop their planned-gift capacity, encourages professional advisors to include charitable giving in estate planning and promotes planned giving directly to the public.
Funds in the amount of $57,931 supported efforts related to delivering Pro Bono and Legal Services to the York County community. With this funding, an expungement clinic was held serving 89 people, 120 pro bono cases referred to the York County Bar Association were successfully placed with its attorneys, and new program, York Lawyers for the Arts, was established to offer pro bono and reduced-fee legal services to the growing arts community.
The York County Bar Association and its charitable arm, the York County Bar Foundation (YCBA/YCBF), aspire to build the organizations’ capacity for leadership and service to improve the legal profession, the community they serve and the administration of justice in society. The York County Bar is the community’s largest private supporter of law-related programs in funding and service.
York County statistics show that there over 50,000 individuals who qualify for free civil legal services yet only one attorney for every 12,500 of those individuals. More than half are being turned away.
Today, with the help of community partners, the Bar is implementing plans to improve access to justice for the underserved by increasing pro bono volunteers and developing more efficient and effective service delivery methods. The Bar also sponsors community activities such as Mock Trial and an Essay Contest, as well as honoring a Liberty Bell Award recipient in conjunction with its Law Day Celebration. Its Legal Lines television show, and High School Law Mentoring and Wills for Heroes programs emphasize the Bar’s commitment to public education and community service.
The YCBA/YCBF has been recognized by the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network and Central Penn Business Journal for its efforts to address the crisis caused by rising poverty and reduced funding on the ability to meet the legal needs of the underserved. Known as a groundbreaker for its innovative law related programs, it is the only Bar Association in PA to receive the PA Bar Foundations’ prestigious Goffman award four times.