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2017 Legal Aid Community Summit
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About the 2017 Summit

The York County Bar Foundation hosted the second York County Legal Aid Community Summit on October 24, 2017, at Wyndham Garden, York. The bi-annual civil legal aid summit brought together over 115 attendees representing 70 different organizations; including human services agencies, social services, court personnel, elected officials and legislative staffers; to learn about the availability of critical legal services for York County residents.

The York County Bar Foundation, MidPenn Legal Services, ACCESS-York, Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center, the York County Court Self-Help & Law Resource Center, and PA 2-1-1, presented overviews of available legal services.  

After learning about the legal services available, the attendees engaged in a lengthy Question & Answer session.  Surveys were provided and the resulting feedback will be used to identify the barriers to legal services in the community and develop ideas and solutions to close the access to justice gap.   

To view the complete civil legal aid summit video, click here.


L to R:  Rhodia Thomas, Esq., Executive Director of MidPenn Legal Services; Caty Houtman, YCBA President;
Carolyn Steinhauser; David Trevaskis; and Ned Stankoski, YCBF Chair


Pro Bono Partner Award Presented

On behalf of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, David K. Trevaskis, Esq., Pro Bono Coordinator, presented Carolyn Eyster Steinhauser with the Pro Bono Partner Award.

The leadership of Carolyn Eyster Steinhauser, former Executive Director of the York County Community Foundation and active community volunteer and consultant, has been invaluable to the efforts of the York County Bar Association and Foundation to raise awareness of, and develop partnerships and funding to address, the civil legal aid crisis in York County.  For this reason, Carolyn is being recognized by the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) with the Pro Bono Partner Award.

As the first non-attorney Board member and Past President of the York County Bar Foundation (YCBF), Carolyn introduced an informed, focused and organized strategy to build the Bar Foundation’s capacity to deliver and support law-related programs throughout the community.  Under her leadership and efforts with YCBF’s grants program, important access to justice programs have been initiated or expanded including those provided by PA Immigration Resource Center (PIRC) and MidPenn Legal Services; free legal clinics, pro bono and modest means services; public education efforts by the YCBA; the York County Truancy Prevention Initiative, now a program of United Way of York County; Treatment Court programs to address causes of behavior, save taxpayer dollars, and reduce recidivism rates; the launch of the York County Court Self Help and Law Resource Center; and many more.  Many of these programs have become state models.  Carolyn was the “anonymous” donor of seed funding to establish two YCBF endowment funds—Legal Aid and Youth Initiatives – to support legal services to the poor and to build law-related programs for youth and families. To launch the Legal Aid endowment, Carolyn inspired a fellow non-attorney board member to issue a challenge of $25,000 if two attorneys would join him with matching gifts – a goal that was met in record time.  YCBA’s confidence in the Legal Aid endowment initiative was confirmed by a $2 for $1 match for gifts to the Shelter From The Storm campaign for legal aid programs which has raised nearly $2.5 million to date.  Carolyn is considered by many community leaders as the human start-up capital for countless projects over the years that have improved the quality of life in the York County community. Not one for the limelight or to take credit, she personally sees her role as a facilitator “connecting the dots” among the different organizations and individuals who can partner to make something happen. It’s in keeping with her philosophy of “strategic philanthropy”: identify a need – and opportunity, engage stakeholders to  develop a plan to address it, and leverage human and financial resources to make it happen. Carolyn is now engaged in helping the Bar identify strategies to connect legal aid clients to social services.



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