College Columns May 2022 - Page 7

From the Pro Bono Committee

Norman L . Pernick , Cole Schotz , P . C . Chair , Pro Bono Committee
There is only one way to begin my first College Columns article as the new Chair of the Pro Bono Committee ( the “ PBC ”), and that is to express my sincerest and deepest appreciation to Judge Janet Bostwick for her amazing leadership and results over the past four years as Chair of the PBC . I also had the honor of serving as Judge Bostwick ’ s Vice Chair during that period , which provided me with the opportunity to get a real behind-the-scenes look at how much time Judge Bostwick spent making sure the PBC discharged its responsibilities in an incredibly effective and efficient manner . Over her term , Judge Bostwick built on the wonderful efforts of the prior Chair , Jim Baillie . Under both of their tenures , the number and amount of grants grew dramatically , in no small part due to their efforts as well as of those PBC members who served , and our wonderful staff support . Judge Bostwick successfully restructured the PBC to effectively meet that increased workload . It is an honor to be asked to expand on the tremendous work that has been done to date , which will include implementing the College ’ s diversity , equity and inclusion goals .¬
Because of the generosity of the Fellows , in 2021 the College and Foundation awarded $ 456,200 to 46 organizations , funding programs in 25 states plus the District of Columbia . With grant applications for 2022
funding due by June 1 , the PBC will begin its work to review and recommend pro bono grants to be funded this year . Our grantees come from across the country , in every circuit , in cities large and small , as well as in rural areas . We fund programs designed to maximize the reach of our grantees by increasing volunteers and expanding and leveraging resources . Applications include requests to fund ( 1 ) pro bono clinics and volunteer attorney trainings to recruit additional volunteers , or expand the reach of volunteer attorneys , ( 2 ) self help desks and pro se clinics to assist those individuals who must navigate the process on their own , ( 3 ) development of training or informational videos to reach pro bono attorneys or potential clients , ( 4 ) software and hardware upgrades to enable remote connections to clients , and ( 5 ) community education and outreach , to provide individuals with needed information on debt and bankruptcy relief .
Support for access to justice is an important part of the mission of the Foundation and the College . On behalf of the PBC and our grantees , I thank the College , the Foundation and the Fellows , whose support and generosity make the grants possible . You have made the College and the Foundation , through the PBC , the largest private funder of pro bono programs in the country , and you have enabled us to provide a lifeline of assistance to the most vulnerable populations our grantees serve .
I would like to continue the tradition of sharing with you a few stories of clients you helped last year ( client names have been
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