Bar News - February 22, 2008
Bar Foundation News:
What Has Been Accomplished? Your Philanthropy at Work
By: Susan Noon
In order to ensure that the organizations and programs receiving Justice or IOLTA grants from the NH Bar Foundation are truly making a difference in New Hampshire, a structured application and reporting process is used. The grant proposals and the community impact reports filed by grantees both help to inform the Bar Foundation Board of Directors about current civil legal issues facing low-income and other disadvantaged residents.
A happy team of students from Milford High School won the 2008 "We the People" State Championship, organized by the NHBA Law Related Education Program, a NH Bar Foundation grant recipient.
At least two dozen organizations submit grant proposals every year. Each organization describes why its program is needed, how it tracks and calculates the need, its plan of action for addressing the need, the goals and priorities, the specific outcomes anticipated, the collaborating partners, and how it will measure and evaluate its effectiveness. By gathering all this information from those delivering services and interacting with the public, the board of directors is able to make informed funding decisions.
The NH Public Defender’s Office was assigned Pierce Law Center Public Interest Coalition Fellow, Melinda Siranian, who worked full-time for ten weeks at no charge to the Public Defender. “This internship was intensive and substantial: It helped me solidify my interest in criminal defense, particularly of the indigent, and provided me with invaluable hands-on experience,” said Melinda. Her fellowship was supported by a $3,500 grant. She has applied to work there upon graduation.
The NH Judicial Branch Virtual Self-Help Center was completed with the help of a $2,500 grant. It was recently noted as a prime example of Innovations and Models in Virtual Self-Help Centers “with few, if any, navigational difficulties” in Future Trends in State Courts 2007 published by the National Center for State Courts.
The Institute on Disability/UNH, New Hampshire Leadership Series provided training for individuals with disabilities and their families with the assistance of a $5,000 grant. Series graduates launched ABLE NH (a new advocacy organization), and were instrumental in the passage of a bill to reduce the “extended waiting time for services” for the developmentally disabled. The state legislature voted to support the IOD with a line item in the budget.
NH Legal Assistance gained $500,000+ in health-care coverage for the disabled and elderly; began the Youth Law Project to help at-risk children receive necessary medical and educational services; and secured more than $1 million in Social Security, SSI, APTD and other benefits for New Hampshire residents with the help of Bar Foundation grants during the past year.
Making Medical Decisions for Someone Else, a handbook to guide health care agents and guardians, was published with the assistance of a $1,000 grant and is available free online and at hospitals and health care providers statewide.
NH Bar Association Law-Related Education Program, supported primarily by the Bar Foundation, made it possible for 10,000 students to participate in experiential learning activities about the law and the courts.
Every single day, New Hampshire Bar Foundation grants are working to help communities care for those in need.