Bar News - October 15, 2014
NH Bar Foundation News: Foundation Board Approves Shift in Justice Grants Process
By: Dan Wise
The NH Bar Foundation Board of Directors voted at its Sept. 11 meeting to amend its process of awarding Justice Grants annually, to enable the grants program to improve its efficiency and impact.
Justice Grants are funded solely by interest on the Bar Foundation’s group of endowed funds and, in most years, have totaled less than $50,000. The board decided to award grants “not more than every two years,” and will not make grants in the coming fiscal year. The Bar Foundation made nine grants totaling $41,200 in fiscal year 2014, which ended May 31, 2014.
Board member Nina Gardner, part of a small group that examined the Justice Grants process, said that by allowing interest to accumulate and foregoing annual grants, the Bar Foundation will be able to make larger grants that have a greater impact. Skipping one or more years will also be more efficient, as organizations will not be required to apply each year, and the foundation volunteers making the grant recommendations will have more money to allocate to applying organizations.
The foundation board also was informed of a vacancy created on the IOLTA Grants Committee by the passing of attorney Ruth Ansell, who had only recently been reelected for a second five-year term. Foundation Chair Jack Middleton will recommend an interim appointment at the next foundation meeting.
Meanwhile, attorney Donald Hebert has been reappointed to serve a second five-year term on the IOLTA Grants Committee. Hebert, of Hebert & Dolder in Concord, has served on the five-member committee since 2009. His new term will expire in 2019.
The IOLTA Grants Committee reviews applications for funding decisions and makes recommendations to the NH Bar Foundation Board of Directors. Over the past 30 years, more than $31 million has been raised through the participating lawyers and banks of the NH Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Program. IOLTA funding is a critical source of funding for civil legal services for the poor in New Hampshire, and for programs promoting awareness of our legal system.