Currently Funded Programs & Guidelines
Supporters of The St. Louis Bar Foundation are aware that one of the Foundation’s most rewarding functions, as funds permit, is the awarding of grants for “innovative projects that address identifiable and unmet needs in the community.” The grant proposals from eligible non-profit organizations must, according to Foundation guidelines, address one or more of the following categories:
- The advancement of the philosophy of law.
- The promotion and/or improvement of the administration of justice.
- The promotion and/or maintenance of high standards for the judiciary and lawyers.
- The promotion of the public’s awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the rule of law, the practice of law, the court system, and individuals’ rights and responsibilities under the law.
As grant applications arrive each year, we are often taken with the breadth and depth of “unmet“ needs in the community that appropriately turn to the Bar Foundation for support.
In the recent past, fourteen non-profit organizations requested Grant Application forms, but only eight submitted requests for funding. After reviewing all of the applications, the Board of the Foundation was able to fund seven, at least in part. The description of some of those funded projects provides insight into the significant needs that the Foundation was able to address in this year’s requests and may give others an idea of the type of projects to which we are attracted.
- Delta Life Development Foundation and St. Louis Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. work jointly to promote a Law Day Program that will help students become familiar with civil and criminal court proceedings, their rights and lack thereof as minors under the law, and their later roles as potential jurors. Because of the Bar Foundation support, more middle and high schools students in the greater St. Louis metropolitan area will be able to participate in this program.
- Legal Advocates for Abused Women promotes increased access to services for battered women and children through early intervention, legal advocacy, and unduplicated partnerships with law enforcement, civil and criminal court systems and child protective services. Foundation funding will help fund immediate crisis support, safety planning, and free legal assistance—especially in the work of the Victim Assistants.
- St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts offers accounting and legal services to artists and arts administrators who are increasingly seeking such advice. The Foundation grant will help support expanding the organization’s website to include such areas as web law for arts organizations and links to legal resources.
- Voices for Children, working to improve the administration of justice for children, requested funds for an educational and volunteer recruitment video. The video will present the role of staff child advocacy attorneys and that of local community volunteers the organization trains. The volunteers will become court-appointed volunteer advocates who prepare foster children for court appearances.
- Great Rivers Environmental Law Center, a free public interest legal service for those seeking to protect the environment, requested a grant to support ongoing legal research and opinions on grounds for legal action and to assist citizens working through environmental legal issues.
- Employment Connections, in partnership with the U.S. District Court (Missouri Eastern) Probation and Parole Office, received a Foundation grant to support the attendance of formerly incarcerated people at a career fair to help them secure employment and become connected to services of which they are unaware.
- Missouri Bar Public Defender Task Force, to educate the public and the legislature on the nature and extent of work required to meet the constitutionally mandated prompt, speedy, and adequate defense of accused persons who meet the qualifications of the public defender system.
We know from our past experience that a significant positive benefit results for many in need through the grants the Foundation awards. As the charitable arm of the Bar Association, it is equally clear that several of these organizations did not receive funding to meet their entire needs, and some have needs in amounts far exceeding our ability to make a difference.
The Foundation endowment must grow through annual support if the Foundation is to have the outreach that its mission needs. Those who are privileged to serve on the Foundation board can attest to a breadth and depth of needs expressed in the proposals received, the gratitude expressed to the Foundation by those receiving grants (even if we were unable to fully fund their requests), and the persisting desire of the Foundation to play an increasingly significant role in more effectively serving the St. Louis metropolitan legal profession, the justice system, and the many “unmet” needs in our community. We, in turn, thank all of you for your financial support.