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Message from the President – Spring 2019

In April, I joined 11 colleagues as part of a delegation that traveled to Washington, D.C., for ABA Days to advocate for funding of Legal Services Corporation. LSC provides a substantial amount of funding to seven Florida legal aid organizations; without their funding, 44% fewer Floridians would get civil legal help. We met with several members of Congress from Florida to educate them on the importance of access to civil legal aid. Less than 1/10,000th of the federal budget is allocated for LSC, yet one-sixth of Americans are eligible for these services. It is our hope that LSC will remain in the federal budget. To view the impact of LSC funding on your congressional district, visit TheFloridaBarFoundation.org/materials-aba-days.

While in D.C., I also had the honor of moderating a panel discussion with distinguished legal aid experts at my alma mater, George Washington University. Legal Services Corporation President James J. Sandman, Voices for Civil Justice Executive Director Martha Bergmark, Director of the Michigan Legal Help Program Angela Tripp and Florida Justice Technology Center Executive Director Joyce Raby, along with Foundation Executive Director Donny MacKenzie, spoke about the lack of legal aid funding crisis, how innovation and technology can bridge the gap and how partnerships and collaboration can engage various communities in efforts to support legal aid. It was a well-attended event that we hope to continue hosting annually.

At the Foundation’s board meeting in March, we announced the formation of three new committees. The Building Committee will explore the possibility of purchasing an office for staff to reduce money spent on rent; the Spending and Reserve Policy Committee will explore and work toward developing and/or revising our policies to provide more stability and protection against market fluctuations to our overall reserves and ability to provide grants; and the Limited Matching Grants Committee will consider creating a limited source of funds that may be used to assist grantees as needed between grants cycles to leverage and obtain other funding sources that may require limited matching grants as a condition of consideration for such other funds.

The board also announced that we will recognize two lawyers with our 2019 Medal of Honor, the highest award we bestow. At our annual reception and dinner on June 27 at the Boca Raton Resort and Club, Michael A. Bedke and Richard C. Milstein will be recognized as this year’s co-recipients. Both are exceptional lawyers and amazing individuals who have made tremendous impacts over several decades. I look forward to seeing them honored along with the deserving recipients of this year’s Paul Doyle Children’s Advocacy Award, Jane Elizabeth Curran Distinguished Service Award and the President’s Award. Be sure to purchase your tickets early as we tend to sell out. Thank you to our generous event sponsors, listed on the next page. We are grateful for their and your continued support of the Foundation!

Florida Bar Foundation President Juliette E. Lippman began her term last July. A partner with Birnbaum, Lippman & Gregoire, PLLC, she is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator. She has received The Florida Bar Family Law Section Chair’s Special Award of Merit and the Broward County Bar Association’s Joseph J. Carter Professionalism Award. Lippman earned her bachelor’s degree at George Washington University and her law degree at Nova Southeastern University School of Law.

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