|The Colorado Lawyer|
Vol. 32, No. 11 [Page 37]
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Legal Aid Foundation 2002-2003 Annual Report
Dear Friends of Legal Aid:
The past year has presented enormous challenges for the provision of legal representation to poor people in Colorado. Decreases in funding from multiple sources have resulted in involuntary closure of the Colorado Legal Services office in Ft. Morgan and layoffs of staff in other locations. Severe declines in the rates of interest paid on lawyer trust accounts by financial institutions have negatively impacted the amount of funding available for legal services programs from COLTAF, the Colorado Lawyer Trust Account Foundation. The impact of the rough economy on charitable giving has also caused lesser grant funding from United Way and other sources of legal services funds.
One bright spot in this harsh picture has been the response of the Colorado legal community to the appeal for assistance. In every corner of our state, lawyers and law firms have stepped up to do their part and more, to assure that poor people have access to justice in the tough times when they most need it. The Legal Aid Foundation of Colorado asked law firms to increase their commitment to $300 per lawyer, up from $250 in previous years, and the firms overwhelmingly came through, even though the firms themselves are experiencing their own problems. Lawyer and law firm contributions to the Legal Aid Foundation totalled over $800,000 in the fiscal year 2003, up 17 percent from the prior year. For the first time ever, the Legal Aid Foundation raised over a million dollars to allow poor people to get the legal help they require. Colorado lawyers and firms should be proud of their nationally recognized legal services program, and proud of the part they play to support it.
On behalf of Colorado’s legal services providers and the Board of Trustees of the Legal Aid Foundation, I thank you for your resolute and unwavering support.
— Anne J. Castle
Board of Trustees
From the Executive Director . . .
The Foundation’s fiscal year ended on June 30th with new fundraising records set in ALL of our regional campaigns, and a tremendous outpouring of support from individual contributors. In addition, the Foundation benefited from two gifts that had a significant impact on our funding of legal services.
A $10,000 gift from the Holme Roberts & Owen holiday gift fund in addition to their Target Level firm gift and, a gift of $137,000 from a group of firms and attorneys who won a case and then donated a portion of the attorney fees. The generosity and diligent efforts of this group is truly remarkable.
For the first time in the Legal Aid Foundation’s 22-year history, our total contributions for the year exceeded $1 million!
With the benefit of talented leadership from Trustees in Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver, and Fort Collins, the records set by the law firm campaigns in all of these communities will be difficult to exceed in the future. This was done at a time when economic uncertainties have caused significant financial challenges for many foundations. It is a real testament to the dedication and commitment of our Trustees and the many volunteers who have worked so hard to reach this milestone.
This effort is of great benefit to Colorado Legal Services. It comes at a time when other sources of funding available to CLS in its efforts to provide legal assistance and counsel to low-income Colorado residents are diminished. These economic challenges will continue for the foreseeable future.
Looking ahead, the Board is positioning the Foundation for the future by encouraging membership in the Justice Society, the Foundation’s planned giving program.
My thanks to Anne Castle for her years of service to the Foundation, most recently as the Chair. Her leadership and encouragement in these difficult times has been a big reason for the Foundation’s success. Fortunately, we have a very talented group of Trustees on board, ready to face the future with confidence.
Thanks also to the dedicated and talented staff with which I am privileged to work. Maryan, our Associate Director, Vicki, our Administrator, and Debbie, our Administrative Assistant played important roles in contributing to the Foundation’s success. The staff, Trustees, and supporters have made my first year here enjoyable and rewarding.
— James M. Rooney
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