Bar Foundation Fund (BFF)

Frequently Asked Questions

 

The Mecklenburg Bar Foundation is a charitable organization (501c3) which has as its mission to advance public understanding and respect for the rule of law and the role of the legal profession; to promote the highest ideals of professionalism, public service and access to the legal system; and to support the goals of the Mecklenburg County Bar.

 

Q: What is the purpose of the Bar Foundation Fund?

 

A: The Bar Foundation Fund is the primary means of fundraising for the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation. The Fund is supported by the generosity of Mecklenburg County attorneys to help advance organizations and projects that have a legal nexus. Grants are awarded to projects that improve access to justice, education and legal development, and increase public awareness of jurisprudence.

 

Q: What is the 2016 Campaign Goal?

 

A: In 2012, the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation is committed to again raising $202,000 through the Bar Foundation Fund to support local organizations and programs that improve access to justice, education and legal development, and increase public awareness of jurisprudence.

 

Q: Why should I give to the Bar Foundation Fund?

 

A: The Bar Foundation Fund supports many different projects that have a direct impact on the Bar and the community at large. Every Foundation initiative has its own purpose and its own need for financial support. Unrestricted giving to the Lawyers' Impact Fund allows the Foundation to provide grants that support and enhance projects and organizations that have a legal nexus in the greater community. Many of the grants awarded by the Foundation serve organizations that are coping with rising demands for their services coupled with declining revenue sources. Our community's at-risk populations--children, residents of low-income, immigrants, the unemployed and displaced--will benefit greatly from the generosity of our legal profession.

 

The Law & Society Luncheon presents a speaker of interest to the public and those in the legal profession to advance public understanding and respect for the rule of law and the role of the legal profession in accordance with the Foundation's Mission Statement. The Luncheon also includes the presentation of the Ayscue Professionalism Award that recognizes a current or former MCB member for exemplary professionalism through outstanding service to the MCB and the community. The McMillan Fund provides summer internships for law students interested in public service. The Bar Leadership Institute cultivates future leaders with an emphasis on giving back to the Bar and the community through involvement with the Mecklenburg County Bar and Mecklenburg Bar Foundation leadership projects. 

 

Q: How does the Foundation utilize your gifts?

 

A: Thanks to the incredible generosity of attorneys, law firms, legal departments, and corporations in Mecklenburg County that supported the 2015 Lawyers' Impact Fund, the Foundation awards 13 grants totaling $108,542 in the first quarter of 2016 to the following projects/organizations:

 

Assistance League of Charlotte: To support its Mecklenburg County Teen Court program. The Teen Court program is an alternative justice system that offers youthful offenders ages 10-15 with no previous convictions an opportunity to avoid a permanent criminal record and take responsibility for their actions before a jury of their peers. The program helps alleviate the large number of cases processed by the Department of Juvenile Justice. Teen Court can currently hear 176 cases each year. In 2014-2015, Teen Court worked with 510 youth offenders.  Volunteer teens provided 4,350 hours of community service.

Council for Children’s Rights: To help support legal representation and advocacy through their legal advocacy programs.    

International House: To help fund the needs of the Ginter Immigration Law Clinic. The Ginter Law Clinic provides family reunification assistance to immigrants and refugees who recently arrived in the U.S. and have little to no income.

Larry King's Clubhouse: To provide program support including contracted services, business insurances, and professional or legal fees.

Latin American Coalition: To support its Immigration Law Clinic. The Law Clinic provides high quality legal services to low income immigrant families, increases community understanding of immigration and other laws impacting immigrants, and reduces the incidence of unauthorized practice of law in the immigrant community.

Legal Aid of North Carolina: To help fund a Housing Screener to screen the calls of tenant families seeking assistance when being threatened with eviction with the goal of preventing more homelessness in Mecklenburg County.

Legal Services of Southern Piedmont: To support the Access to Justice Pro Bono Program. The program provides high-quality direct legal services to help low income clients meet their most important needs for income, shelter, safety from violence, health care, education of children, fair treatment as consumers, and equitable access to public and private benefits.    

NC LEAF: To assist with recruitment and retention of public interest attorneys through loan repayment assistance for mortgage-size law school debt loads.    

Pat’s Place: To help fund a social worker on the Forensic Interview Team.    

Safe Alliance: To help fund the salary for a full time staff attorney working for their Legal Representation Project (LRP). The LRP provides free legal representation in hearings to obtain Domestic Violence Protective Orders as well as acting as a conduit to allow local attorneys to donate their time to victims.

MBF’s Professional Assistance Financial Fund: To support five public interest agencies in Mecklenburg County (District Attorney's Office, Public Defender's Office, Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, Legal Aid of North Carolina, and Council for Children's Rights) to help offset the financial hardship associated with rising professional development costs for qualifying attorneys.

MCB Diversity & Inclusion Committee: To support Diversity Day, the annual one-day conference engaging minority students in a discussion about the legal profession and law-related careers. Students hear about the role individuals with legal training play in everyday society, meet with attorneys, judges, law school admissions officers, and law students, and have an opportunity to share their views of the law and lawyers.

MCB & MBF Bar Leadership Institute Committee: To cultivate future leaders with an emphasis on giving back to the Bar and the community through involvement with the Mecklenburg County Bar and Mecklenburg Bar Foundation leadership projects.

 

Your gifts not only support the Foundation's ability to award grants to worthy organizations in need, they also support the various initiatives of the Foundation itself. The Bar History project supports the writing of a book that will preserve the history of the Mecklenburg County Bar and educate the public about the role of the legal profession in Mecklenburg County.

 

The McMillan Fellowships are funded solely by the generous giving of MCB members through attendance at the McMillan Dinner or by donation only. The Fellowships provide a stipend to law students interning in Mecklenburg County that are interested in a career in public service.

 

In 2016, the following Fellowships were awarded:

·         City Attorney's Office

·         Council for Children's Rights

·         International House

·         Legal Services of Southern Piedmont

·         Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office

·         U.S. Attorney's Office

 

Q: Is my gift tax deductible?

 

A: Your gift is tax deductible to the extent allowed by the law.

 

Q: When does the campaign end?

 

A: Because the Bar Foundation Fund campaign includes support for projects and programs that occur at various times, the campaign is continuous throughout the year. The campaign to support the Lawyers' Impact Fund (unrestricted grant-making funds) concludes December 31, 2016, but we will continue to accept gifts throughout the year.

 

Q: How can I make my pledge to the Bar Foundation Fund?

 

A: There are several ways you can pledge:

·         Respond YES when you get the call for donation! Be a Foundation Friend!

·      Fill out a pre-printed pledge envelope -- you have the option to include your payment or request to be billed at a later date. If payment is not included, the Foundation will send you a payment reminder.

·      Email or call the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation directly -- Sydney Hammond, Foundation Development Coordinator, will assist you and send you both a pledge confirmation and payment reminder. She can be reached at shammond@meckbar.org.

·     Pledge online

 

Q: What types of payment are accepted by the Foundation?

 

A: Several forms of payment are accepted:

  • Cash
  • Check (All checks must be made out to the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation)
  • Credit card -- to make payment by credit card, please visit here 
  • Stock -- to transfer a gift of stock, contact Sydney Hammond at shammond@meckbar.org  

 

Q: May I give my gift in honor or memory of someone?

 

A: Yes, please indicate what type of gift you would like to make. The individual or family will receive a special letter informing them of your generosity. The amount will not be listed. Your name and the name of the person being honored will be listed in various Mecklenburg County Bar and Mecklenburg Bar Foundation publications.

 

Q: Are there planned giving options?

 

A: Yes, the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation can provide information pertaining to planned giving options. Contact Sydney Hammond at shammond@meckbar.org.

 

Q: How will my gift be recognized?

 

A: Bar Foundation Fund donors will be recognized throughout the year:

  • The Mecklenburg Bar News
  • The Mecklenburg County Bar website, www.MeckBar.org
  • Listings on the event materials throughout the year, including:
    • Law & Society Luncheon
    • McMillan Dinner
    • BLI Kickoff Dinner
    • Annual Meeting
  • MCB/MBF Bar Leadership Dinner
  • Firms with 100% participation rates will receive additional Bar-wide recognition as a member of the BFF Honor Roll