MBF Makes $82,000 Impact in 2019 and
Kicks Off 2019-20 Campaign!

Thank you! With your generous support, the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation (MBF) awarded 11 grants totaling $82,000 in 2019. This unrestricted fund allows the Foundation to support local legal nonprofits as well as the projects/initiatives of the Bar and Foundation.

Your generosity allowed the Foundation to award grants 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 12-17 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 2018-19, Teen Court worked with 264 youth offenders and volunteer teens provided 6,196 hours of community service.
  • Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition: To support its Immigration Impact Lab, to provide training & technical support within the Carolinas & litigate appeals & class action lawsuits aimed at improving the law for all noncitizens in the states within the Fourth Circuit. The Immigration Impact Lab utilizes novel, proactive litigation, potentially helping thousands of people.  The training and technical support is provided to private & non-profit immigration and criminal attorneys representing immigrant clients in the Carolinas.
  • Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy: To support CCLA’s Pro Bono Program to provide legal services, to engage, train, and support attorney’s in pro bono opportunities and to recognize their service. The program is dedicated to providing high-quality direct legal services to help low income clients meet their most important needs for income, shelter, and safety from violence, health care, education of children, fair treatment as consumers, and equitable access to public and private benefits.  These services are offered regardless of clients’ race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, or immigration status. 
  • Council for Children’s Rights: To support the Children's Defense Team, particularly as it relates to its expanded role due to the implementation of Raise the Age Legislation. CFCR is the court-appointed specialized juvenile public defender in Mecklenburg county. Through a contract with the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services, CFCR's attorneys represent all children charged with crimes in juvenile delinquency court. In addition to performing the public defender role in juvenile court, CFCR represents every child who is facing confinement in a mental health hospital or residential treatment facility in Mecklenburg County.
  • GenerationNation: To help support GenerationNation’s K-12 law-related civic education in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area. The civic education project increases access to a number of educational tools and hand-on learning opportunities to help increase understanding about the rule of law, the legal system, the legal profession and legal issues in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community.
  • InReach: To support the Crisis Intervention Training Initiative in the Charlotte Community which trains police officers on how to interact with persons with disabilities in crisis. The Crisis Intervention Training Initiative includes quarterly lunch-and-learn sessions where participants join officers for lunch, conversation, and a brief presentation by members of the police force who have been trained to be Crisis Intervention Specialists. The program serves to benefit over 1,000 participants & over 1,100 officers. 
  • International House: To expand the breadth of its start-up pro bono initiatives, enabling supervising attorneys to recruit and train pro bono attorneys, to evaluate cases for referral, and to mentor attorneys representing naturalization clients. The project benefits refugees, asylees and other underserved immigrants in Charlotte-Mecklenburg who qualify for naturalization. Expanding the project allows International House to nearly double the number of naturalization clients served. 
  • Justice Initiatives: To support the salary & costs of a Coordinator to expand the Court Calendar, & support of the Court Camp & Court College Programs. Justice Initiatives Court Camp & Court College provide opportunities for the public to be educated about the court system, provide greater access to the courts & foster continuing civic engagement in the community.
  • Larry King's Clubhouse: To provide professional support, including insurance costs and staff salaries. Larry King’s Clubhouse is a no-cost drop-in child care center located within Mecklenburg County Courthouse. The center provides a safe, secure and enriching place for children who must come to the courthouse as witnesses, as subjects of child neglect or abuse or custody proceedings or accompanying parents or guardians who must come to court as witnesses, jurors, or litigants. The center offers quality care and developmentally appropriate activities for children.
  • Pat’s Place Child Advocacy Center: To support a portion of the salary expense for a new forensic interviewer. Pat’s Place Child Advocacy Center coordinates the support and treatment of child survivors of the most serious cases of abuse in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. The forensics interview is the foundation of child protection and criminal investigations. In many child sexual abuse cases, there are no independent witnesses and little corroborating evidence. Pat’s Place serves Mecklenburg County children from birth through age 17.  Program services are provided at no cost to a child’s family, so Pat’s Place has no program revenue.  In 2017, Pat’s Place provided support and services to 674 children and anticipated performing over 700 forensic interviews in 2018-19.
  • Safe Alliance: To help fund the salary of the Director of the Legal Representation Project (LRP). The LRP provides free legal representation in hearings to obtain Domestic Violence Protective Orders and acts as a conduit to allow local attorneys to donate their time to victims who need legal services. The Director is one of three staff positions (one being part-time) at LRP and is vital to fulfilling the agency’s mission of representing domestic violence victims assist in the training and mentoring of more pro bono attorneys. Safe Alliance represented 425 clients including 70 being represented by volunteers in the 2018-2019 fiscal year.
  • MBF’s Professional Assistance Financial Fund: To support five public interest agencies in Mecklenburg County (District Attorney's Office, Public Defender's Office, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy, 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 the Increasing Diversity in the Legal Profession Conference, 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.
We are so grateful for the support of last year’s campaign, and we hope you will join us in growing our impact next year! In the words of Justice Initiatives, “There are very few foundations that appreciate and promote the importance of the rule of law and the role a healthy court system plays in safeguarding the foundation of our American system of government.” Our community’s at-risk populations – children, residents of low-income, immigrants, the unemployed, and displaced – continue to benefit greatly from the generosity of our legal community. But the need is still great. With your support, we can continue to make a difference. 
The Foundation will continue to call on the individual members of the Mecklenburg County Bar for support through unrestricted giving to the 2019-20 Lawyers’ Impact Fund. This fund allows the Foundation to provide the grants that support and enhance projects and organizations that have a legal nexus in the greater community. Because our grants do not typically provide essential general operating support for these organizations, we encourage every member of the Bar to contribute to the Lawyers’ Impact Fund and directly to our grantees’ annual fundraising campaigns.
If you have any questions, please contact MBF Executive Director Leah Campbell at lcampbell@meckbar.org or MBF Development and Grant Review Committee Co-Chair Deb Dilman at ddilman@yourncattorney.com or Co-Chair Lakai Vinson at attorney@vinsonlawoffices.com. To see those that have already pledged their support for the 2019-20 campaign or to pledge your support, please click here.

To make a pledge to the Bar Foundation Fund, click here.