By Susan Shields
It’s that time of year when the Oklahoma Bar Foundation asks you to make a contribution to the OBF as a part of your end-of-year charitable giving. The OBF funds the types of charitable programs and services that only lawyers and law firms care about. The charitable purposes of the OBF are accomplished through annual grant awards that advance the science of jurisprudence and promote the administration of justice throughout Oklahoma, giving funding for organizations that provide:
- Free legal assistance to the poor and elderly
- Safe haven for the abused
- Protection and legal assistance to children
- Law-related education programs for the public (including Oklahoma school children)
- Law student scholarships for those we expect to follow our charge
- Court grants and other activities that improve the quality of justice for all Oklahomans
Your Donation Matters
OBF grants have totaled more than $10.5 million, with about $5 million of that amount given within the last five years alone. In these challenging economic times when other sources of funding for OBF grantees have been drastically cut or have completely gone away, contributions from people like you will help the OBF be able to continue our mission of supporting law-related charities. Law-related charitable services are not an area other organizations or groups willingly support, and it is important that we as attorneys, help.
Lives We’ve Touched
For those of us who have had the opportunity to visit and talk with OBF grantees, it is the specific stories of the help provided through OBF grants that tug at our heartstrings and make us proud to be Oklahoma lawyers and OBF supporters. For example, we all know that legal service attorneys who handle domestic violence cases often see the unthinkable. One such case involved a situation that no child should ever have to experience.
Robin, an attorney in the Oklahoma City office of Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, tells the story of Sandy, who was only 17 when she first came to LASO for help. Sandy’s mother died approximately eight years ago and she had been living with her father and stepmother. This past summer her father became violent with her. Sandy filed a VPO and came to LASO for help. LASO assisted her in getting a three-year final order. Before coming to LASO, Sandy went to live with a friend, and the friend’s mother was instrumental in getting her set up with Circle of Care, a girls’ group home in Tahlequah. LASO also assisted the friend’s mother in preparing a pro se guardianship. Robin walked through the paperwork with the guardian and she got an emergency order so Sandy could go to Circle of Care to live. Her father was completely unresponsive in giving his consent for Sandy to be admitted to the group home. Now, Sandy is excelling. She recently turned 18 and the guardianship was dismissed. Sandy had been haunted by leaving her younger brother behind in the abusive home. The brother’s situation became very bad and DHS was required to take him into custody. The good news is that he was placed with a maternal aunt who had been visiting Sandy at the group home. Sandy would have faced further violence had LASO not helped. She is now a happy high school senior with good grades and is college bound. After closing Sandy’s LASO case file, Robin concluded, “Today was a great day to be a lawyer!”
You have seen headlines ranking Oklahoma as being one of the top 10 worst states in the nation for women killed by men. We honor our legal service attorneys and the other Oklahoma Bar Foundation grantees who work to save the lives of those tormented by domestic abuse. The Oklahoma Bar Foundation’s support of domestic violence intervention programs allows legal service practitioners like Robin to serve a larger spectrum of the needs of domestic abuse victims by providing OBF funding to “fill the gap” so the attorney will have more opportunity to protect the client.
It’s Up to You
Show your support for these important law-related organizations by making a charitable gift to the Oklahoma Bar Foundation. If you are already a Fellow of the OBF and have met your initial pledge, please consider becoming a Sustaining Fellow by continuing your $100 per year donation, or even better, become a Benefactor of the OBF by increasing your gift commitment to $300 per year.
If you are not a Fellow, then now is the time to become one. Or, you can even make a one-time charitable donation to the OBF in the dollar amount of your choosing. Use the attached form or visit www.okbarfoundation.org to make your online gift today.
Your Oklahoma Bar Foundation funds the types of programs and charitable services that only lawyers and law firms care about. We can’t do it without your help!
Thank you for your generous and loyal support of the OBF.