MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENTAND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Executive Director Sincerely,M
A catalyst for building a better justice system
With the continuing economic hardships
facing everyone,the work of the California Bar Foundationmatters now more than ever before.Meaningful access to our justice system can have an exponentialimpact for Californians seeking to remain in homes,retain custody of a child,receive necessary publicbenefits,access health care programs,or continue their education.For nearly 20 years the Foundation has served as a catalyst for building a better justice system by supportingtop law students who represent the future of the legal profession,efforts to make our legal community moreclearly reflect the state’s population,and critical projects that aim to ensure that that all Californians,regardlessof economic circumstance,are able to receive assistance from a lawyer.We at the Foundation are proud of our tradition of investing in scholarships and other successful programs that respond to emerging areas of need.The Foundation’s effectiveness was no more evident than in 2008.We geared our grant-making towards areasthat are particularly underserved – including rural communities that face costly hurdles to providing legalservices and projects that improve access to legal education and services for limited English proficiency clients.As an example of our ability to respond quickly to emerging issues and support innovative approaches,we teamed up with the State Bar of California and the Public Interest Clearinghouse to help launch
,a central repository of public resources for homeowners and renters related toforeclosure assistance that more than 10,000 individuals have consulted since the summer of 2008.The website also links attorneys with volunteer opportunities to help with the foreclosure crisis.We are also proud of our efforts to bolster the pipeline of ethnically and culturally diverse individualsentering the legal profession – an issue of increasing urgency as California’s population becomes more andmore diverse.With the financial backing of 11 of the state’s leading law firms,we launched the DiversityScholarship Program and awarded more than $110,000 in scholarships to first-year law students fromcommunities historically under-represented in the State Bar membership.We created this program in directresponse to feedback we received from law firms seeking to diversify their associate ranks,public law schoolofficials concerned about the sparse number of minority students post-Proposition 209,and State Bar leaderswho have called upon the legal community to help address this challenging issue.We cannot sustain and grow these efforts without the support of our many law firm,corporate,and individualsupporters.As the Foundation receives no funds from mandatory State Bar fees,the Foundation must raisethe money we distribute each year.So while we utilize our depth of experience in serving the people of California,we also rely on the generosity of every donor who understands the importance of the Foundation’swork,especially in these challenging economic times.With the flexibility and responsiveness that characterizes our work,coupled with the philanthropic spiritof the legal community,the Foundation continues to champion the sacrosanct principle,established bythe U.S.Constitution,of justice for all.We trust that our collective efforts will continue this vital workas a hallmark of our profession.