Grants Awarded - 2016

The Chapter Community Outreach Grants Selection Committee approved funding for the following programs for 2016:

Alaska Chapter - We, The People Workshop
The chapter requested funding to assist the administrators of the "We, The People" civic competition that takes place every year in Anchorage, Alaska. Over 1000 students participate each year and the administrators struggle to find over 120 volunteers from the community to serve as judges. The students are assigned topics ranging from the Declaration of Independence to the Constitutional Convention, and the program culminates in a mock congressional hearing with questions and answers from the judges.

Oregon Chapter - A Class Action:  The Grassroots Struggle for School Desegregation
This traveling exhibit depicts the history of school desegregation, focusing on the Ninth Circuit's landmark decision in Mendez v. Westminster School District. It tells the story of how community organizing and grassroots activism can produce positive change in schools and communities across the country. This exhibit provides opportunities for the bar and community members to participate in the dialogue that the exhibit inspires, learn about our justice system, and better understand or convey important community needs.

South Carolina - BRIDGE Mentorship Program
In November, 2012, the DSC FBA created a mentorship program to support the newly created federal drug court in Charleston, SC, known as the BRIDGE Program. The project provides an intensive rehabilitative program for individuals whose illegal substance dependency led to federal criminal charges. In the Spring of 2015, the BRIDGE Program expanded to Columbia, Florence, and Greenville, SC. FBA members and the federal judiciary in South Carolina will benefit from the grant as resources and personal involvement are critical to sustain the continued growth of this program, which facilitates the administration of justice while addressing the need for legal services.

Eastern District of New York Chapter - The Bench in Your Backyard
The chapter is sponsoring a new civics program for middle school students. The program is designed to introduce the students to members of the judiciary who are working in the community to educate students about the role of an independent judiciary and to help students appreciate the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

Eastern District of Michigan Chapter - Law Day
Transportation is the greatest impediment to greater participation by the public schools in the Law Day programs, particularly from Detroit, Pontiac, and other urban centers in the Eastern District of Michigan. Providing funding for buses gives teachers greater freedom to incorporate Law Day activities into the curriculum for the benefit of the students.

San Joaquin Valley Chapter (CA) - Law Day Yosemite
The Law Day Yosemite event is a product of the imagination and efforts of the Yosemite Court, the San Joaquin Valley Chapter of the FBA and others associated with the administration of justice in the Yosemite. Law Day Yosemite educates junior high school students about the importance of the Rule of Law in this country. The grant will fund transportation, lunches, and essay contest winner prizes for up to 420 eighth grade students from nearby rural communities who are invited to Yosemite to attend Law Day. This event is held on or near the nationally recognized Law Day, May 1.  

Minnesota Chapter - The Minnesota Hispanic Legal Experience, Who We Are, Our Struggle and Our Promise
Our program features large banners containing highlights of the Minnesota Hispanic Legal Experience, recognition and awards for middle and high school student essay contest participants, a keynote presentation by Justice Sonia Sotomayor and presentation of a video highlighting members of the Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association. Members featured in the video will be available after the presentations for discussion with participating students about pursuing a legal education and careers in law. The goal of the program is to educate the attendees about the Minnesota Hispaanic community and to identify the struggles and celebrate the promise of the Minnesota Hispanic legal community.

Utah Chapter - The Advancement Pledge and Training Series
The Advancement Pledge and Training Series is intended to improve the practice of law by encouraging law firms and businesses to hire, promote, and retain women. Although there have been many conferences and articles addressing the disparate number of women and men in the practice of law, there have been few conferences addressing the ways in which those numbers can improve. Recent studies have shown that the key to getting the desired results is buy-in from senior level partners, especially male partners. For that reason, for law firms to complete the training and receive recognition for it, each firm is required to send two senior-level partners, at least one of whom is male, to the training sessions. The incentive to participate is three-fold. First, because all major firms will be approached to participate, there will be some pressure to participate. Second, business leaders will also be invited to participate and express their interest in hiring law firms that are taking active measures to promote and retain women. Finally, those firms that successfully complete the program will receive recognition, which can be used to approach new clients and in hiring. 

Broward County Chapter - Guide to Assist Pro Se Litigants in Federal Court
The continuing increase in lawyer hourly rates and overall litigation costs has generated a surge in pro se litigants. Pro se litigants, however, struggle with the steep learning curve of litigating in federal court. This in turn requires practitioners and the judiciary to spend more time and resources explaining the rules and addressing procedural issues caused by pro se litigants. This project will assist pro se litigants by explaining the rules in easy to understand terms. By helping pro se litigants, we believe this will help practitioners and the judiciary by reducing the time and resources spent educating pro se litigants and resolving issues caused by pro se litigants having difficulty understanding the rules and procedures.

Western District of North Carolina Chapter - Increasing Economic Self-Sufficiency for Immigrants
This community outreach program will train chapter members and provide free legal services to low-income immigrants eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) and/or Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA). There is a lack of free immigration law services in North Carolina's rural Appalachian Mountain counties. The chapter will partner with Pisgah Legal Services, a non-profit providing legal aid to immigrants in western North Carolina, to offer pro bono services to help eligible immigrants secure DACA/DAPA status, improving their economic conditions and reducing societal costs related to undocumented immigrants. 

North Dakota Chapter - Federal Detainee Discovery Review Computer Project - HACTC
The oil boom of recent past has caused a significant strain on the criminal justice system in North Dakota. Federal discovery is provided exclusively in electronic format and mandatory discovery orders prohibit production of paper copies to defendants by counsel. One major state facility housing 57 pre-trial detainees has only a single, five (or more) year old repurposed computer with outdated software and does not meet the basic needs of Federal clients, Federal attorneys, or the Federal criminal justice system. 

Central District of Illinois Chapter - From Classroom to Courtroom
Approximately 30 students from two central Illinois high schools will have the opportunity to argue a case in the courtroom before Chief Judge Jim Shadid (chapter president) and learn about the differences between the state and federal systems from judges, attorneys, and courthouse staff. The chapter members will work together to select a case for the students to argue that will focus on a subject relevant to high school students. Chapter members, judges, and students will discuss the federal judicial system, the role of the courts, and the importance of an independent judicial system with the students. The grant will allow the chapter to serve the students breakfast or lunch and help the schools with any costs associated with transportation from the school to the courthouse.


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