Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands kicked off the 2014 Campaign for Equal Justice March 5 at a luncheon at the Nashville City Club. The goal for this year’s fundraising campaign is $800,000. The 2013 campaign raised $766,000.
The keynote speaker was Legal Services Corporation President Jim Sandman, who spoke about the great work Legal Aid Society and pro bono attorneys are doing to provide access to justice to thousands across 22,000 square miles in Middle Tennessee and the Cumberland Plateau. Legal Services Corporation is a private nonprofit corporation established by the U.S. Congress and is the single largest funder of civil legal aid programs for low-income Americans.
Sandman described Legal Aid Society as a program that is deeply committed to its community, well integrated with bar associations, the courts and law firms, and that reflects a rich history of leadership. He noted the serious funding challenges confronting legal aid organizations across the country and emphasized that America’s commitment to access to justice (a core and nonpartisan national value) must never be subordinated to short-term budget concerns. He encouraged those in attendance to maintain and strengthen their financial support of and pro bono work with Legal Aid Society, to help educate the rest of the legal profession and the public about the critical importance of legal aid, and to honor and thank the lawyers and staff of Legal Aid Society.
“They are heroes,” Sandman said, “who labor day in and day out, at great personal sacrifice, to make our nation’s promise of justice for all a reality.”
The Leadership Cabinet, a group of law firms that have pledged $400 per lawyer in the firm, was recognized for their generosity by 2014 Campaign Chair John Tishler. This year, five new firms joined 37 renewing firms in the cabinet. Tishler also recognized this year’s campaign committee: Bob Mendes, Todd Rolapp, Casey Reed, Saul Solomon, Judge Rachel Bell, Judge Philip Smith, Kate Stephenson, Joe Jensen, Art Rebrovick and Linda Rebrovick.
As of the day of the kick-off, Legal Aid Society had raised $441,088 toward its $800,000 goal. The contributions came from 47 firms representing more than 1,100 attorneys, as well as 54 individuals.
The Feinstein Foundation, a national nonprofit helping to alleviate hunger, will make a donation to Legal Aid Society in conjunction with all gifts and pledges made through April 30.
“We are hopeful that we will meet our lofty campaign goal this year,” said Gary Housepian, executive director of Legal Aid Society. “There are 443,000 people eligible for Legal Aid Society’s services and they all deserve justice. The support of our donors and volunteers allows us to provide justice by way of free civil legal help.”
Donations can by made by visiting
Legal Aid Society gives free civil legal aid to people who have nowhere else to turn. It serves 48 counties from offices in Clarksville, Columbia, Cookeville, Gallatin, Murfreesboro, Nashville, Oak Ridge, and Tullahoma. Legal Aid Society is funded in part by United Way.