Ohio State Bar Foundation awards more than $400,000 to Ohio nonprofits this fall

December 08, 2020

The Ohio State Bar Foundation (OSBF) has awarded $444,852 to Ohio nonprofit organizations through its fall grants cycle. Each funded project supports the OSBF’s mission of promoting the pursuit of justice and public understanding of the rule of law.

“Through our important grant making process, the Ohio State Bar Foundation is dedicated to helping Ohio nonprofits,” said OSBF President Mark Kitrick. “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been more imperative than ever to support organizations and the essential work they do that betters communities and helps carry out the Foundation’s mission. In 2020, as a result of our spring and fall grant cycles, our strategic grant, and our unprecedented Racial Justice Initiative grant, we have granted more than $900,000 to nonprofits.”

The fall grant recipients are as follows:

  • $110,900 to the Law and Leadership Institute (LLI), a statewide organization based in Columbus, for the Diversity in Leadership Fellowship. With this grant, LLI will continue its fellowship program designed for first-year law students, which aims to help them explore diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and understand the issues impacting the recruitment and retention of diverse attorneys. New fellows will attend workshops, instruct high school students during LLI's summer programming, and receive support from experienced attorneys through an advisory council.
  • $55,000 to the Central Ohio Worker Center (COWC), located in Columbus, for the Workplace Rights Initiative for Central Ohio Workers: Racial and Economic Justice Project. This project aims to deliver critical ‘know-your-rights’ and community training. The goal is to help residents protect themselves at work, secure unemployment resources, implement strategies for improved pay, benefits, and working conditions, and share acquired information with coworkers. Monthly wage theft clinics already hosted by COWC will also be accessible, and partnerships with local attorneys will be established to provide pro-bono or low-bono services to workers who have workplace claims. 
  • $51,000 to Advocating Opportunity (AO) in Toledo for Beyond Colorblindness: A Legal Framework for Anti‐Racism Implementation of Racial and Social Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives within Core Programming. This programming will develop and implement a series of regional training sessions to address the structural racism in Ohio’s legal system by providing historical context and understanding, offer a critical examination of the legal system, and give participants tangible tools for actionable changes. AO will connect with local bar associations, law schools, and courts to publicize the trainings.
  • $50,000 to the Equality Ohio (EO) Education Fund, a statewide organization based in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus, for Establishing the Equality Ohio Legal Clinic Digital Training Library and Attorney Referral Network Expansion, which will create a curriculum of six CLE courses focused on LGBTQ-specific legal knowledge and/or cultural-humility. EO also will produce digital versions of the six courses with accompanying legal guides, apply for online CLE provider status with the Ohio Supreme Court, and market the six courses to the state’s legal community, while continuing recruitment for the Attorney Referral Network.
  • $42,000 to the Law and Leadership Institute (LLI), a statewide organization based in Columbus, for their Leaders for Justice Series. This series aims to increase awareness of systemic barriers for attorneys of color, to demonstrate effective strategies to combat racism, and improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in both the corporate and educational context through quarterly statewide events.
  • $35,000 to the Ohio Alliance of YMCAs Foundation in Columbus for their Civic Engagement for all of Ohio Teens through the YMCA Youth & Government Program. This grant will help expand their program into more school communities, providing leadership training and preparation to meet the needs of a democratic government and the electoral process, stimulate interest and participation in U.S. and state government functions, promote an understanding of the law, and create opportunities for civic engagement and education. 
  • $30,000 to Pro Bono Partnership of Ohio (PBPO) in Cincinnati and Dayton for their Attorneys Strengthening Ohio Nonprofits through Legal Education Program, which will focus on reformatting live educational programming into webinars, draft legal brief publications specific to the needs of Ohio nonprofits, and provide these resources to the state’s nearly 50,000 nonprofits.
  • $25,000 to All Choices Matter for their Improve Legal Outcomes Triggered by Youth Trauma video series. With this grant, they will produce ten short, educational videos to explain how an adverse childhood experience can trigger a personal choice/event that caused a negative interaction with the justice system and will highlight how the justice system, or an early intervention, can produce a more positive outcome. Target audiences for these videos include school-aged students, educators through the Ohio Educational Service Centers, public and private schools, and public health departments. Videos also will be available online for parents, teachers, and school counselors to start conversations with students about topics covered.
  • $20,000 to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Ohio, located in Dublin and Cincinnati, for their Community Record Sealing Clinic. With this grant, CAIR Ohio will host monthly expungement clinics targeted at Ohio Muslims to lessen the impact of systemic racism and criminalization in the Muslim community, increase access to employment and housing, and increase community awareness about record-sealing and the legal rights available to Muslims after contact with the legal system.
  • $14,000 to the Immigrant and Refugee Law Center (IRLC) in Cincinnati for Immigration Law Manuals and Materials Translation Project, which will expand the existing legal system manuals for attorneys, translate all materials to include English, Spanish, French, and Arabic, train 60 volunteer attorneys or law students annually, and increase capacity to serve low-income immigrant and refugee clients.
  • $7,500 to the Immigrant and Refugee Law Center (IRLC) in Cincinnati for the Immigrant Rights Curriculum for the Classroom. With this grant, IRLC will expand it’s Know Your Rights Program to create age-appropriate curriculum for students to help them better understand the immigration legal system, policies, and the rights and resources available to immigrants and refugees and their families.
  • $4,452 to the Artemis Center for Alternatives to Domestic Violence in Dayton for their Rights and Process for Civil Protection Orders videos. Two three-minute videos will be produced on how to obtain a Civil Protection Order in Montgomery County Domestic Relations Court. One video will be produced in English with subtitles or ASL interpretation, and the other will be produced in Spanish. These videos will be continuously played in the court's waiting area, available on the court's website, and available to the pro se legal clinic. Bi-fold cards summarizing the video content will also be created for court clients.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to grant more than $400,000 this fall to such worthy nonprofits,” said OSBF Executive Director Lori Keating. “The OSBF is here to support projects and organizations that are bettering our legal system and improving access to justice for Ohioans, and we look forward to the new partnerships we are creating through this recent grant cycle.”

If you’d like to learn more about any of the grantees, be connected with one of the organizations directly, or know more about the OSBF’s grantmaking process, contact OSBF’s Grants Manager Tiffany Patterson at TPatterson@OSBF.net or 614-487-4483.

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