Increasing Access to Justice
Founded in 1991 to serve as the charitable arm of the York County Bar Association, the York County Bar Foundation is a nonprofit organization that guides the many law-related public service efforts of the Bar Association. Comprised of more than 500 attorneys and judges, the York County Bar believes accessible legal aid stabilizes families, improves public safety, saves taxpayer dollars as well as reduces the overwhelming demand on social and public services.
The Bar Foundation is tasked with many initiatives including working to connect families and individuals with lawyers and legal information, educating the public about law-related matters, and more.
One of the Bar Foundation’s most recent initiatives is the Shelter from the Storm Partnership, created to secure financial resources for the Bar-funded family-law attorney at MidPenn Legal Services and the Bar’s access-to-justice coordinator. As part of this partnership, the Bar Association engages in a matching effort to double every donation made by the community.
Matching funding to partnership contributions will be transferred from the Bar Association to the endowment of the Bar Foundation. The Bar is holding in reserve up to $400,000 a year for this campaign for up to five years, or a total of $2 million.
Louis Appell, Jr. was passionate about helping community organizations dedicated to improving York and addressing key issues. Mr. Appell was impressed and intrigued by the Bar’s Shelter from the Storm Partnership, which prompted him to reach out to past Bar Foundation President Carolyn Steinhauser to learn more about it.
Over lunch some years ago, they discussed the program and overall betterment of the local community. As they spoke, Mr. Appell learned exactly how the program could address the escalating poverty population, need for more legal services and increasing demand for grantee funding.
Mr. Appell and the Powder Mill Foundation then gave their financial support to The Foundation and it’s Shelter from the Storm Partnership. With this commitment, both have served the greater York community and leveraged support from additional funders. The Foundation’s endowment has since surpassed its $5 million projection.
Mr. Appell would be pleased by our progress and the promise of what is to come. We’re now focusing on criminal justice reform and expanding programs to address the hidden and undiscussed problems faced by many hourly workers and their families, and those suffering from mental illness and substance abuse. We’re grateful the Powder Mill Foundation has contributed such thoughtful investments to our efforts.
Victoria Connor, CEO, York County Bar Association and York County Bar Foundation