Mission Statement: The Barnes & Thornburg Racial and Social Justice Foundation is committed to promoting, advocating, and effecting racial and social justice in our local communities and nationally.
We at Barnes & Thornburg wholly denounce racism in any form and seek to play a part, in whatever way we can, to address the burdens the events in Minneapolis and across our nation during 2020 have brought and the larger social forces that led to them.
Barnes & Thornburg LLP established the Barnes & Thornburg LLP Racial and Social Justice Foundation, Inc.*, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, to combat racism and social injustice with an initial $75,000 in personal commitments from firm leadership. The foundation has continued to raise funds from Barnes & Thornburg team members throughout 2022, totaling more than $750,000.
Those funds have been earmarked to support nonprofit organizations in the communities in which we have offices that work hard to further racial and social justice. Their important missions and powerful triumphs make the world a better place.
Receiving $50,000 grants in December 2022 were:
Boston Higher Education Resource Center (HERC): The Boston Higher Education Resource Center (HERC) functions to equip first-generation youth of color with access to and ways to thrive in higher education, to break the cycle of poverty, and to become agents of change in our communities.
Zora’s House: Zora House’s mission is to create safe spaces for women of color to establish meaningful, supportive relationships with other women in their community; develop a deeper practice of self-care, resiliency, and emotional intelligence; and successfully incubate their creativity, scholarship, entrepreneurship, activism, service, and leadership.
Buried Alive Project: Through transformative litigation, legislation and humanization, the Buried Alive Project fights to free people serving draconian sentences handed down under outdated federal drug laws. The Buried Alive Project provides legal representation for people buried alive under federal drug laws, advocates for impactful changes in the laws, and amplifies the voices of people directly impacted by the criminal legal system.
Project New Start: Project New Start combats violence and reduces recidivism. It operates a comprehensive, results-oriented cognitive behavioral change and job readiness program for individuals transitioning out of state and federal institutions. The goals of its New Start Reentry Program are to assist individuals in developing marketable skills, obtaining, and sustaining employment and developing positive behaviors through cognitive restructuring.
RISE: RISE’s mission is to elevate and advance urban leadership through dialogue-based civic engagement, dynamic nonprofit partnerships, and direct training and support to increase the capacity of urban residents to effect meaningful community change.
Receiving $50,000 grants in December 2021 were:
Sunshine Gospel Ministries Flourishing Community Initiative: The mission of Sunshine Gospel Ministries is to seek the renewal of the city through ministries of discipleship, mercy, and justice. It seeks to engage and empower youth, families and guests of our community to thrive and lead fruitful, healthy lives through faith, connectedness and opportunity. The Flourishing Community Initiative works to advance trauma-informed approaches to gun violence through individual support, community collaboration, and advocacy.
Center for Nonviolence: The Center for Nonviolence provides education, support, and advocacy to end domestic and other forms of violence while modeling equality and power sharing.
Michigan League for Public Policy: The Michigan League for Public Policy promotes racial equity, economic security, health and well-being for all people in Michigan through policy change. It is the only state-level organization that comprehensively addresses poverty and analyzes state and federal policies’ impact on low-income residents and residents of color. The firm has offices in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor.
Parole Preparation Project: The Parole Preparation Project provides critical advocacy and direct support to currently and formerly incarcerated people serving life sentences, and seeks to transform the parole release process in New York State. The firm has an office in New York City.
North Carolina Center for Actual Innocence: The North Carolina Center for Actual Innocence’s primary mission is to identify, investigate and advance credible claims of innocence, obtaining justice for people imprisoned for crimes they did not commit, for the victims of those crimes, and for the actual perpetrators. Its secondary mission is to educate policymakers, the public, and legal and law enforcement communities about the factors that contribute to wrongful conviction, as well as emerging solutions which can increase the reliability of convictions. Promoting such systematic changes to our criminal justice system helps: prevent the true perpetrators from evading capture and victimizing others; save people from years of suffering due to wrongful imprisonment; increase public confidence in the system; decrease cost to taxpayers.
Thrive DC: Thrive DC’s mission is to end and prevent homelessness in Washington, D.C.
Receiving $50,000 grants in December 2020 were:
Project Pinnacle: Project Pinnacle provides nonviolent offenders under the age of 25 with life skills training, legal rights and responsibilities education, and career development opportunities. The 10-year-old organization is dedicated to restoring young people to respectful positions in the community.
Public Advocates in Community re-Entry (PACE): Through partnerships with major employers across Indianapolis, PACE ensures that their clients receive the skills training and resources needed to make them competitive candidates for employment. In addition to employment and job placement assistance, PACE also provides family reunification, transitional housing, substance abuse treatment groups, mental health treatment, addiction and recovery support, and education.
Social Justice Learning Institute: The Social Justice Learning Institute is dedicated to improving the education, health, and well-being of youth and communities of color by empowering them to enact social change through research, training, and community mobilization. The institute partners with organizations and businesses to provide academic support services, transform neighborhood conditions, and rectify injustice.
All Square: All Square invests in those impacted by the criminal justice system through a 12-month fellowship and the creation of a forthcoming law firm. All Square’s new legal initiative, slated to launch in 2021, includes a plaintiff’s firm and a Prison-to-Law Pipeline program. The pipeline offers ABA-accredited and ABA-approved paralegal and juris doctorate degrees to currently incarcerated Minnesotans.
Barnes & Thornburg also pledges to continue devoting sweat equity to these and other fine organizations. We are proud of the work we do together and the spirit in which we conduct that work. But we are so much better together. Please stay tuned for ways to support our Racial and Social Justice Foundation.
*Barnes & Thornburg LLP Racial and Social Justice Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation organized under Indiana law, and operates as a charitable foundation recognized as tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Barnes &Thornburg LLP is an Indiana limited liability partnership engaged in the practice of law and is separate and distinct from the foundation.