MINNEAPOLIS – As part of the launch of the Barnes & Thornburg Racial and Social Justice Foundation, a $50,000 donation has been made to All Square, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that invests in those affected by the criminal justice system through a 12-month fellowship and the creation of a forthcoming law firm.
Barnes & Thornburg’s lawyers and staff have funded the foundation launch; the foundation was established with $75,000 in personal donations from firm leadership and total donations collected in 2020 equaled just over $200,000.
"This all gets us one step closer to ensuring that the legal discipline is shaped by those who have been impacted by racial and legal disparities."
“It’s time to not just speak out against racial and social injustices, but to translate those words into meaningful and tangible actions and commitments,” said Connie Lahn, the Racial and Social Justice Foundation president and managing partner of Barnes & Thornburg’s Minneapolis office. “We’re proud to have put a stake in the ground, and we look forward to working with All Square to help diverse legal talent thrive here in the Twin Cities. Their work inspires us to be better, and we hope with our support they can have an even greater impact.”
Barnes & Thornburg’s donations will contribute to All Square’s new legal initiative, slated to launch in 2021, which includes a plaintiff’s firm and a Prison-to-Law Pipeline program. Built in collaboration with justice-impacted legal scholars, the Minnesota Department of Corrections, community leaders, Minnesota paralegal programs, and Minnesota law schools, this pipeline offers ABA-accredited and ABA-approved paralegal and juris doctorate degrees to currently incarcerated Minnesotans. Barnes & Thornburg’s donation will also go toward the tuition for the pipeline’s first four scholars.
“We’re so thankful for this contribution – it’s so much more than money,” said Emily Hunt Turner, founder of All Square. “It’s a direct affirmation for our scholars that the legal community supports their pursuits and will benefit from their insight and expertise as legal practitioners. This all gets us one step closer to ensuring that the legal discipline is shaped by those who have been impacted by racial and legal disparities.” One of All Square’s unique fundraising and skills development vehicles is a grilled cheese restaurant in Minneapolis.
Barnes & Thornburg’s Racial and Social Justice Foundation
The Racial and Social Justice Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, was established in 2020 and provided $200,000 to nonprofits in the firm’s local communities across the country. The foundation’s mission is to promote, advocate, and effect racial and social justice in our local communities and nationally.
Financial support has come entirely through personal donations from the lawyers and staff in each of the firm’s 19 offices. To start, four organizations, including All Square, have received $50,000 each in grants in four of Barnes & Thornburg’s markets – Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Atlanta and Los Angeles. As the foundation continues to grow in 2021, additional nonprofits and markets will be added to the mix.
“We are grateful to contribute to organizations like these that have excellent track records of promoting equality, advancement and justice for people of color in our communities, said Robert Grand, managing partner of Barnes & Thornburg. “These organizations, when properly funded, can have a profound impact on our society and we are looking forward to leveraging the foundation as a catalyst to support and advocate for these incredible nonprofits.”
To choose grantees, the foundation employed a rigorous scoring system to vet charitable organizations against specific criteria that align with its mission and goals.
The foundation will work hand in hand with Barnes & Thornburg’s Racial Justice Committee, which is tasked with continually looking at how the firm works to address racial justice, both externally and internally. Learn more about the foundation’s work across the country.
With more than 700 attorneys and other legal professionals, Barnes & Thornburg is one of the largest law firms in the country. The firm serves clients worldwide from offices in Atlanta, California, Chicago, Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, Minneapolis, New York, Ohio, Raleigh, Salt Lake City, Texas and Washington, D.C.