The Barnes & Thornburg Racial and Social Justice Foundation has awarded $250,000 to five organizations in cities where the firm has offices to bring meaningful change to their communities. Each organization will receive a $50,000 grant. The funding was raised from lawyers and employees of Barnes & Thornburg during 2022.
The foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, was established in 2020 with financial support coming entirely through personal donations from the lawyers and employees in each of the firm’s offices. The Barnes & Thornburg Racial and Social Justice Foundation is committed to action by raising awareness, dedicating resources, and advocating for equal opportunities and justice for people of color.
The $50,000 grants were presented this month to the following organizations:
- Project New Start, Delaware – 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.
- Buried Alive Project, Dallas – 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and humanization, the Buried Alive Project fights to free people serving draconian sentences handed down under outdated federal drug laws.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.
- 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, Columbus – 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.
- RISE, San Diego – 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.
“We are proud to continue to take action, year after year, to fight for social and racial justice,” said Connie A. Lahn, the Racial and Social Justice Foundation president and managing partner of Barnes & Thornburg’s Minneapolis office. “Since the inception of these grants in 2020, we’ve sought to support organizations doing vital and inspiring work. We are excited to build new partnerships with organizations doing everything from helping people get justice within the legal system to creating safe community spaces for women of color.”
In addition to Lahn, Barnes & Thornburg’s Racial and Justice Foundation’s board members are Allen R. Baum, partner-in-charge of the Raleigh office; Michael A. Carrillo, managing partner of the Chicago office; and Roscoe C. Howard Jr., managing partner of the Washington, D.C., office. Ex officio members are Steven Merkel, chief operating officer and the foundation’s treasurer; Andy Detherage, firm managing partner; and Dawn R. Rosemond, firm diversity partner.
In addition to the foundation’s grants, Barnes & Thornburg attorneys plan to contribute time and professional experience in support of the above organizations.
“It’s important that our support and efforts to bring justice to our communities is also focused on giving back,” said Detherage. “I’m grateful that we’re able to award grants to six more community organizations this year and that we are committed to carry on this work helping organizations that promote equality and justice.”
To choose grantees, the foundation employed a scoring system to vet charitable organizations against specific criteria that align with its mission and goals.
With more than 800 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, Boston, California, Chicago, Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, Minneapolis, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Philadelphia, Raleigh, Salt Lake City, Texas and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit us online at www.btlaw.com or on Twitter @BTLawNews.