Announcing out 2018 Grantees!
Big Law Associates Embrace Philanthropy, Announce 2018 Legal Aid Grants
The Associates’ Committee Awards $90K to Two Innovative Nonprofit Organizations
LOS ANGELES, November 27, 2018— The Associates’ Committee, a member-funded grant foundation consisting of Big Law associates from across the country, today announced grants totaling $90,000 to two public interest organizations: FreeFrom, a nonprofit group that financially empowers survivors of domestic violence by helping them to achieve economic justice and financial independence; and Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the nation’s largest legal and civil rights organization for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.
In only its third year, The Associates’ Committee has awarded a total of $440,000 to legal aid organizations around the country. The foundation continues to attract members within the corporate law firm ranks, inspiring young attorneys to engage in philanthropic giving. The group’s founder and board president, Corey Laplante, an associate at the national litigation boutique, Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz, believes that the current generation of law firm associates craves the opportunity to give back to their communities.
“So many of the young lawyers I encounter are eager to commit time, energy and resources to organizations that achieve a valuable social impact – they just need the right vehicle to do it,” said Laplante. “The Associates’ Committee helps these attorneys not only effectively channel their giving spirit, but identify those nonprofit groups that are doing meaningful, scalable work.”
This year The Associates’ Committee awarded a $50,000 grant to FreeFrom, whose mission is to create pathways to financial security and long-term safety for survivors of domestic violence. Committed to helping break the cycle of violence against women in the U.S., FreeFrom focuses its efforts on a series of interrelated financial empowerment services: a Survivor Wealth and Wellness Train the Trainer Program to integrate financial capacity building programming into domestic violence organizations across the U.S.; an online Self Help Compensation Tool to support survivors as they navigate the four avenues of compensation available to recoup the costs of being harmed; GIFTED by FreeFrom, a social enterprise focused on generating survivor wealth through entrepreneurship and living wage employment; and Policy and Advocacy work to remove the structural barriers survivors face in accessing compensation and addressing litigation abuse.
“FreeFrom is incredibly honored to be recognized by The Associates’ Committee. With this generous grant, we will begin expanding our California-based self-help compensation tool to all 50 states, with a goal of reaching 1 million survivors by 2020,” said Sonya Passi, founder and CEO of FreeFrom.
“Innovative tools like the ones FreeFrom is building not only benefit and empower survivors, but they lessen the burden on the legal aid system – and that is something we are always eager to support,” Laplante said.
Receiving a $40,000 grant was Asian Americans Advancing Justice – LA (AAAJ – LA), which provides direct services, impact litigation, policy advocacy, leadership development, education and capacity building for the most vulnerable members of the Asian American and NHPI communities of Los Angeles. The nonprofit serves more than 15,000 individuals and organizations every year.
“The Associates' Committee grant will directly help the most vulnerable seniors within the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities navigate complex public benefits systems to ensure their basic needs are met,” said Bonnie Tang, Vice President of Program Services at Advancing Justice – LA. “A growing number of immigrant seniors who are unable to secure help from other legal service providers because of language barriers, will now receive critical legal assistance and resources through our Asian Language Legal Intake Line.”
Regarding AALJ – LA’s grant, Laplante added that “This was the organization’s third time applying for a grant; we are proud to finally be able to support them as they expand their critical legal aid services.”
Each year, The Associates’ Committee reviews dozens of applications from qualified 501(c)(3) organizations that provide legal aid, engage in impact litigation or advocate for institutional progress, including in such areas as education, homelessness prevention, veterans’ rights, environmental justice, domestic violence protection and criminal justice reform. The committee’s members, in turn, sponsor individual nonprofit organizations that align with their individual philanthropic focus. Grant awards are determined by member vote following applicants’ submission of a one-minute video detailing how grant funds would be used to promote justice.
About The Associates’ Committee
The Associates’ Committee is a nationwide, member-funded grant foundation comprised of law firm associates from over 50 different law firms in the nation’s biggest legal markets. We award grants to qualifying 501(c)(3) organizations that provide legal aid, engage in impact litigation or advocate for institutional progress. Our mission is two-fold: to support organizations at the cutting edge of public interest advocacy, and to encourage philanthropy and civic engagement among young corporate lawyers. To learn more, visit www.associatescommittee.org.
1 in 4 women in the U.S. will experience severe domestic violence in their lifetime. Financial insecurity is the number one cited reason survivors of domestic violence stay with or return to their abuser, and domestic violence remains the leading cause of homelessness among women and children in this country. FreeFrom is a groundbreaking Los Angeles based nonprofit on a mission to create pathways to financial security and long-term safety for survivors. Using innovative new technology, social enterprise models, policy advocacy, and cross-sector collaborations, FreeFrom’s programs are responsive to the needs of survivors and support their agency in determining their own path towards financial, physical and emotional well-being. www.freefrom.org
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – LA
Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles (Advancing Justice - LA) is the nation’s largest legal and civil rights organization for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (NHPI). Founded in 1983 as the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Advancing Justice - LA serves more than 15,000 individuals and organizations every year. Through direct services, impact litigation, policy advocacy, leadership development, education and capacity building, Advancing Justice - LA focuses on the most vulnerable members of Asian American and NHPI communities while also building a strong voice for civil rights and social justice. To learn more, visit www.advancingjustice-la.org.