HARRISBURG (May 22, 2008) - The York MidPenn Advisory Board and the York County Bar Foundation will receive the Louis J. Goffman Award from the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation for their fundraising campaign to help more low-income families and children involved in custody disputes.
Goffman Awards, named for a late Pennsylvania Bar Association president, are given annually to individuals and to groups or organizations for outstanding pro bono work. The 2008 awards will be presented on Wednesday, June 4, during the PBA Annual Meeting held at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, Pa.
More than half of the cases at the York County office of MidPenn Legal Services involve family law matters. The York MidPenn Advisory Board recognized that the demand for representation outstripped the capability of the existing staff and that an additional attorney specializing in family law was needed to fill the gap.
The York County Bar Foundation promised the York MidPenn Advisory Board that it would donate $125,000, a grant of $25,000 per year for five years, if the board could raise an equal amount from the local business community. The Advisory Board mounted a campaign that raised $188,500, exceeding the Foundation's challenge goal by $63,500.
As a result of the fundraising effort, a full-time family law attorney was hired in October of 2007 and is expected to help more than 300 families each year.
"Thousands of York County children involved in custody disputes will benefit from the services of the recently-hired family law attorney at MidPenn," said Karen M. Balaban, Pennsylvania Bar Foundation president. "Caring lawyers and business leaders understood the need and stepped forward to fill it. We applaud all of them."
MidPenn Legal Services is a public interest law firm that serves 18 central Pennsylvania counties. Its civil legal aid office in York County has been providing free legal representation and information to low-income residents since 1969. Its staff serves nearly 30,000 clients in the areas of custody, domestic violence, health care, consumer benefits and elder law. Created in 2002 by the MidPenn Legal Services Board of Directors, the York MidPenn Advisory Board consists of volunteer business leaders and lawyers.
The York County Bar Foundation was created by the York County Bar Association and is dedicated to the charitable purpose of providing legal services to disadvantaged residents of York County, regardless of their ability to pay.
The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, improves the public's understanding of the law and its appreciation of democracy and strives to ensure that citizens, particularly Pennsylvania's most vulnerable, have full access to our legal system. The foundation accomplishes its mission by making grants, seeking financial support from individuals and organizations both within and outside of the legal community, and encouraging bar members to donate their time, talent and expertise in service to the public.
Source: Pennsylvania Bar Foundation