Ohio Legal Assistance FoundationThe state of Ohio has over 1.5 million low-income individuals who live near or below the poverty level and can not afford an attorney to help them with their civil legal needs. Those most affected by a lack of legal services include: domestic violence victims, families wrongfully forced into homelessness, children caught in custody battles and senior citizens whose medical benefits may be mistakenly terminated.
The Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation is a private, non-profit organization created in response to a legislative directive in 1994 and because of the serious deficiencies in meeting the civil legal needs of all Ohioans. Among the 33 Foundation board members are appointees from the Chief Justice, the Governor, the Attorney General, the State Treasurer, the State Public Defender, the Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, and the Ohio Senate President. Other bar leaders and business executives concerned about equal justice also serve as trustees.
The mission of the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation is committed to equal access to justice and works to assure that resources, programs and services exist statewide to serve the unmet civil legal needs of Ohio's poor. In partnership with the Ohio State Bar Association and local bar associations, elected officials, as well as local legal service providers, the Foundation coordinates statewide resource development, supports a full range of legal services by local legal aid providers, encourages the innovative use of technology in delivery of legal services, and promotes new and successful pro bono opportunities. Together, we are now meeting approximately 25% of the civil legal needs of poor Ohioans. This still leaves 75% of the civil legal needs of low-income Ohioans without legal advice or assistance each year.
Cy Pres Award DonationThe foreclosure crisis in our state and nation, along with other critical legal issues, is having a devastating impact on many individuals and families in low-income communities, who lack the knowledge, skills and resources to protect themselves and do not have access to legal advice or assistance. At the same time, the primary support for legal services in Ohio (IOLTA/IOTA revenues) has dropped by $10 million or almost 40% in 2008. An additional $5 million decrease in funding is expected in 2009.
The cy pres award from Ohio Lawyers' Give Back, in the amount of $31,186.62, offers a glimmer of hope for legal aid in Ohio. This generous donation to the Foundation will directly support the Foundation's efforts to increase the necessary revenue to support the work of legal aid societies throughout the state. The award monies will also support existing projects funded by the Foundation, like the foreclosure prevention and mitigation project to keep homeowners from losing their homes.
Ohio Lawyers Give BackLake County, Ohio Location: 60 South Park Place Painesville, Ohio 44077
Cuyahoga County Location: 55 Public Square Suite 950 Cleveland, Ohio 44113
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