Leaders from Grand Rapids area corporations and law firms will gather on Wednesday, September 22, 2004, for a West Michigan Corporate Reception to benefit the State Bar Access to Justice (ATJ) Fund. Contributions made at this reception will directly support ATJ, one of the Bar's justice initiatives to ensure that a strong civil legal system is available to all regardless of their financial means. The reception, which is sponsored by the Paul Goebel Group, will be held at the Peninsular Club and will begin at 5:30 p.m.
"This is an exciting opportunity to involve our corporate community in an innovative partnership that coordinates financial support for legal aid offices such as Legal Assistance Center of Kent County, Michigan Migrant Legal Assistance Project, Inc., and Western Michigan Legal Services," said State Bar president, Scott S. Brinkmeyer. "We hope to raise the awareness of our local business leaders to this very serious issue of assuring the availability of civil legal services to the poor and that the West Michigan community will respond to this worthwhile cause with our traditional generosity," Brinkmeyer added.
The Access to Justice Fund serves about 52,000 people each year through 40 legal aid programs statewide. Donors to the ATJ Fund can designate that their dollars go to a specific legal aid program or have their donation spread among legal aid programs statewide.
The ATJ Campaign raised nearly $1.3 million in new cash and pledges last year, making 2003 the most successful in its short fundraising history. Overall, more than $4.4 million has been raised in donations, pledges and planned gifts by the Campaign since its inception in 1998. More than $2 million of this total has been directed to endowment funds to ensure that legal aid is supported in perpetuity. All contributions to the ATJ Fund are received and managed by the Michigan State Bar Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization.