The Michigan State Bar Foundation recently awarded $ 120,000 in Administration of Justice grants to seven nonprofit agencies providing legal education, conflict resolution, or civil legal services to the poor in Michigan. Over 20 nonprofit agencies have received Administration of Justice grants this year from the Foundation, a nonprofit philanthropic organization established in 1947 to support law-related charitable activities.
Michigan State Bar Foundation President Margaret Nichols noted that the Foundation's mission of leadership and funding has remained unwavering each year, stating: "The Foundation's grants enable people to learn about the law, citizenship skills, or peaceful conflict resolution, and provide low-income families with much-needed civil legal assistance."
Grant funds were awarded to:
Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) Connection toward the costs of the Connecting the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to Justice Project to survey needs and implement solutions enabling the DHH population to participate in a meaningful way in the justice system as juror, defendant, witness, attorneys, etc.
Detroit Public Television toward the costs of the Restorative Justice Project, a one-hour film examining restorative justice as an alternative to traditional juvenile justice options and generating dialogue through the story of a young driver who caused a fatal accident.
Legal Services of Eastern Michigan (LSEM) toward the costs of the Teens and the Law Project to develop teen-centered materials and use pro bono attorneys to make presentations about legal issues such as consumer debt, identity theft, housing discrimination, and Zero Tolerance.
Elder Law of Michigan toward the costs of the Left Behind Project to create a booklet which combines legal topics relating to the death of a loved one in one user-friendly resource to reduce difficulty locating legal information that could add unnecessarily to the grieving process.
MI Council on Crime and Delinquency (MCCD) toward the costs of the Improving the Administration of Justice Project to bring national experts to Michigan to facilitate discussions and offer recommendations for improving public defense services in Michigan, including a review of the relationship of criminal and civil legal needs.
Children's Charter of the Courts of Michigan toward the costs of the Permanency Planning Mediation Project to expand conflict resolution programs for child abuse and neglect cases in at least 6 counties in Michigan by using mediation to reduce delays, provide earlier family services, and decrease court time.
Michigan Campaign for Finance toward the costs of the Perspectives on Michigan Judicial Elections video project to educate voters, the public, and students about judicial elections and collaborate with the League of Women's voters in preparing accompanying written information.
For the 2005 Administration of Justice grant schedule or other information about the Foundation's other grant programs, please see www.msbf.org.