Another successful State Bar of Michigan fundraising chapter closed at the end of December last year. With over three quarters of a million dollars raised in new cash and pledges from 1,471 donors to the Access to Justice (ATJ) Campaign, the ATJ Fund has now surpassed its 2004 goal of reaching five million dollars.
These contributions are used to ensure that low-income individuals and families have access to the justice system to resolve their civil disputes. The Michigan State Bar Foundation, which receives and manages donations to the ATJ Fund, distributed more than $846,495 through cash donations and payments on pledges designated for operations support to 33 individual programs.
State Bar President Nancy J. Diehl praised the generosity of all the attorneys who have contributed to ATJ. "The Access to Justice effort continues to make a real difference in the lives of millions of low-income people by helping them with everyday legal matters, including family law, housing, and consumer issues. I applaud the leadership shown by ATJ donors who support the Bar's efforts to ensure that the civil justice system is available for all Michigan citizens, regardless of their ability to pay," Diehl said.
Corporate giving played a big role in the success of the 2004 campaign. Receptions in support of the ATJ Campaign were held in southeast and west Michigan and raised over $281,000. Gifts received through these events included a cash contribution of $50,000 from the Ford Motor Company and a multi-year pledge of $75,000 from the General Motors Corporation. In addition, the DTE Energy Foundation and the Paul Goebel Group supported the ATJ Campaign with first-ever contributions of $15,000 and $25,000 respectively.
Large law firms also continued with their key support with over $315,000 received from continued participation of the west Michigan firms of Howard & Howard; Law, Weathers & Richardson; Mika, Meyers, Beckett & Jones; Miller, Johnson, Snell & Cummiskey; Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt & Howlett and Warner, Norcross & Judd.
Renewed support from large firm contributors in the Southeast Michigan area included Dickinson Wright; Dykema Gossett; Honigman, Miller, Schwartz & Cohn; Miller, Canfield, Paddock & Stone; and Sommers, Schwartz, Silver & Schwartz. New law firm donors to the ATJ Campaign included Dale Sprik & Associates; Desenberg & Colip; Dilley & Haney; Dunn, Schouten & Snoap; Goodwin & Scieszka; Keller & Keller; Smith & Johnson Attorneys; and Kienbaum, Opperwall, Hardy & Pelton.