Leaders from corporations and law firms will gather in Grand Rapids on Thursday, February 16, 2006, for a West Michigan Corporate Reception to benefit the State Bar Access to Justice (ATJ) Campaign. Contributions made at this reception will directly support ATJ eligible programs including the west Michigan based Legal Assistance Center, Michigan Migrant Legal Assistance Project Inc., and Legal Aid of Western Michigan.
These programs are supported through the ATJ Campaign, one of the Bar's Justice Initiatives, to ensure that access to the civil legal system is available to low-income persons throughout the state. The reception will be held at The University 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," said State Bar President, Thomas W. Cranmer. "We hope to raise the awareness of our local business leaders to this very serious issue of the availability of civil legal services to the poor. I know that the west Michigan community will respond to this worthwhile cause with their traditional generosity," Cranmer added.
The Access to Justice Fund assists in serving more than 52,000 people each year through 43 civil legal aid programs statewide. Donors to the ATJ Fund can designate that their dollars go to a specific legal aid program or target their donation for needs throughout the state.
In 2004, the ATJ Campaign raised over $731,000 in new cash and pledges from 1,471 donors. To date, an overall total of more than $6 million has been raised in donations, pledges and planned gifts by the Campaign since its inception in 1998. All contributions to the ATJ Fund are received and managed by the Michigan State Bar Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) organization.