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A letter of gratitude.

Thank you for your steadfast commitment to DC civil legal aid and continued support of the DC Bar Foundation. I have a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation for what the Foundation has accomplished in 2023 because of the work we have done with our grantee partners, stakeholders from other sectors, including social services and health care, and our donors. We are on a mission to give District residents equal access to justice, regardless of income, and your support allows us to move closer to actualizing this vision.

Witnessing the disparities in our community is humbling and inspires us to take action. Connecting and working with so many different collaborators allows us to challenge ourselves to find effective ways to address these disparities. I am thankful you continue to show up with intention and determination.

Every year, when I write this "season of thanks" letter, I am reminded of how much we have to be thankful for. I do not have enough room to list it all here, but these are some ways you impacted the Foundation this year.

Coordinated Intake and Referral. The Coordinated Intake and Referral (CIR) system remains a priority for the legal aid community. I am grateful for the many ways you have shown up and supported CIR this year. From attending our monthly CIR Chats to volunteering for the CIR Pilot Working Group, I appreciate your time and contributions. Your participation and feedback help guide our decision-making efforts.

DC Legal Aid Transformations Network. The DC Legal Aid Transformations Network (DC LATN) celebrated its second anniversary in June. In June and September, DC LATN hosted its first in-person Convenings. So many of you were ready and willing to have open and honest conversations about civil legal aid and how we can work together to build stronger connections. Your willingness to give your time and talent to the Network in new and exciting ways this year has equipped us with the tools to evolve into a more structured and cohesive Network in 2024 and beyond.

Reaching Beyond Civil Legal Aid. We are consistently working on including stakeholders beyond civil legal aid. Earlier this year, we continued our outreach to DC residents to ensure that the design and functionality of the CIR system align with clients' needs, and we had an opportunity to work with six social services organizations in this endeavor. I am encouraged by this type of support and collaboration.

Funding from the District and Other Donors. I am grateful for the funding the DC Bar Foundation received this year from the District. The $31.7 million we received for FY24 (October 1, 2023 – September 30, 2024) will allow us to provide grants to legal services organizations for many service issues, including housing, employment, public benefits, and many other areas. It also allows us to support the legal aid community through training, technical assistance, evaluation, and a loan repayment assistance program for legal aid attorneys. I want to especially thank all who advocated for funding during the FY24 budget hearings in April. Thanks, too, to our corporate and individual donors – especially our 77 Society members – who contributed more than $800,000 to our private fundraising efforts for the second year in a row.

Staff and Leadership. Finally, I am incredibly proud of and grateful for the DC Bar Foundation staff, who are dedicated to our mission and show up every day ready to do the work. Our Board of Directors continues to support our work and offer guidance on how best to meet our strategic priorities. Our Advisory Committee and Past Presidents' Council provide wise counsel on various programmatic and development issues. Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council members serve as ambassadors and find new ways to highlight the critical issues in legal aid through their annual fundraiser, Avenues to Justice.

Every year, when I write this letter, I am grateful for how much we accomplish as a community. There are not enough words to express my gratitude for your continued support, but I leave you with a heartfelt thank you for showing up for the Foundation and, most importantly, for the District residents who need us most.

With Gratitude,

Kirra L. Jarratt

Chief Executive Officer


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