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The Power of Individuals

I want to take a moment to highlight the efforts of the DC Bar Foundation’s 77 Society, the power of individual giving, and the remarkable difference it makes in the lives of those serviced by DC’s civil legal aid network. Next month, we will host our annual President’s Reception to honor this special group of donors who have been invaluable to our work. We established the 77 Society in 2017 to organize, develop and activate a strong individual donor base. The 77 Society is comprised of individuals committed to giving $1,000 or more annually to the civil legal aid network. Members have the opportunity to meet and learn from DC Bar Foundation grantees and other partners, strengthening the bond between those who give, those who provide legal aid services, and the residents that receive those services. Membership ranges from people who have been passionate about the DC Bar Foundation's work since our founding in 1977 to those who are relatively new to our work. I want to highlight a dear member of our DCBF family. Someone who supported the creation of the 77 Society and became one of its first members: Marc Fleischaker. Marc Fleischaker is Chair Emeritus of Arent Fox and a long-time supporter of DCBF. He was president of the Foundation when I came to DCBF in 2014. "The reason I became a member is because I believed in the DC Bar Foundation's mission and the importance of the civil legal aid network.” Marc has been an individual donor to the DC Bar Foundation and the civil legal aid network for decades. His involvement predates the 77 Society, but he has shared with us how he always felt it was important to raise the DC Bar Foundation's individual giving efforts. While giving is an important aspect of the 77 Society, members are excited about the group because they are given opportunities to engage more deeply in the Foundation’s work. “We get a bird’s eye view of the Foundation, the grantees chosen, the rationale for the gifts,” said Fleischaker. “A better understanding of the interworking’s of the Foundation leads to a better appreciation of what these organizations are doing and their importance to the District.” There are also opportunities to meet and learn directly from the grantees, which helps people grow a stronger connection to the work. Ashley James, director of regulatory employment and litigation at Lime, became a member of the 77 Society last year. "I am a native Washingtonian. I am actually a fourth-generation Washingtonian, and I see the benefit of legal aid in the District," said Ashley. "Quite frankly, there are different lived experiences for District residents, and while I may be able to afford the legal services I need, there are so many people who cannot." As a member of the Young Lawyers Network Leadership Council, Ashley felt inspired by the work of our civil legal community and wanted to kick up her involvement by participating in the 77 Society. "It hits home for me because this is my hometown, and I am happy to help out through the DC Bar Foundation and the 77 Society." At a time when people are struggling across the District as a result of the pandemic, I often reflect on those who continue to give in the hopes of ensuring that access to justice is realized. The 77 Society has proven to be an integral part of the DC Bar Foundation's annual giving efforts, and we are incredibly grateful for their hard work and commitment to the civil legal aid network. Please consider joining this generous group. Together for equal access to justice,

Kirra L. Jarratt

Chief Executive Officer

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