I write to you with a sense of urgency to ask for your commitment during this extraordinary time.
COVID-19 is having an unprecedented impact on our city’s most vulnerable residents – persons of color with low-incomes. The statistics are sobering.
According to DC Government data, individuals categorized as Black or African-American make up 46% of DC’s population, but account for 81% of COVID-19-related deaths in the city. And there have already been 75,184 unemployment insurance claims since March 13th (more than 1 of 10 DC residents), compared to 29,000 claims made in all of 2019.
The ripple effects of this virus will create an onslaught of new cases – unemployment compensation, domestic violence, and housing issues to name a few. The capacity of DC’s legal aid network to provide life-saving legal services to the communities of color who need them most is being stretched in unparalleled ways. Fortunately, the DC Bar Foundation is positioned to respond to this crisis. But we need your help in two key ways to provide COVID-19 relief for your DC neighbors:
2. Urge DC Mayor Bowser and your Councilmember to fully fund the Access to Justice Commission’s $19 million budget request
Our extensive knowledge of DC’s legal aid network – and what it needs to stay strong and healthy in times of crisis – means that your gift will have a multiplier effect as we channel our resources across the city to where they are most needed. We are responding with emergency grants and other types of support to bolster the network during these uncertain times. Will you help us?
Across the country, many are using their Donor-Advised Funds to make emergency gifts during this crisis. And the recently-passed CARES Act provides additional donor benefits (https://dcbarfoundation.org/cares-act-offers-charitable-giving-benefits/) for those who support the work of organizations like the DC Bar Foundation who are responding to the COVID-19 crisis.
I hope you will make a gift to the DC Bar Foundation and ask Mayor Bowser and the DC Council to fund the DC Access to Justice Commission’s FY21 budget request of $19 million. Both actions will help keep legal aid services readily available for our most vulnerable neighbors.
You can make your gift online or by check to our office at: 80 M Street SE, Suite 100, Washington, DC 20003.
Thank you – and be well,
Kirra L. Jarratt, Chief Executive Officer