By Monica Geyen
Have you heard of the annual One Hour of Sharing Associates’ Campaign to benefit The Fund for the Legal Aid Society? If so, do you want to become involved, but wonder how to participate and how you can donate? Based heavily in part on materials from the Associates’ Campaign, here is some information on Legal Aid, the campaign, and how you can contribute:
Legal Aid provides free civil legal services to low-income individuals, seniors and families throughout Hennepin County, and people with disabilities throughout Minnesota through the Disability Law Center. Last year, Legal Aid served over 6,500 clients and families dealing with homelessness, domestic abuse, lack of health insurance, physical and mental disabilities and youth in crisis. This demand for legal services is increasing, as is the growing poverty rate in Minnesota.
In 1981, Legal Aid established The Fund as a non-profit corporation dedicated to raising money for Legal Aid from the legal community, recognizing that charitable contributions have a direct impact on the number of clients that Legal Aid is able to serve. The Fund has been Legal Aid’s most stable source of financial support in recent years. The Fund has run its One Hour of Sharing Campaign since 1985, encouraging all lawyers in Hennepin County to contribute the value of one billable hour. Inspired by those efforts, the Associates’ Campaign was established in 2003 by a group of associates interested in raising money for Legal Aid in conjunction with the One Hour of Sharing Campaign. This year, the Associates’ Campaign goal is to raise $90,000. You can be a part of that effort!
2) Considering whether to contribute
Whether you are an associate at a law firm or not, your donation to The Fund for the Legal Aid Society can functionally increase Legal Aid’s ability to assist more clients eligible for services. But giving is a very personal decision. Some lawyers choose to give specifically to legal services organizations, and others choose to give money to non-legal oriented organizations and efforts. Any sort of giving is wonderful–whether in the form of a financial contribution, pro bono service, or any other form of volunteering. If you feel led to give to Legal Aid, the “suggested” donation is the value of one billable hour, but any contribution of any amount counts! The Associates’ Campaign runs through January 31, so you have plenty of time to decide if you would like to give and how much you would like to give.
3) How to contribute easiest way to contribute is online at www.mylegalaid.org. For online gifts, click the drop-down box called “Program Designation” and select “One Hour — Associates” to ensure that your contribution goes towards the Associates’ Campaign. If you are not an associate at a law firm, you can select “One Hour — Individuals” when you donate online.Additionally, law firms often offer a matching gift program to encourage employees to contribute to their favorite charity, so if you haven’t used that yet and you are interested in giving to the campaign, be sure to check with your office administrator on how to elect to use the matching gift option (whether for 2011 or 2012).
If you want to learn more about Legal Aid and the different things they do in our community, visit: www.mylegalaid.org.
Happy giving, and have a blessed Christmas season with family and friends!