The Foundation of the Monroe County Bar awarded seven grants in 2012 totaling $40,000 to support charitable and humane programs that are vital not only to the legal community, but the community as a whole.
The seven grants are made possible through the Foundation’s annual Raise the Bar appeal and the Jazz for Justice fundraising event. Donations made to the appeal and Jazz for Justice support programs and projects like those below. Based on recommendations by the Grants Committee, chaired by Cheryl Heller, the Foundation’s Board of Directors approved grants for the following projects:
Rochester Legal Diversity Clerkship Program
A grant of $15,000 was awarded to the Rochester Legal Diversity Clerkship Program. The program is co-sponsored by the MCBA (through its Diversity Committee), the Rochester Black Bar Association (RBBA), and the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys (GRAWA). This program seeks to increase diversity in the legal profession in the Rochester area by attracting qualified first-year law students from historically under-represented groups within the legal profession. The funds will be used to pay the salary of a first year law student with one of the legal service providers for a 10‑week summer internship this coming year and to help defray costs of educational and social program held for the students throughout the summer.
Rochester Teen Court
This grant in the amount of $13,000 will be used to help fund the Rochester Teen Court under the umbrella of The Center for Youth. Teen Court is a diversion program operated through the City Court of Rochester for young adults who have committed first-time, non-violent crimes. Defendants whose cases are transferred to Teen Court have a disposition of their criminal charges by teen peers acting as prosecutors, defense counsel, court personnel and jurors. A Rochester City Court judge presides over the proceedings, and teen jurors recommend sentencing.
A.C.T.* For the Children (*Assisting Children through Transition)
A grant in the amount of $3,000 will be used to continue the A.C.T. For the Children program. the program helps children whose parents divorce or separate by providing information and strategies to parents on ways to interact that engender less stress and conflict. The program also makes parents more knowledgeable participants in the legal process by providing an overview of the legal process and various options to resolve their differences.
Lawyers for Learning’s Peace Camp
A grant in the amount of $3,500 will be used toward funding Peace Camp, a program sponsored by Lawyers for Learning. As part of the Lawyers for Learning partnership with the Monroe County Center for Education, Peace Camp is designed to give underprivileged children the opportunity to learn the importance of appropriate behavior and working together with civility through team building events at a camp facility. For many children, this camp provides their first opportunity to venture outside of the City of Rochester.
Deaf Equal Access Fund of the Monroe County Bar Association (MCBA)
A grant in the amount of $1,500 will help provide association member attorneys with partial reimbursement for the costs of interpreters for the deaf and hard to hearing, hired through a collaborative partnership with Lifespan. The MCBA is committed to promoting equal access for the Greater Rochester Area’s 50,000 deaf and hard of hearing citizens and assisting local attorneys in fulfilling their obligations to this unique community according to the requirements of the American with Disabilities Act.
Sydney R. Rubin High School Mock Trial Competition
A grant in the amount of $1,000 will be used to help fund this annual high school mock trial competition. The competition provides an opportunity for high school students to learn about the law and its protocol and procedures, as students from different schools throughout Monroe County compete against each other in trial competitions. Each year, the tournament hosts 200 to 250 students representing 18-22 high schools, along with a number of volunteer teacher coaches, attorney team advisors, judges and court personnel.
Legal Aid Society’s Youth Advocacy Program
A grant in the amount of $3,000 will be used to help fund the Youth Advocacy Program which is a specialized advocacy programs for Rochester’s youth at risk of underachievement, school failure, and dropping out. The individualized representation provided will increase their education and life opportunities and facilitate improved educational outcomes. As a part of the new initiative of the Legal Aid Society, Attorney for the Child Program, this grant will address education needs of youth in foster care.