Our History

1984 - Pennsylvania Bar Foundation incorporated.
1989

Louis J. Goffman Award Fund established to recognize and reward outstanding pro bono service.

1989

Foundation becomes designated recipient of IOLTA funds.

1991

Foundation creates first memorial funds.

1991

Foundation begins IOLTA Local Options Program. Receives and distributes funds for counties lacking qualified bar foundations. From 1991 – 1996, the programs distributes over $2 million.

1993

Foundation undertakes joint project with Pennsylvania Bar Association to create and fund Pro Bono Coordinator position.

1993

Foundation funds first televise broadcast of PBA/YLD Mock Trial Competition.

1994

PA Lawyers Auxiliary transfers law school scholarship program and funds to Foundation.

1995

Foundation partners with PBA to celebrate PBA’s Centennial. $100 for 100th Fund created to support the purchase of the Belden Building to expand Bar Center.

1996

Foundation provides initial funding for Disabilities Lawyer Referral Service.

1998

Foundation and PBA Young Lawyers Division create joint grant program to provide cash and LexisNexis research time awards to Pennsylvania’s legal services community.

1998

Foundation and Pennsylvania Bar Institute begins partnership to support law-related education and access to justice initiatives. Over next four years, Foundation receives more than $800,000 to support more than 100 programs.

1999

Foundation presents first Service to Humanity Award to author John Grisham.

2000

Foundation presents second Service to Humanity Award to Hon. Louise Arbor.

2000

“Essay on the Practice” literary competition launched to create a scholarly forum for practitioners to comment about the future of the practice of law.

2000

Sustaining Patron recognition category created to encourage existing Life Fellows to continue to support the Foundation.

2001

Supporting youth–justice education programming emerges as a new direction for the Foundation.

2002

Foundation establishes James W. Stoudt Memorial Scholarship Fund of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation.

2002

Bar Association provides full-time staffing for Foundation.

2003

Foundation launches web site: www.pabarfoundation.org

2003

“Night Out with the Foundation,” a friend and fundraising event, debuts with “Dinner on the Run” at Penn National Racecourse.

2005

Foundation creates first donor-advised funds.

2005

Foundation expands grant support to support annual statewide pro bono conference, an educational forum dedicated to training and expanding the number of attorneys providing free legal services in Pennsylvania.

2008

Foundation expands grant support to the annual Diversity Summit, a statewide forum devoted to fostering diversity and inclusiveness in the legal profession.

2008

Foundation and Bar Association partner to provide funding support for the National Family Forum on Children, Families and the Courts: Planning for the Future conference.

2008

Foundation awards first Modest Means Panel grants to encourage local county bar associations to establish lawyer referral programs for moderate income Pennsylvanians.

2008

Foundation approached by PA IOLTA and PBA Loan Forgiveness and Repayment Assistance Committee to develop statewide LRAP program.

2009

Modest Means Program sunsetted. Four grants awarded over 2-year program lifespan.

2010

Foundation receives $1,050,000 grant from PA IOLTA to launch first statewide loan repayment assistance program for attorneys employed in IOLTA-funded organizations.

2011

First year of loan repayment assistance program awards 75 loans valued at more than $245,000. 84 loans valued at more than $300,000.

2012

Foundation receives $10,000 grant from Pittsburgh Foundation to increase Louis J. Goffman Award endowment to $25,000.

2012

Second year of loan repayment assistant program awards 85 loans values at more than $300,000.

2012

Foundation rededicates its mission to supporting programs that increase the public’s understanding of the law and promote equal access to justice.

2013

Third year of loan repayment assistance program awards 80 loans valued at more than $350,000.

2013

Wayne County Bar Association and PBA Workers’ Compensation Section establish dedicated funds with the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation.

2013

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania approves IOLTA grant for the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation’s continued administration of the loan repayment assistance program in the amount of $1,050,858 for a 3-year grant period, January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2016.

2013

Foundation launches Named Scholarship Program. Joseph T. McDonald Scholarship Fund of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation established. First $3,000 scholarship awarded to Dickinson School of Law student with trial advocacy focus.

2014

Fourth year of loan repayment assistance program awards 90 loans valued at more than $380,000.

2014

Three new funds established: The Patti Rose Scheimer Bednarik Memorial Scholarship Fund to support animal advocates; the CERC Paper and Documentary Contest Pass-Through Fund to support educational outreach to college students about the effect state and local policies have on the protection of civil and equal rights; and the fiscal agency fund for Pennsylvania Serving Learning Association to facilitate the receipt of a $10,000 grant from State Farm Insurance Company to support service learning programming and training initiatives across the state.

2014

The Butler County Consumer Credit/Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program receives the 2014 Louis J. Goffman Award for outstanding pro bono service. The award recognized the program’s success in saving homes, helping families and reducing the consumer credit and foreclosure litigation that threatened the well-being of county residents and the efficiency of the court.

2014

Foundation provides the grants to PBA in the amount of $32,500 to support programs law-related education programs consistent with its mission.

2015

Fifth year of loan repayment assistance program provides 105 attorneys working at 29 different civil legal services organizations across the state more than $340,000 of loan repayment assistance.

2015

Birdsall Grant awarded to Butler County Bar Association to assist in launch of county bar foundation dedicated to law – related education and charitable activities.

2015

Foundation conducts first LIVE Auction Event during PBA Annual Dinner.

2015

The Widener University School of Law - Dauphin County Bar Association Incubator Program receives the 2015 Louis J. Goffman Award for outstanding pro bono service. The award recognized the unique and innovative partnership geared to helps meet the legal needs of low and moderate-income individuals while helping new lawyers secure work and offset the significant expenses associated with establishing a law practice.

2015

Belden Building sold. Sale generates more than $60,000 for Foundation.

2015

Foundation’s website redesigned. New functionality includes online donations, committee sign-up, downloadable scholarship and grant applications.

2015

Foundation grants PBA $32,500 for law-related education programming consistent with its mission.

2015

Million Miles for Justice Car Contest to benefit LRAP, pro bono and law-related education launched.

2016

Sixth year of the loan repayment assistance program provides 113 attorneys working at 29 different IOLTA-funded civil legal services organizations across the state more than $350,000 of loan repayment assistance.

2016

Million Miles for Justice Car Contest awards 2016 Honda Accord grand prize during PBA Annual Meeting. Conducts second LIVE Auction Event in addition to Foundation of Treasures Silent Auction.

2016

Foundation receives $5,000 contribution from PBA Family Law Section.

2016

David Millstein, a.k.a. Sua Sponte, receives 2016 Louis J. Goffman Award for outstanding pro bono service. The award recognized Attorney Millstein’s near single-handed transformation of the Westmoreland County Bar Association Pro Bono program into a robust legal clinic.

2016

Foundation awarded $1.7 million grant for the continued administration of the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation – PA IOLTA Loan Repayment Assistance Program for a third, three year grant cycle, 2017 – 2020. Since inception, the Foundation has requested and received grants in excess of $3 million for the program’s administration and contributed $50,000 towards its success.

2016

o Foundation grants PBA $32,500 for law-related education programming consistent with its mission.

2017

Seventh year of the loan repayment assistance program provides 118 attorneys working at 29 different IOLTA-funded civil legal services organizations across the state more than $490,000. Increase in grant allows maximum level of assistance to be increased from $3500 to $5500.

2017

Erie County Bar Association receives 2017 Birdsall Impact Grant to purchase equipment and resources for the new CLE center in its new Bar building.

2017

Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity receives 2017 Louis J. Goffman Award for outstanding pro bono service. The award recognized the success of PLSE’s criminal record expungement program, an initiative responsible for the eradication of more than 20,000 different “individual charges.”

2017

The Louise Hoffmeyer-Overmiller Memorial Scholarship Fund, a named scholarship program established by William H. Hoffmeyer, awards its first $6,000 to Dickinson School of Law 2L Christopher Harris. The scholarship will be paid directly to the law school to offset Mr. Harris’ 3L tuition expense.

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