MBF celebrates grantees and honors Beth Lynch at 2019 Grantee Reception

The Massachusetts Bar Foundation (MBF) hosted its 2019 Grantee Reception on September 26 at Nutter, McClennen and Fish in Boston, to celebrate and honor its current grant recipients and recognize leading supporters of the foundation. MBF fellows, donors, friends, and representatives from many of the 90 programs currently funded by the MBF were in attendance.

This year, the MBF awarded $2.5 million in grants through its annual Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Grants Program. These programs help thousands of individuals and families in Massachusetts each year who have legal issues relating to domestic violence, immigration status, housing, access to special education services, healthcare, discrimination, and many more.

MBA Secretary, Damian Turco of Turco Law, welcomed those in attendance, and Betsy Soulé of Metro West Legal Services served as this year’s grantee speaker. She highlighted the critical services provided by Metro West with support from the MBF. Her stories of specific individuals and families assisted this past year drove home to those in attendance the critical nature of the services provided, as well as the tenacity and commitment of the legal aid attorneys working for Metro West and other MBF grantees.

MBF President, Harvey Weiner of Peabody and Arnold, served as emcee of the event and presented the 2019 President’s Award to former Executive Director, Beth Lynch. Given annually, the MBF President’s Award recognizes exceptional MBF supporters for their commitment to increasing access to justice for the most vulnerable in our state. Lynch served the Foundation for 20 years and was its Executive Director from 2005-2019. Past MBF President, Tony Stankiewicz of the Codman Square Health Center, who helped to hire Lynch in 2005, shared his recollections with guests as well.

Click here to see photos from the event.

Susannah Thomas Named MBF Executive Director

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The MBF Board of Trustees is delighted to announce that Susannah Thomas will re-join the MBF on Sept. 16, as its new Executive Director. Thomas will take over for Beth Lynch who stepped down in August to become Executive Director of the Cabot Family Foundation.

Thomas, who served as MBF Development Director from 2005-2011, has spent the last 8 years as Executive Director of Neville Communities, Inc. (NCI) a nonprofit organization in Cambridge that provides assisted living, skilled nursing and rehabilitation services to seniors. Prior to her roles at NCI and the MBF, Thomas held various nonprofit leadership positions in the mental health, housing and healthcare sectors. Though her varied experiences, Thomas has honed her skills as a nonprofit administrator, community builder, strategic thinker and dynamic leader. She received her undergraduate degree from UMass Amherst and her Masters in Social Work from Boston University.

The MBF Search Committee received applications from an extraordinarily talented and impressive pool of candidates. According to MBF President, Harvey Weiner of Peabody & Arnold, "Thomas was an ideal candidate for the job, given her prior success at the MBF, her varied experiences as a nonprofit executive, and her career-long dedication to social justice. She is also a very conscientious, positive and enthusiastic individual and we know all of our constituents will enjoy working with her."

"I loved my prior work at the MBF," Thomas explains "largely due to the connection I felt to the mission and the relationships made with the MBF Grantees, Fellows, the Bar Association and the legal community as a whole. I have great affinity and respect for the social justice aspirations of the Foundation, and I am honored and excited to once again be a part of carrying that vision forward."

MBF Awards $2.5 Million to Legal Aid Programs

The Massachusetts Bar Foundation (MBF) recently awarded $2.5 million to 91 programs conducted by 58 different nonprofit organizations through its annual IOLTA grants program.

“The MBF grant recipients are working hard every day to make justice a reality for thousands of vulnerable and marginalized individuals and families across the state,” said President Harvey Weiner of Boston’s Peabody & Arnold. “We couldn’t be more proud to support their important efforts.”

MBF IOLTA grants support projects that either offer civil legal services to people who could not afford them, or improve the administration of justice in the Commonwealth. Grants providing direct legal services include support to domestic violence programs, special education advocacy, humanitarian immigration assistance, and homelessness prevention. Grants to improve the administration of justice support efforts such as court-connected mediation and lawyer of the day programs.

The Massachusetts Bar Foundation is one of three charitable entities in Massachusetts that distributes funds from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts Program. The MBF also relies heavily on the donations it receives from its various giving initiatives, including the MBF Society of Fellows and the MBF Law Firm & Corporate Partnership Program.

Click here to view a complete listing of the 2019/2020 IOLTA grant recipients.

Longtime MBF Executive Director to step down

A message to the MBF community

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Dear Friends:

After more than nineteen wonderful years at the MBF, I am writing to share that I will be stepping down from my position and starting a new job as executive director of the Cabot Family Charitable Trust in August.

Words cannot express how much I have loved working with the Foundation, Mass. Bar Association, and the legal services community. It has been an extraordinary opportunity.

A search committee has been formed to identify the next MBF Executive Director. If you have any recommendations or interest in being considered for this role, please contact the search committee via email: mbfpresident@massbar.org. Click here to review the position description.

I would like to express my profound gratitude to the MBF Trustees, Grantees, and Friends who helped make my time here so rewarding. It has been a great privilege to share this experience with you.

Sincerely,

Beth Lynch


MBF Grants $24,000 to Law Students for Public Interest Internships

The MBF Trustees proudly announce that four exceptional law students were recently selected to receive a stipend of $6,000 each for their unpaid summer internships at non-profit legal aid organizations in Massachusetts.

The grants are provided through the MBF’s Legal Intern Fellowship Program (LIFP), which is funded by the MBF Fellows Fund and the Smith Family Fund and has two concurrent goals: to give talented students the experience and encouragement they need to continue in the public interest law sector and to provide legal aid organizations with much-needed additional staff capacity for the summer. 

“Once again, the LIFP applicants exhibited exceptional talent and represented diverse backgrounds,” said LIFP Committee Chair Angela McConney Scheepers. “The Mass Bar Foundation is thrilled with this year’s awardees, and look forward to following their legal careers.”

This year’s award recipients are:

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Eric Davey
Northeastern University School of Law
Greater Boston Legal Services
(Supported by MBF Fellows Fund)

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Chloe Meade
Boston University School of Law
Kids In Need of Defense (KIND)
(Supported by Smith Family Fund)

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Krista Oehlke
Harvard Law School
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts
(Supported by MBF Fellows Fund)

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Ashley Zink
Boston University School of Law
MetroWest Legal Services
(Supported by MBF Fellows Fund)