Massachusetts Bar Foundation Celebrates Grant Recipients and Presents President’s Awards

The Massachusetts Bar Foundation (MBF) recently presented President’s Awards to Fitchburg attorney James T. Van Buren, Esq., and Robert S. Molloy, Esq., of Destination XL Group, Inc, in Canton.  Given annually at the MBF’s Grantee Receptions, held in Worcester at Bowditch and Dewey, LLP, and in Boston at the Massachusetts Bar Association, the President’s Award recognizes exceptional MBF supporters for their commitment to increasing access to justice for the most vulnerable in Massachusetts.

Robert E. Longden of Bowditch and Dewey, LLP, MBF President Janet F. Aserkoff, MBF Grantee Speaker Dayanna J. Moreno of Ascentria Community Services, and MBF President's Award Recipient James T. Van Buren

Robert E. Longden of Bowditch and Dewey, LLP, MBF President Janet F. Aserkoff, MBF Grantee Speaker Dayanna J. Moreno of Ascentria Community Services, and MBF President's Award Recipient James T. Van Buren

Mr. Van Buren was honored for both his dedication to the MBF and his advocacy for access to justice and civil legal services. Van Buren’s involvement with the MBF began in 1991, when he joined the MBF Society of Fellows. He has served as a Grant Advisory Committee member annually, reviewing programs across the state to ensure that MBF funds are being used as effectively as possible. In addition to his work with the MBF, Van Buren has been involved with a number of other legal services organizations, including Community Legal Aid of Worcester, the Mass. Access to Justice Commission, and the Worcester County Bar Foundation, to name a few.

“Jim is a champion of the MBF and our mission,” said MBF President Janet F. Aserkoff of Boston’s Rappaport Aserkoff & Gelles, “his vast knowledge of the needs of low-income communities, as well as of the state’s legal services landscape, makes him a wonderful resource to the MBF.  It is our great privilege to honor his outstanding support of legal services and the Massachusetts Bar Foundation in this way.”

MBF Executive Director Elizabeth M. Lynch, MBF President's Award Recipient Robert S. Molloy, and MBF President Janet F. Aserkoff

MBF Executive Director Elizabeth M. Lynch, MBF President's Award Recipient Robert S. Molloy, and MBF President Janet F. Aserkoff

A devoted volunteer and generous donor since joining the MBF Society of Fellows in 2008, Bob Molloy has volunteered annually for the MBF’s grant review process, helping to ensure the availability of civil legal services for those in need. Molloy has volunteered with other justice organizations as well, including MetroWest Legal Services, from whom he received the Nancy King Award in 2011 in recognition of his service as co-chair of the MWLS Fundraising Committee, a post he has held since 1999. He is the Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Destination XL Group.

“Bob truly represents the very best of the legal profession. His strong commitment to working to increase access to justice, and his generosity towards the Massachusetts Bar Foundation, has not gone unnoticed. We are proud to honor him, both in recognition and with gratitude, for all that he does,” said Aserkoff.

The receptions were also an opportunity for the MBF to celebrate its current grant recipients and their work, which includes providing civil legal services to people who otherwise could not afford them and improving the administration of justice in the Commonwealth. These programs help thousands of individuals and families in Massachusetts who have legal issues relating to domestic violence, housing, access to special education services, healthcare, discrimination, and many more. Dayanna Moreno, Esq., program manager of Ascentria Community Services’ Immigration Legal Assistance Program, in Worcester and Boston University law student James van Wagtendonk, a 2016 recipient of the MBF’s Legal Intern Fellowship and former intern at Greater Boston Legal Services in Boston were this years’ grantee speakers.

This year, the MBF awarded over $2.6 million in grants through its annual Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Grants Program. These grants will fund 92 programs conducted by 60 nonprofit organizations throughout Massachusetts. Representatives from many of these organizations were in attendance.

 

MBF Awards $2.6 Million in Grants for Legal Aid Programs Across Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Bar Foundation (MBF) recently awarded over $2.6 million to 92 programs conducted by 60 nonprofit organizations through its annual IOLTA grants program. For the first time since the recession, the MBF was able to award a significantly higher amount of funding to its grantees.

“Thanks to funding the MBF received from a nationwide settlement with Bank of America, we were able to increase funding for grants by almost $700,000 over last year,” said MBF President Janet F. Aserkoff of Boston’s Rappaport Aserkoff & Gelles. “MBF grantees are working every day to meet an enormous demand for civil legal assistance. We are proud to be able to support these critically needed programs throughout the state.”

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 include 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. Funds from the Bank of America settlement were distributed to IOLTA programs all over the United States.

A complete listing of the 2016/2017 IOLTA grant recipients is available here.

2016 President’s Award Recipients Announced: James T. Van Buren and Robert S. Molloy

The Massachusetts Bar Foundation proudly announces that two of its most dedicated volunteers will be honored with President’s Awards at the upcoming MBF Grantee Receptions. Award recipients are:

  • James T. Van Buren, Law Office of James T. Van Buren, in Fitchburg
  • Robert S. Molloy, Destination XL Group, Inc., in Canton

Van Buren, an MBF Louis D. Brandeis Life Fellow and Justice Circle member who practices in Fitchburg, has been a stalwart advocate for access to justice from the earliest days of his legal career. Jim joined the MBF Society of Fellows in 1991, and has participated in the MBF grant review process annually, serving on both regional and statewide grant committees. Beyond the MBF, Jim has been a long-time supporter of civil legal aid both locally and statewide, serving as a member of the MA Access to Justice Commission since its inception, and a leader of many bar-related organizations including the Mass. Bar Association and the Worcester County Bar Association. Jim will receive his award at the Central & Western Mass. Grantee Reception, in Worcester, on October 19.

Molloy, an Oliver Wendell Holmes Life Fellow, is being honored for his longstanding support of the MBF and its mission to increase access to justice. He is the senior vice president, general counsel, and secretary of Destination XL Group, a publically held company in Canton.  A dedicated volunteer and generous donor, Bob has volunteered annually to assist the MBF in its grant making process. His dedication and commitment to increasing the availability of services to those in need has made him a true asset to the MBF’s grant making program. Bob is also a long-time volunteer for MetroWest Legal Services in Framingham, and he received the Nancy King Award in 2011 in recognition of his service as co-chair of the MWLS Fundraising Committee, a post he has held since 1999. Bob will receive his award at the Eastern Mass. Grantee Reception, in Boston, on October 26.

The MBF hosts grantee receptions annually to show its appreciation to the MBF grantees and supporters. For more information or to RSVP, please click here

MBF awards $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, 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.

This year’s award recipients are:

Mario Paredes
Boston University School of Law
Kids in Need of Defense
(Supported by MBF Fellows Fund)


Candace Pierre
New England Law │ Boston
Harvard Legal Aid Bureau: Family Law Unit
(Supported by MBF Fellows Fund)



James van Wagtendonk
Boston University School of Law
Greater Boston Legal Services: Employment Law Unit
(Supported by MBF Fellows Fund)


Rachel Bier
Boston University School of Law
Northeast Legal Aid: Family and Housing Law Unit
(Supported by the Smith Family Fund)

 

 

Click here for more information about the MBF's Legal Intern Fellowship Program.

The MBF welcomes new President Janet F. Aserkoff

MBF immediate past President Robert J. Ambrogi passed the gavel to Janet F. Aserkoff at the 2016 Annual Meeting.

MBF immediate past President Robert J. Ambrogi passed the gavel to Janet F. Aserkoff at the 2016 Annual Meeting.

The Massachusetts Bar Foundation has elected as its new president Janet F. Aserkoff, managing partner of New Boston Fund Inc.’s affiliated law firm, Rappaport, Aserkoff & Gelles.  Aserkoff will lead a board of twenty-one members, made up of lawyers and judges from across the commonwealth, all dedicated to increasing access to justice in Massachusetts, particularly for low-income and vulnerable individuals and families.

“The MBF is very lucky to have Janet Aserkoff as its new president,” said immediate past President Robert J. Ambrogi of Rockport. “She is not only a talented lawyer, but also a dynamite nonprofit leader.”

Aserkoff first became a Fellow of the Massachusetts Bar Foundation in 1980, and she’s been an active member in many ways, including participating in the Foundation’s annual grant application review process and serving in various officer roles for the Board of Trustees.  She was also recently appointed to serve on the Massachusetts IOLTA Committee.

In addition to her work with the MBF, Aserkoff has been an active volunteer on behalf of her Alma Mater, Mount Holyoke College. She served on the Board of Trustees from 2006 to 2011, on the Board of Directors of the Alumnae Association, and is the recipient of its medal of honor.  Aserkoff has also served on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Rashi School in Newton, Massachusetts, and is a founding member of the Boston Jewish Community Women's Fund.