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Foundation surpasses $500 million in lifetime grant funding

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Foundation officers

FOUNDATION Executive Director Donny MacKenzie, from the left; First Vice President Stephen R. Senn; Immediate Past President Juliette E. Lippman; President Hala A. Sandridge; President-elect Thomas R. Oldt; and Second Vice President Connie Bookman celebrate the Foundation surpassing $500 million in lifetime grant funding.

The Florida Bar Foundation has surpassed $500 million in lifetime grant funding.

With its board’s approval September 13 of $3.3 million to provide nine grants through its Engle Grant program, the Foundation has given more than half a billion dollars in grants since 1982.

Last year, the Foundation distributed $10.8 million in grants to more than 40 legal aid organizations in Florida, including Innocence Project of Florida, Florida Legal Services, and IDignity. More than 80,000 legal aid cases were handled by Foundation grantees in 2018. A 2016 study found that civil legal assistance generates $7.19 of economic impact for every dollar spent on legal aid.

Through the Foundation’s funding, hundreds of thousands of low-income children and adults, veterans, disaster survivors, and elderly and disabled Floridians have gained access to civil legal aid to assist them with issues ranging from bankruptcy and evictions to domestic violence injunctions and denial of health-care benefits.

The Engle Grant program is an example of an innovative funding source for the Foundation, whose revenue from Florida’s IOTA Program has decreased dramatically since 2007. As a result of sanctions in a federal court case, a four-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida entrusted the Foundation with the money to increase representation in courts through grants to legal aid organizations.

Foundation President Hala A. Sandridge, a co-managing shareholder of the Tampa office of Buchanan, Ingersoll and Rooney, announced the milestone September 13 at the Foundation’s quarterly board of directors meeting.

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