EJF Takes on Fundraising
An EJF race participant crosses the finish line.
GW Laws Equal Justice Foundation organized its first annual Race for Justice, benefiting the Loan Reimbursement Assistance Program, on Saturday, March 27, 2004, at Hains Point in East Potomac Park in Washington. Budding cherry blossoms brightened a rainy morning as more than 50 runners and volunteers showed up to run or walk the 5K course. The event culminated in a presentation of plaques to winners in student, alumni, faculty, and community categories. Many thanks go to the student group co-sponsors in addition to the 80 individuals who supported the race, which raised approximately $2,000.
A higher demand on LRAPs forgivable loan funds coincides with the Law Schools growing public interest community. LRAP is designed to alleviate the financial burdens of the Law Schools recent graduates (1990 and later) who pursue public interest employment. In recent years, LRAP funds have benefited graduates working at places such as Legal Aid Societies, Urban Justice Center, Catholic Migration Office, Government Accountability Project, Childrens Law Center, Anti-Defamation League, Good Shepherd Ministries, and Caring Unlimited.
This springs event marks the beginning of a Law School tradition designed to foster community spirit among participants as well as raise funds to promote public interest work after graduation. Look for information next spring about the 2nd Annual Race for Justice.
This year the EJF also created a 1% Club to increase the amount of money it raises for students who are doing public interest work in the summer with organizations that cannot pay them. Students who are working at firms over the summer are pledging 1 percent of their salary to their fellow classmates in unpaid positions. Students joining the 1% Club have a chance to share the wealth while they are getting paid and gaining valuable legal experience. Through these funds they are also providing legal services to those who are underrepresented in receiving legal services. To recognize their generosity and community support, members of the club will receive a 1% Club t-shirt and their name will be added to the 1% Club membership list published each year in the EJF auction program. All proceeds will go directly toward EJF grants for students who work at public interest organizations during the summer.
Lastly, this years EJF Auction was a huge success. The auction raises funds to provide grants to people working in public interest during the summer. This years EJF auctioneers included Dean David Johnson, Professors Mary Cheh, Gregory Maggs, and Eric Sirulnik, and SBA President Corrie Westbrook. They all did a wonderful job of keeping things moving, spotting bids, and making sure everything went for a great price. EJF branched out this year and successfully posted several items on eBay. These items generated additional funds from a wider audience. This years auction reached a new high, raising close to $30,000 and having an enormous turn out.
Logan Hambrick, 06
Ongoing Public Interest Projects
The Animal Welfare Legal Reform Project is GWs chapter of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund. It is dedicated to providing a forum for education, advocacy, and scholarship aimed at protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system, and raising the profile of the field of animal law. This year the project hosted The Animal Welfare Summit: Reforming Animal Welfare Laws in the District of Columbia, attended by a large number of students and members of local animal welfare organizations.
The project also administers the Pro Bono Reform Project, in which law students may participate in activities aimed at reforming animal welfare laws and improving their enforcement in the District of Columbia. This effort shall be accomplished, where appropriate, through drafting and proposing laws to the City Council, initiating lawsuits, and participating in ballot initiatives. Credit towards the Law Schools pro bono program is given to participants.
During summer of 2004, the project will have the help of a full-time research assistant, who will create a comprehensive report of D.C.s animal welfare laws and begin researching areas for reform that the project will distribute to its pro bono participants in the fall.
Kerry Contini, 06