Georgia Bar Journal
GSB Vol. 13, NO. 5, Pg. 38.
Building a Lasting Legacy for Justice: The Georgia Legal Services Foundation Builds an Endowment for the Georgia Legal Services Program
GSB JournalVol. 13, NO. 5February 2007Building a Lasting Legacy for Justice: The Georgia Legal Services Foundation Builds an Endowment for the Georgia Legal Services ProgramJeanette Burroughs, CFREWe know that justice for all is one of the bedrock principles of our nation. It is also a core value for the Georgia Legal Services (GLS) Foundation, now in its 12th year of building and preserving an endowment for the Georgia Legal Services Program-our state's largest legal services organization. The program provides critical civil legal services free-of-charge to eligible low-income residents in 154 counties outside metro-Atlanta. Incorporated in 1971 by members of the Younger Lawyers Section of the State Bar of Georgia, the program's mission is to provide access to justice and opportunities out of poverty for low-income Georgians.
The leaders of the Georgia Legal Services Program had a dream of creating an endowment as a permanent source of support almost since the organization was founded in 1971. In 1996, an opportunity arose to begin establishing the endowment that the program's leaders had envisioned. In a decision that was a national precedent because of its size, U.S. District Judge Marvin Shoob awarded a $1 million cy pres award to the Georgia Legal Services Program from a national antitrust case involving a number of airlines.
On Dec. 13, 1996, the GLS Foundation was incorporated as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Walter Jospin served as board president from 1997-99. Board members were appointed by the Georgia Legal Services Program and by the GLS Foundation itself and included Alice Ball, Aaron Buchsbaum, Jean Bergmark, the Hon. Harold G. Clarke, Paula Frederick, Melita Easters Hayes, Mary Mendel Katz, the Hon. Mary Margaret Oliver and Michael Terry.
"The original mission of the GLS Foundation was to be a `bedrock' for the Georgia Legal Services Program: a hedge against the fluctuations of funding that con-stantly threaten all non-profit organizations," says Paul T. Carroll III, GLS Foundation president from 1999 to 2007 and Georgia Legal Services Program president from 1995 to 1998.
The GLS Foundation...