RALEIGH, December 11, 2017 – The Wake County Bar Association presented an eye-popping $106,746 gift to Legal Aid of North Carolina during the Tenth Judicial District's Annual Meeting on Dec. 5. Proceeds were raised during the tenth annual Wake Bar Awards fundraiser and variety show Nov. 2 in Raleigh through sponsorships, a silent auction, private contributions and remaining funds from the October retirement party for Judge Donald W. Stephens of the Wake County Superior Court. This year's haul is not only the largest in the event's history – it broke last year's record by over $17,000 – it's the largest amount brought in by any fundraiser for Legal Aid in recent memory.
"Wow," said Victor Boone, managing attorney of our Raleigh office. "We have never been more grateful for the support of the Wake County Bar Association. Its members are uniquely committed to supporting our mission and are incredibly generous with their time and resources. We thank them and, especially, all of the individuals involved in the fundraising effort and Bar Awards program for making both undertakings such a success. They make a tremendous difference in helping us meet the vast legal issues that confront our client community."
"Lawyers of the Wake County Bar Association and the Tenth Judicial District bar are committed to the idea that all people, regardless of income, are entitled to access to justice in our courts," said Ashley Campbell, President of the Wake County Bar Association and Tenth Judicial District Bar. "We are proud to make this gift to Legal Aid of North Carolina to honor this commitment and to support our community."
The Wake Bar Awards are unique, not only for the support they inspire for Legal Aid, but for the raucous entertainment they provide. This is no staid cocktail hour or "rubber chicken" dinner. Rather, it's a no-holds-barred variety show where lawyers let their hair down to rock out, act out, let loose and laugh out loud. This year's superhero-themed event, "Rogue Justice," featured musical numbers, presentation of the Golden Limine awards, a silent auction and plenty of legal luminaries decked out in wild costumes.
"At times like these, we need big laughs as much as we need big checks," George Hausen, executive director of Legal Aid, said. "With potential federal funding cuts on the horizon, support from the private bar – and the chance to have fun with our colleagues – are as important as ever. On behalf of everyone at Legal Aid, I want to thank the Wake County Bar Association and all its members for supporting equal justice and for having fun while they do it. Cheers!"
In Washington, funding for the Legal Services Corporation, the largest funder of civil legal aid programs in the country, is in a precarious position. The White House seeks to eliminate LSC in its budget proposal for fiscal year 2018, a move that would result in the loss of about half of our funding. The outlook is better in Congress, though House appropriators are seeking an $85 million cut for LSC, which would mean millions of dollars lost for us. Senate appropriators, on the other hand, are seeking level funding for LSC.
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