I am in the air at approximately 34,000 feet on my way home from Vancouver after attending our NCBF meeting at the ABA Mid-Year Annual Meeting. I can only say it was terrific and those of you who were not able to attend really missed an opportunity to hear outstanding speakers, receive important information for your bar foundation, and an opportunity to network with colleagues from around the country.
It is with great personal pride that I congratulate Fred D. Gray on receiving the NCBP Fellows Award which was presented to him during the ABA luncheon on Friday. He is a well-known civil rights attorney from Tuskegee, Alabama who has been practicing law for 63 years. Using his words to describe this stage of his career as the "sunset years," he continues to work tirelessly to promote equal rights and justice for all. He is the first African American to win this award and how appropriate that he received it during Black History month.
I want to congratulate our own Bob Glaves, Executive Director of The Chicago Bar Foundation, for winning the 2018 Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access. The incubator program that was started under Bob's leadership continues to be the model program setting the standard to be used by bar associations and foundations interested in establishing this type of program. The Chi City Legal law firm was awarded a Meritorious Recognition. This law firm was formed by attorneys who met while participating in The Chicago Bar Foundation's Incubator Program. Congratulations to them for receiving this award and for their innovative ideas.
Our program committee, under the leadership of Andrea Stone, NCBF President-Elect, put on an informative program with national speakers volunteering their time and talent to speak to our members. The overall program was outstanding.
As a result of prior requests for programs relating to planned giving, Paul J. Brahim from Pittsburg with BPU Investment Management, Inc. , spoke about this topic. He was very dynamic and discussed fundraising principles and the importance of creating an emotional connection with your donors through your stories. What was surprising to all of us was his viewpoint that planned giving should not be a major focus of our bar foundation efforts. Our time can be more wisely spent on annual gifts, and if we receive "planned giving" gifts then "Woo hoo".
Natasha Cavanaugh, corporate counsel with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, spoke on how to attract corporate sponsors and led a panel discussion on the big business of corporate giving. Our panel consisted of our own Mary Grath, Cleveland Metro Bar Association; Allistar Dawson, Texas Bar Foundation; Seth Kaufman, Legal Counsel with AT&T; and Nigel Roberts, LexisNexis.
Finally, our Saturday morning program featured Melanie Bragg, a Texas attorney and President of Legal Insight, Inc. Her interactive session focused on how to achieve more and stress less. Mindfulness is a practice we should all try to achieve to increase our capacity or range to get more done in less time with a higher level of engagement and greater sustainability. Her session was informative and refreshing.
Our NCBF Excellence Award winner was Deborah Gross from Philadelphia. She is a true trailblazer in her support for Pennsylvania public interest legal community and the advancement of access to justice. We were pleased that she and her mother were present.
As we always do, we concluded our meeting with an opportunity for our members to gather on a very informal basis. I can say without hesitation that this provides all of us with an opportunity to learn from each other as we discuss issues that are relevant to our individual bar foundations. If you think your bar foundation is alone is dealing with issues of governance, fund raising and other matters, come to our meetings and learn that these issues are prevalent among all of us.
I hope you all had a safe and uneventful trip home.
It is never too early to make your plans to attend our annual meeting in Chicago on August 2 - 4, 2018.
We all do a better job for our respective foundations when we develop personal relationships.