14:29 PM

Missouri Bar Foundation awards $34,000 in grants to legal entities

The Missouri Bar Foundation Board of Trustees approved five grants – totaling $34,000 to help legal entities provide expanded civic education resources, lawyer wellbeing opportunities, statewide training for Legal Aid programs, and a handbook for senior citizens with legal questions.

The Missouri Bar Foundation is a charitable, nonprofit partner to The Missouri Bar that supports lawyers and their families, as well as furthers the law-related education of members and citizens in the state.

Teacher resources

The Missouri Bar Citizenship Education Department received $17,000 total from two foundation grants, each worth $8,500. The grants will help fund an overhaul of The Missouri Bar’s teacher resources webpage on MissouriLawyersHelp.org – including amassing a catalog of lesson plans, presentations, and classroom materials, as well as creating and implementing a marketing strategy to prompt teachers from across Missouri to access the materials.

The Citizenship Education Department already offers several educational events for teachers – like Summer Institute and the Street Law Professional Development Workshop. During these programs, the department shares resources that educators can take back to their classrooms. While many of these materials are already on MissouriLawyersHelp.org, teachers often don’t realize they are available and free to download.

“The teachers who are exposed to materials created by The Missouri Bar use them to achieve extraordinary things in their classrooms,” Dr. Anthony Simones, director of the Citizenship Education Department, states in the grant application. “The problem is that we are reaching only a small percentage of teachers (through Citizenship Education programs) … Our objective is to use the teacher resources webpage to reach a greater number of teachers … across the entirety of Missouri in every setting, from the largest of cities to the most remote of rural locations.”

The department plans to launch the redesigned teacher resources webpage and marketing plan later this year.

Statewide poverty law training

Legal Services of Southern Missouri received a $10,000 grant from The Missouri Bar Foundation on behalf of the state’s four Legal Aid programs – Legal Services of Southern Missouri, Mid-Missouri Legal Services, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, and Legal Aid of Western Missouri – for statewide poverty law training.

The proposed two-day statewide training would focus on landlord-tenant law, domestic violence prevention, elimination of legal barriers to employment, and best practices to assist veterans, among other topics, according to the grant application. These trainings would help about 240 Legal Aid lawyers and staff stay up to date on areas related to poverty law.

“Statewide trainings are a cost-effective way of training large numbers of Legal Aid staff members on changes in the law, particularly those that are uniquely applicable to attorneys representing low-income clients,” the grant application states. “The trainings also facilitate the sharing of information about new best practices that strengthen the programs’ ability to provide high-quality legal representation to all Missourians.”

The Legal Aid programs anticipate conducting the statewide training in fall 2023.

Senior Citizens Handbook

Legal Services of Eastern Missouri received $6,000 from The Missouri Bar Foundation to continue publishing the Senior Citizens Handbook, a legal resource that helps older Missourians understand their legal rights and responsibilities.

Legal Services of Eastern Missouri has partnered with The Missouri Bar since 1977 to produce, publish, and distribute the handbook. The foundation has funded printing services of the handbook since 2011, according to the grant application.

The Senior Citizens Handbook is also available on MissouriLawyersHelp.org.

Missouri Lawyers’ Assistance Conference

The Missouri Lawyers’ Assistance Program received a $1,000 grant from The Missouri Bar Foundation to help with expenses from the 2022 annual Missouri Lawyers’ Assistance Conference, which offered educational opportunities for volunteers and committee members who work with MOLAP. Topics at the hybrid event included lawyer wellbeing, mental health, substance recovery, related ethics topics, and more.

The 2022 Missouri Lawyers’ Assistance Conference will be rebroadcasted as a webinar from 8 a.m.-12:45 p.m. April 7. Click here to register for the event.

For more information about grant opportunities through The Missouri Bar Foundation, click here.