About the Foundation


The Barbara McDowell and Gerald S. Hartman Foundation's mission is to improve the economic well-being and social conditions of disadvantaged persons and groups in the United States through the making of grants to organizations that undertake systemic litigation with the funds they receive and by coordinating direct, pro-bono litigation through our High Impact Project.

To learn more about how you can help create social justice through legal action, go to our Donate page.

Barbara McDowell was an exceptional advocate for social justice reforms with a decorated legal career. Following her untimely death from brain cancer at the age of 56, Barbara’s husband, Jerry Hartman, established the foundation in her name to honor and continue her extraordinary work.

Established in April 2009, the Barbara McDowell Foundation has distributed $1,200,000 in grants to 44 organizations nationwide, with a steady increase in the amount of each annual grant from $2,500 per grant in 2010 to $50,000 per grant in 2021.

The Foundation’s grantmaking and High Impact Project have benefited diverse constituent populations by focusing upon a variety of social justice causes.