Barbara McDowell Foundation 2019 Year in Review
The Barbara McDowell Foundation had a busy and successful 2019 on behalf of our mission to improve the economic well-being, social conditions, and civil liberties of disadvantaged persons and groups in the United States. We look forward, with your help, to continuing the Foundation’s work to further social justice through legal action in 2020.
The Foundation’s accomplishments in 2019 included:
-- Selecting the Foundation’s five 2020 grant recipients, who each received $40,000, for a total of $200,000 in grant awards. The 2020 grantees and their funded cases, which were chosen from a record 72 applicants, are:
- Fair Elections Center
- A case aimed at restoring voting rights to felons
- National Center for Law and Economic Justice
- A challenge to unlawful police stops that impact minority communities
- National Veterans Legal Services Program
- A case to end unreasonable delays of veteran's medical appeals
- National Women's Law Center
- A challenge to the Department of Education's policy changes to sex discrimination claims in federally funded education programs
- North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services, Inc.
- A case aimed at solitary confinement usage in state prisons
-- Receiving the Foundation’s 2019 grant reports which show in detail the work of our grantees and demonstrate the impact of the Foundation’s grants.
-- Reaching significant settlements in two of the Foundation’s High Impact Cases:
- In June, the Foundation’s High Impact Project, in coordination with Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, Disability Rights Advocates and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, secured a groundbreaking settlement in a 2014 lawsuit filed on behalf of the United Spinal Association, DC Center for Independent Living, and two District residents with disabilities that alleged numerous critical deficiencies in the District’s emergency preparedness plan which, if left unaddressed, would have resulted in people with disabilities being left behind in large-scale disasters
- In October, the American Immigration Council represented by Drinker Biddle and Jerry Hartman, in coordination with the Foundation's High Impact Project, settled a suit filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to force the United States Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) to turn over information through a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request about abuse allegations filed against CBP agents. As part of the settlement, CBP also will pay attorneys’ fees in the amount of $60,000.
-- Opening three additional High Impact Cases, including:
- “Challenging the Seizing Without Due Process By New York City of State Tax Refunds for Transit Violations”
- “Investigating Landlords Violating Potential Tenants’ Housing Rights for Failure to Accept Section 8 Housing Vouchers from Persons of Color”
- “Investigating a School System’s Failure to Integrate Disabled Children into Normal Classrooms and Programs”
-- Celebrating the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Foundation with a reception at Drinker Biddle in Washington, D.C. which paid tribute to the work of the Foundation’s namesake, Barbara McDowell.
-- Announcing the addition of five new members to our Board of Directors, who were approved by the current board in an unanimous vote.
-- Publishing blog posts featuring the cases of two of our grantees:
-- Issuing the Foundation’s 2018 Annual Report that was sent to over 200 individuals, including board members, donors, grantees and past applicants.
-- Launching the Foundation’s newly designed website including an updated and streamlined online application form.
-- Announcing the launch of the Foundation’s first-ever fundraising campaign, including updated language on the Donate page of the website and an updated Donor Information Guide and Case for Support.
-- Completing charitable registrations for 12 states, allowing the Foundation to begin its fundraising campaign.
The Foundation thanks our board members, donors, litigation partners, grantees, and all our supporters for your efforts to help us achieve our mission. We look forward to our continued partnership in 2020 and wish you all a Happy New Year!
Jerry Hartman, Chairman and President, and Aaron Stiner, Executive Administrator