McDowell Foundation Tenth Year Anniversary Celebration

The Barbara McDowell Foundation celebrated the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Foundation on April 23, 2019, with a cocktail reception at Drinker Biddle in Washington, D.C. The Foundation was created to honor the life and to continue the work of social justice advocate, Barbara McDowell, who died at the age of 56 from brain cancer, in 2009.

Judge Patricia Millett of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was the featured speaker at the celebration event. She was a longtime friend and colleague of Barbara’s at the Solicitor General’s Office of the United States Justice Department. Judge Millett spoke about the significant and positive work the foundation and the High Impact Litigation Project have achieved over the past ten years. 

In addition to remarks from Foundation President Jerry Hartman, board member Matt Roberts, and Drinker Biddle representative Vince Gentile, representatives of two grantees also spoke during the celebration and presented videos highlighting the results of their past cases for which they received grants from the Foundation. 

See our News page for complete coverage of the event, including videos of each speaker. 

Since our inception in 2009, the McDowell Foundation has distributed over $1,150,000 in grants to 45 organizations nationwide and participated in 15 cases as part of our High Impact Litigation Project. Our grantmaking and pro-bono work has benefited a wide and diverse array of constituent populations by focusing upon a variety of social justice causes.


Barbara was an exceptional advocate for social justice reforms. During her decorated career, she served as the founding director of the Appellate Advocacy Program at the Legal Aid Society of Washington, DC, worked as the Assistant to the Solicitor General of the United States, and spent ten years as a partner at the Jones Day law firm. Among her many successes, Barbara argued eighteen cases before the United States Supreme Court, including two on the same day!

Written by Aaron Stiner, Executive Administrator, McDowell Foundation, last updated June 5, 2019.