Recent News and Highlights of the Barbara McDowell Foundation

The last several months have seen a flurry of activity at the Barbara McDowell Foundation.  We are excited to share with you some of the highlights. 


We recently announced the selection on September 30, 2019 of our 2020 grant recipients each receiving an award of $40,000: 

The grantees were chosen after a rigorous review process conducted by the staff and Board of Directors of the Foundation. 

The Foundation’s 2020 grants are funding cases aimed at:

The work of the five 2020 Foundation grantees will further the Foundation’s mission of improving the economic well-being, social conditions, and civil liberties of disadvantaged persons and groups in the United States.

The Foundation encourages you to review the summary of each grantee’s funded case posted to the “Our Grants” page of the Foundation’s website. 

The Foundation received 72 applications for its 2020 grants from very worthy organizations – a record number of applicants. The Board of Directors of the Foundation faced a very difficult task in making its grant decisions. The Foundation encourages applicant organizations not selected this year as grant recipients to apply in future years


In August, the Foundation announced the addition of five new members to our Board of Directors, who were approved by the current board in an unanimous vote.  The new members are Kim Bohr, Edward Krugman, Lorie Masters, Beth McCallum, and Brett Rogers.

You can read the biographies of the Foundation’s new board members here, and the biographies of our entire board of directors can be found here. The new board members will be leading our fundraising activities. They also participated in selecting the 2020 grantees. 


In conjunction with the milestone of celebrating its tenth-year anniversary, the Foundation has embarked on its first-ever fundraising campaign. As one of the very few nationwide sources for social justice litigation grants, the Foundation seeks to raise additional funds in order to increase the amount and number of its future grants and create even greater impact. 


Also in August, the Foundation received our 2019 grantee final reports. We encourage you to review these final reports as they provide a comprehensive look at the impact of the Foundation’s 2019 funding and the work of our grantees.

The Foundation thanks the grantees for their efforts to create social justice through legal action, thereby furthering the mission of the Foundation. 


The Foundation received news of positive developments in the case of one of our 2018 grantees, Children Rights, which settled in July 2019 a precedent setting suit. The case, the first of its kind, resulted in significant changes to the State of Missouri’s procedures regarding the administration to children in foster care of psychotropic medications which were alleged to cause an unreasonable risk of serious physical and psychological harm.  

The Foundation’s High Impact Project also continues to achieve significant results. In June 2019, the project secured a groundbreaking settlement that will have a profound, positive impact on those with disabilities in the nation’s capital and beyond with respect to the District of Columbia’s emergency preparedness plan. Read about it here

More recently, The Public Interest Law Center and Drinker Biddle under the auspices of the Foundation’s High Impact Project filed complaints in September 2019 with the Philadelphia Human Rights Commission against landlords refusing to accept Section 8 Housing Vouchers from potential tenants who have low incomes. You can read about this case, and all the work of our High Impact Project here


As you can see from our recent highlights, the Foundation is engaged on a variety of fronts in its work to create social justice through legal action thereby benefiting a wide and diverse array of constituent populations. To stay up to date on all our activities we encourage you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Posted by Aaron Stiner, Executive Administrator, Barbara McDowell and Gerald S. Hartman Foundation,

(October 2019)