2022. It’s been a whirlwind of progress at the Ohio Access to Justice Foundation and a year filled with accomplishments both big and small. Here are a few highlights.

The year kicked off with the Foundation awarding $1.15 million to support the immigration legal needs of nearly 2,000 Afghan evacuees seeking safety and security in Ohio. The Foundation led the effort in partnership with the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to expand capacity of Ohio nonprofits to provide direct immigration legal services and to establish a statewide pro bono program. The program has already helped more than 1,500 Afghan family members achieve safety and stability.

In the spring, the Foundation hosted Legal Aid Day at the Ohio Statehouse, bringing together staff and board members from Ohio’s legal aid organizations to meet with legislators to share legal aid’s essential work. At the event, the Foundation honored Judge Andrew Logan of the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas with the Presidential Award and State Senator Nathan Manning with the Voice of Justice Award. Foundation board members Jonathan Hollingsworth received the OSBA’s Ohio Bar Medal Award and State Senator Matt Dolan received the OSBA’s Legislator of the Year Award.

Over the summer, the Foundation convened both its Justice for All Summer Clerks and its Justice for All Fellows. JFA Clerks are diverse law students funded by the Foundation to support civil legal services while JFA Fellows are new attorneys funded by the Foundation to execute two-year civil legal service projects.

This fall, the Foundation launched its new Prime Partner Program. The program optimizes benefits for financial institutions while increasing support for low-income Ohioans and low-to-moderate income Ohio communities. Foundation grantee Ohio Legal Help launched a Spanish version of ohiolegalhelp.org and the Ohio Justice Bus received the American Bar Association Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division Difference Maker Award in the Pro Bono category.

Throughout the year, Ohio’s legal aid organizations continued their outstanding work to help Ohioans live safer, more stable, and financially secure lives. Legal aid led projects to address the needs of domestic violence survivors with disabilities, help the Latino community in Dayton, and stabilize families, among many others. Justice leaders like legal aid’s Mary Asbury, Foundation DEI committee members Lilly Cavanaugh and Vanetta Jamison, Foundation board members Jennifer Day and Jordan Miller, and Judge Denise McColley worked tirelessly to advance a better Ohio.

As 2022 draws to a close, the Foundation looks forward to the future. In 2023, the Foundation will continue its work to improve DEI in Ohio’s civil justice system, grow funding and support for civil legal service providers, increase collaboration with our partners, and fulfill the Foundation’s mission of improving access to justice for all.

The Ohio Access to Justice Foundation is the largest funder of civil legal services in Ohio. A gift to the Foundation supports access to justice.