In completing 20 years of existence, the fiscal year of July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009 provided the West Virginia Bar Foundation with additional opportunities to continue to move forward and to improve its programs and services. As the philanthropic organization for West Virginia’s legal profession and justice system, the Bar Foundation had another successful year in expanding and enhancing its numerous activities and responsibilities.
Please review the Annual Report below and provide me with any comments or suggestions that you have regarding the West Virginia Bar Foundation.
WEST VIRGINIA BAR FOUNDATION
JULY 1, 2008-JUNE 30, 2009
During the 2008-09 fiscal year, the West Virginia Bar Foundation’s Board of Directors undertook several actions to achieve its goals of improving the administration of justice and the provision of legal services to West Virginia’s citizens. The Board, which consists of a diverse group of fifteen lawyers from all parts of the state and all types of law practice, accomplished the following:
- Elected new volunteer members of the policy making Board of Directors and selected qualified Officers.
- Provided the largest amount of grants to worthwhile entities in the Bar Foundation’s twenty year history, including more than $40,000 since June, 2008.
- Received and approved the Independent Auditors’ Report for the 2007-08 fiscal year.
- Worked with the Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Advisory Committee to propose improvements to increase IOLTA funding for free civil legal services for low income citizens, in accordance with the Order of the WV Supreme Court of Appeals. In March, 2009, the Supreme Court approved an IOLTA Comparability Rule similar to 23 other states. The IOLTA program has generated more than $13 million since 1990.
- Held quarterly Board of Directors meetings and received reports and recommendations from the IOLTA Advisory Committee which also convened quarterly meetings.
- Continued the tradition of selecting extraordinary judges and lawyers as Bar Foundation Fellows. Less than 250 of the approximately 5,000 members of the judiciary and lawyers in the state have received this prestigious honor.
- Made prudent financial decisions by paying off one significant loan early and by adding amounts to the Bar Foundation’s reserves.
- Continued equitable multi year lease agreements for the two Bar Foundation owned facilities housing the WV State Bar and the Lawyer Disciplinary Board/Office of Disciplinary Counsel.
- With the assistance of the IOLTA Advisory Committee, distributed more than $430,000 to grantees during the fiscal year even in the face of difficult national economic conditions.
- Introduced a bi-monthly membership communications message, the Bar Foundation Brief, to keep members up to date on the activities and the programs of the organization.
- Improved the ever changing Bar Foundation website—-www.wvbarfoundation.org—-with a significant amount of new information and photographs regarding the group’s services and activities.
- Made presentations regarding the Bar Foundation and the IOLTA program to more than 250 new lawyers as they were admitted to practice law before the WV Supreme Court.