Bar Foundation Keeps Steering Money to Causes

By Andy Meek

Since 2010, the Memphis Bar Foundation has provided $124,000 in grants to two dozen Memphis-area local causes.

It’s a total that’s noteworthy on a few fronts. One reason is in two of the last three years, the foundation – the charitable arm of the Memphis Bar Association – gave away the largest amount of grants in the foundation’s history.

In 2010, the foundation awarded grants totaling almost $44,000 to seven local causes. Last year, the total was $50,000 to eight groups. This year, the foundation stepped up after having gotten more grant nominations than ever before to award $30,000 to nine groups.

Over the years, the foundation has supported causes in four primary areas: scholarship, equal access to justice, professionalism, and lawyer assistance. This year’s batch of grants was announced Oct. 11 at the foundation’s annual Fellows reception, at which 42 new Fellows also were inducted.

The foundation typically identifies lawyers to participate as a Fellow who have a minimum of 10 years’ legal experience.

In addition, the Irvin Bogatin Social Justice Award was presented this month to Anna Santos, a student at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, and law student Carolyn Bates received the Bogatin Scholarship.

“We’re always proud to be able to give that money away.”

–Anne Fritz
Executive director, Memphis Bar Association

The Bogatin Award and Scholarship are sponsored by the Bogatin Fund, created by the family and friends of Irvin Bogatin to honor his legacy of pursuing social justice. Bogatin, an attorney for more than 65 years, died in 2008.

Organizations receiving grants from the law group this year include CASA of Memphis & Shelby County Inc. for its volunteer recruitment and training program; Community Legal Center for its immigrant justice program; Exchange Club Family Center for its Safe Exchange/Supervised Visitation Program; and Mediation and Restitution/Reconciliation Services for its juvenile mediation program.

Also receiving grants were Memphis Area Legal Services Inc. for its “It Just Takes One” campaign to expand volunteer participation; the Memphis Bar Association Diversity Committee for its summer law intern program; the National Civil Rights Museum for its Brown v. Board of Education courtroom; and the Public Action Law Society at the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law for its Alternative Spring Break.

“We’re always proud to be able to give that money away,” said Anne Fritz, executive director of the Memphis Bar Association. “There’s a lot of need out there. We also have a large and diverse group of new Fellows this year.”

The mission of the Memphis Bar Foundation is to promote philanthropy among members of the bar, to foster public awareness of the legal system, promote social justice and legal education and encourage and recognize professionalism among members of the bar.

The foundation, which was established in 1982, fulfills its mission by providing grants to support important community programs and recognizing members of the bar through the Benjamin L. Hooks Award and the selection of Fellows.

To see the full list of this year’s Fellows inductees, visit The Daily News blog (accessible on the right side of the newspaper’s homepage at and click “New fellows inducted into Memphis Bar Foundation.”