College Columns December 2017 - Page 8

Pro Bono Committee Awards Grants in 2017

James Baillie, Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.

Chair, Pro Bono Committee

the max in most situations, for a total of $480,000. Over a three-year period alone, our ACB grants have totaled $1,268,277. The grantees are in all parts of the country. Over the years all circuits have been the beneficiaries of these grants. Another service of the Committee and College staff is to make available to all programs around the country the materials generated by those grantees.

The Committee is a committee of the Foundation, but its funds come from both the College and the Foundation. Nearly all funds raised by the Foundation- meaning from us personally- are devoted to these grants. As members of the College we contribute several ways: by contributing money, by strengthening the network of these programs through our website, and by our personal pro bono services provided through our local programs.

The thirty-one regular members of the committee made the policy decisions and plans for the year, prepared written evaluations of each of the applications, made oral presentations, and participated actively in the fifteen conference call meetings to select the grantees. The Committee members come from all of the circuits.

Despite the fact that we have sufficient numbers of grant applications for the funds we have available the Committee especially wishes to help start new programs or to assist programs new to us. So, we encourage College Fellows to lead development of new programs to provide bankruptcy pro bono services in your own communities, working with the local bankruptcy judges, bankruptcy bar associations and law schools. Or College Fellows can encourage existing programs to apply for one of our grants. The deadline for next year is likely to be July 1, 2018.

The other takeaway is to give generously to our Foundation. A related idea is to direct cy pres type funds, such as undistributed chapter 11 plan dividends, or foundations that would like to make bankruptcy pro bono one of the objects of their charity to our Foundation. Those dollars will help strengthen our bankruptcy systems and assist people who really need representation and won’t get it without our help.


The College and the Foundation continue to be the largest supporter of bankruptcy pro bono programs in the country. The Pro Bono Committee this year received 87 applications and selected 63 programs to receive grants of up to $15,000 with $10,000 being