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Hennepin County Bar Foundation Announces Grant Awards for Programs Benefitting Women
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News Release: December 18, 2013 

Minneapolis: --  The Hennepin County Bar Foundation (HCBF), under the direction of President Jon Strauss, announces that it is awarding special grants totaling over $100,000 to three local organizations for projects focused on women’s issues.  Funding for these special grants came as part of a class action settlement where the Cy Pres funds were designated specifically to the HCBF for programs benefiting women in our community.  From among 22 applications the HCBF board chose the following three projects that were found to be particularly compelling:   

Breaking Free, Inc. was granted $50,000 over two years; Cornerstone Advocacy Service will receive $37,400 over two years; and the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women (Domestic Violence Appellate Project) will receive a one-year, $13,000 grant. 

BREAKING FREE, INC.:  Established in 1996, Breaking Free serves women involved in systems of commercial sexual exploitation/sex trafficking.  Three primary needs of sexually exploited women in Hennepin County include: improving the administration of justice to victims, increasing awareness and understanding of sex trafficking by the courts and criminal justice professionals, and empowering victims to understand and self-advocate for their legal rights.  The requested funding will be used over two years to fund their Criminal Justice Advocacy program.  

CORNERSTONE ADVOCACY SERVICE:  Access to legal services in Hennepin County’s northwest corridor has historically been limited despite the fact that Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park have high rates of domestic assault.  Having provided effective programming for female victims of domestic violence in Southern Hennepin County for thirty years, Cornerstone is being asked to respond to the acute needs in this area.  This two-year expansion project will ensure equal access for marginalized populations to legal services in northwest Hennepin County.   

MINNESOTA COALITION FOR BATTERED WOMEN: A protective order is critical in providing safety for domestic violence victims.  While Minnesota has some of the strongest protective order laws in the country, these statutes will only remain strong tools if there is vigorous advocacy to defend the laws against challenges.  The Domestic Violence Appellate Project provides appellate advocacy on domestic violence issues through direct representation and amicus brief submissions as well as training and support to attorneys, law students, and advocates.  


In addition, the HCBF has announced its call for applications for the regular cycle of grant-making, with proposals due by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, January 31.  (Note that new guidelines will apply for 2014 grants.) Forms can be accessed

The Hennepin Country Bar Foundation is the charitable giving arm of the Hennepin County Bar Association.  Separate from the one time Cy Pres funds, approximately $100,000 is given each year in grants.  Funds for distribution come from contributions from individual member attorneys and through two key fund-raising events:  the annual Bar Benefit held in March and a Charity Golf Classic held in August.  # # # # #