The King County Bar Foundation is nearing the end of a special fundraising appeal to honor the bar's 125th anniversary. Before we complete work on this campaign, I want to review with you why we are doing an endowment campaign, what the money will be used for and how you can make a gift - at any level you can afford.
First, let me answer "why are we doing an endowment campaign?" A big anniversary of 125 years is momentous, no question about it. And it becomes even more important when you think about why the bar was formed and what past members of this bar have done for the legal profession and community at large.
The first lawyers to practice in Seattle in 1886 knew they had an obligation to discipline themselves, especially when some members of the bar were involved in un-lawyer-like conduct. In response to lawyers trying to "deport" Chinese immigrants without due process, the rest of the bar rallied together to chastise those involved in the effort.
It was a proud moment for the newly formed Seattle/King County legal community and one that served as the foundation for all that was to come. This included the creation of the first Legal Aid Bureau, public defender corporations, judicial performance surveys, a minority law student scholarship fund, and neighborhood legal clinics for the poor. All this work was conceived and nurtured by thousands of lawyers who were part of this bar during those first 125 years.
Our King County Bar Foundation, which is charged with raising donations and obtaining grants for our nonprofit programs, asked, "How can we honor the legacy that has been left to us, from which the profession and community benefit today?" The Foundation settled on collecting funds from those of us in the "present" to be set aside for those coming in the "future."
I think the best way to describe this is "paying it forward." For those who aren't familiar with this concept, it essentially means that it can be difficult to thank people in the past for what they've done and that we benefit from in the present, but it is always easy to offer up good deeds, acts of kindness or even make charitable donations to be given in the future, to be used by those who are to come after us. In effect, "paying forward."
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