Letter From Leadership: Keeping the Doors Open
A letter from Executive Director Marty Ellin.
Late summer of 2018, we received an extraordinary offer from an Atlanta businessman.
As an Annual Campaign donor, he knew the importance of our work. He knew how effectively our organization provides free, high quality legal services to Atlanta families in times of need – and he could see that we’re making a difference every day.
He also knew that we had no endowment or real reserve fund. What would happen in an emergency? Could we keep the doors open?
In an extraordinary gesture of kindness, the anonymous donor offered a challenge: Raise $500,000 for a rainy day fund by September 30, 2019, and he would match it.
We encouraged law firms, family foundations, corporations and especially individuals to help AVLF by giving to our Annual Campaign and to our SAFE Fund.
After recovering our breath, we immediately established The SAFE (Stabilizing Atlanta for Everyone) Fund and began to share this opportunity with the community. We encouraged law firms, family foundations, corporations and especially individuals to help AVLF by giving to our Annual Campaign and to our SAFE Fund.
Troutman Sanders launched our effort with a $50,000 leadership gift to the SAFE Fund. We were honored to also receive signature gifts from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Blank Family Foundation, Gia Partain and Paul Murphy, and the Glenn Family Foundation, among many others.
We also received many gifts on February 21st, our 40th Anniversary, which marked our very first one-day-only crowdfunding campaign.
In the event of an emergency, we will not let our community down – we will be here to provide all the services we promise.
200 total donors later, we are thrilled to announce that last week the SAFE Fund Campaign surpassed the $500,000 level! This assures that we will receive a full match and that we will establish the AVLF Opportunity Reserve Fund.
Our anonymous donor and all of the contributors to the SAFE Fund have done nothing less than re-make the future of our work.
“AVLF is like a treadmill, running strong and picking up steam,” our anonymous donor told us. “But like every treadmill ever made, it is going to break, and when it does, AVLF has to have money to fix the machine and carry you through.”
Of course, we will try our best to prove him wrong. We will make every effort not to break. But in the event of an emergency, we will not let our community down – we will be here to provide all the services we promise.
An act of unmatched kindness from our donor – and 199 other acts of considerable generosity – has assured that AVLF moves forward prepared to create safe and stable homes and families by inspiring the fight for equal justice.
Thank you, Atlanta!
Want to read other Letters From Leadership? They are an easy way to find out what drives us here at AVLF. You can find them all here.