ACFLS Presents Grant Awards at Spring Seminar


At the ACFLS Charitable Foundation dinner held on Saturday night, March 23, 2019, during the ACFLS Spring Seminar, the Foundation was pleased to award two $5,000 grants to Laura’s House (Orange County) and Harmony at Home (Monterey). Laura’s House provides services to the victims of domestic violence and their families. Harmony at Home’s grant was for their program offering classes year-round for children and parents to help them transition through separation and divorce. The dinner was attended by 72 people and the Foundation is grateful for their support.

Following Judge Lewis’s opening remarks Foundation President J.B. Rizzo’s presented the grant award to Harmony at Home and described the programs and services of the other awardee, Laura’s House. Julianne Leavy, LFMT, the Executive Director of the Harmony at Home program, accepted the grant and described the services of Harmony at Home.

Laura’s House was unable to attend but, expressed their appreciation: “We cannot thank the ACFLS enough for their support, ensuring that we are able to continue to meet our legal department’s mission statement – That no domestic violence survivor in Orange County should be alone or unprepared at their restraining order hearing. Our team of dedicated legal advocates supported nearly 1,200 clients in restraining order cases last year. Just 5 years ago, we supported 240 clients. We can attribute this growth to the generous support of the ACFLS, an organization that recognizes that legal support for domestic violence survivors and their children is a critical need in our county. We will make every dollar count and continue to stand with and empower survivors in court to live lives free of violence.”

After the grant presentation, Richard Weiss, who has won awards for his comedy, entertained attendees at the dinner.
The ACFLS Charitable Foundation had an exhibit table at the Spring Seminar. Volunteers successfully sought additional donations to the Foundation for future grants and boosted dinner ticket sales.

ACFLS Dinner ACFLS Dinner ACFLS Dinner

The Foundation’s mission is “…to solicit donations and to raise funds for the purpose of making monetary grants to persons and/or entities who are working to enhance access to justice, to provide family law-related education, and/or to improve the California family law process for affected persons, families, or groups in need, and to carry on other charitable activities associated with these goals as determined by the Board of Directors and allowed by law.”

Since inception, the Foundation has granted awards totaling $50,000. Past grants include:

$ 5,000 Grant – Sacramento Children’s Fund (2016)
$10,000 Grant – Helping Hands Nurturing Center (2017)
$ 5,000 Grant – Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law (2017)
$10,000 Grant – LACBA Domestic Violence Legal Services Project (2018)
$10,000 Grant – Sonoma County Legal Services for Supervised Visitation Project (2018)

The Board of Directors is starting to plan for the next round of grant applications. The current directors are: JB Rizzo, President; Abbas Hadjian, Vice-President; Joseph J. Bell, Secretary; Tom Collins, Chief Financial Officer; Tracy Duell-Cazes; Dianne Fetzer; Kendall Evans; Debra Frank; Mary Molinaro; Wendy Sheinkopf, and Michael Winestone, plus Judge Thomas Trent Lewis as adviser. The board is in the process of filling the five vacancies.  Volunteers are welcome!

Debr S Frank

Debra S. Frank, former Editor and Associate Journal Editor of the Family Law Specialist and current ACFLS Foundation Board member, on the ACFLS Amicus and Leg Committees.

She is past Chair of the Family Law Sections of the Beverly Hills and Los Angeles County Bar Associations and the Family Law American Inn of Court. She served on the Board of Legal Specialization, Family Law Advisory Commission and on Flexcom. Rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, Ms. Frank was named by Super Lawyers magazine as one of the top attorneys in Southern California for 2009-2019.

State of California Super Lawyers

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