Venable Donates $250K To Unaccompanied Minor Legal Fund

By Jack Rodgers | October 25, 2023, 11:19 AM EDT ·

The philanthropic arm of Venable LLP, the Venable Foundation, has awarded a $250,000 grant to the Kids in Need of Defense fund, an organization that provides legal services to migrant children who come to the country unaccompanied by or separated from their guardians, the firm announced Tuesday.

The Venable Foundation, which was founded in 1983, announced the grant at its 40th anniversary celebration. The money will go toward KIND clients in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Maryland, New York, San Francisco and Virginia, the firm said.

The funds will be used to support KIND's mission to care for unaccompanied minors who have complex psychosocial needs that stem from their time before, during and after their journeys to the U.S., the firm said. In addition to their legal needs, KIND helps children with food and housing, extracurricular activities and other enrichment.

Many of the children KIND supports also require basic necessities, like health care, which the Venable Foundation's grant also will go toward supporting, the firm said.

KIND has 15 field offices and supports over 4,000 children every year through its work in tandem with community providers, the Venable Foundation said. It said 50% of those children are higher-needs clients receiving individual and ongoing case management.

KIND helps facilitate linguistically appropriate support services, and helps its clients with mental health needs, education resources and English language learning, the foundation said.

In an email to Law360 Pulse on Wednesday, Lindsay Meyer, president of the Venable Foundation, said the firm was looking for a multicity initiative or organization to donate to in 2023, and a group that "was creating meaningful change" in several Venable Foundation locations.

Meyer said regular grantmaking by the Venable Foundation averages about $10,000, but impact grants, like the one given to KIND, are designed "to provide a significant and positive financial boost to the organization," Meyer said.

"For all of our grants — regardless of our normal competitive application cycle or through the directed Impact Grants — we aim to support healthy, direct-service nonprofits that are engaging underserved populations in our community," Meyer said. "Nonprofits must create accessible opportunities to meet a direct need in one of our funding priorities — whether that be legal services, food insecurity, or homelessness, to name a few."

Meyer said having a holistic approach to programming was key to the Venable Foundation, and that supporting groups like KIND, which often have to navigate clients who have multifaceted needs from the trauma of their journeys, is part of its mission.

"As we understand, many require not just legal assistance but also food, clothing, housing, and health care," she said. "As such, these clients are screened then paired with the services pertinent to their specific needs. For instance, they may receive individualized case management to work through their complex challenges on a one-on-one basis."

She added, "Therapeutic group programs aim to foster client resilience and promote safe peer engagement to build self-esteem, develop life skills, build healthy relationships, and receive counseling on how best to access higher education or vocational opportunities."

Venable has been a pro bono partner of KIND's Los Angeles office since 2015, and the Venable Foundation began funding KIND's Baltimore office in 2018, Meyer said.

"Our grantmaking spans many nonprofit causes yet some of our largest priority areas are legal and human services," Meyer said.

Jasiel Fernandez, KIND's regional director for social services, said in a statement that the group was honored to have been chosen to receive the Venable Foundation's grant.

"This grant will give thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children across the country access to critical aid and the opportunity to pursue safe and promising futures," Fernandez said.

Robert L. Waldman, vice president of the Venable Foundation, also said the group was happy to support causes like KIND's.

"The foundation is proud to support an organization that protects the rights and well-being of displaced immigrant children," Waldman said.

--Editing by Alyssa Miller.

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