BayLegal’s 2020 Annual Campaign Launches: A Note from Our Executive Director

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Dear friends and supporters of Bay Area Legal Aid,


Genevieve Richardson, Executive DirectorAs we launch BayLegal’s 2020 Annual Campaign, I am so grateful that with your support we are able to address the critical needs of our clients.  As the public health and economic stresses intensify and deepen our clients face increased housing instability, exposure to predatory lending and aggressive debt collection, isolation and heightened exposure to partner violence, being disconnected from public benefits and critical social safety net resources, educational access disparities, healthcare coverage needs, and court access barriers. These are the issues and barriers where BayLegal has focused our expertise, and I am very proud to say that as we quickly shifted all of our services remotely, our advocates did not miss a beat.  During this health and economic crisis our advocates doubled down on their work to protect our clients’ fundamental rights to housing, healthcare, personal safety and economic security.

It was our donors’ unwavering commitment to building power for racial and economic justice that is at the heart of our effectiveness during a year filled with emergencies.  BayLegal has relied on these donations to be able to act quickly within a rapidly changing legal landscape and adapt to a new way of doing our work. With proactive steps we shifted to all remote services just before the Shelter-in-Place and within days had all employees continuing their work and advocacy from home. We moved quickly to address new threats to the health and safety of our clients and client communities, such as addressing crowded courthouses and need for tenant protections and emergency processes for survivors of interpersonal violence to obtain protective orders. Our advocates focused on ensuring our clients received critical emergency and economic stimulus payments, including Economic Impact Payments (EIP). We helped clients with disabilities, and those who are unhoused and/or have not filed taxes due to their low income, with navigating online portals and quick timelines to claim their benefits.

Our expertise in advocating for clients’ individual legal needs while simultaneously identifying and pursuing opportunities for broader systemic change has been critical in response to the pandemic. I hope you will read more about our specific advocacy initiatives since the world changed in March 2020 and anticipated needs – it is because of your support that we are able to have this impact.

If you are reading this message as a current or former BayLegal donor, thank you for your generosity and being a part of these successes and work  – and I hope you will consider renewing your gift to stand with our clients and communities as we confront the exceptional challenges of this year and prepare for the escalating challenges in the new year. If you are considering becoming a donor for the first time, thank you! There has never been a better time for your support, or a greater need.

Yours in partnership,

Genevieve Richardson