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ABA joins White House initiative to aid veterans and their families

ABA joins White House initiative to aid veterans and their families

By John Glynn

The American Bar Association has joined more than 30 philanthropic organizations to support first lady Michelle Obama’s latest efforts to help veterans and their families get the services they need.

On Wednesday at the Red Cross in Washington, D.C., Obama announced pledges in excess of $150 million from foundations and corporations. The ABA signed on to the Joining Forces initiative by pledging an investment of $720,000 through 2019 — funds that represent the current funding levels of its ongoing ABA Military Pro Bono Project.

This ABA project, created in 2008 in collaboration with the Department of Defense, delivers pro bono legal services to military personnel and their families to address a wide array of civil legal issues. To date, the Military Pro Bono Project has connected nearly 1,000 service members stationed around the world to free legal services in nearly every state in the nation.

The ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel, which oversees the program, estimates that through 2019, the project will have delivered nearly 23,600 hours of free legal services, valued at more than $6.5 million.

At the Wednesday announcement, Obama was joined by Jill Biden, the vice president’s wife, who teamed up with the first lady three years ago to create the Joining Forces initiative to help the families of military personnel and veterans. This new aspect of the initiative is called the Philanthropy-Joining Forces Impact Pledge and incorporates the work of a variety of organizations in areas such as homelessness, employment, legal services, training, education and community integration.

The ABA’s involvement with the Joining Forces initiative also includes contributions to Tips for Lifelong Caregiving, a new online guidebook to help caregivers of military personnel and veterans. The new online resource is maintained by the Military Officers Association of America. Information on the ABA’s involvement is here.

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