Just another Tuesday @ BFC

*Remarks by S. Tyler Hale at Venable LLP’s 2015 Civiletti Pro Bono Awards Recognition Ceremony*

I am lucky enough ttyler hale 2o be the first Venable, LLP associate to be lent, full time, to Bread for the City.

For those who don’t know, Bread for the City is an organization that has planted its flag firmly on the front lines of the fight against poverty. Bread provides not only comprehensive legal services in some of the areas that most directly affect the poor, but also social services, medical care, dental care, food, clothing, and therapeutic volunteer opportunities for the District’s “most vulnerable residents.”

Although my experience has been largely limited to legal work, I can already tell that this holistic care is what allows Bread to help in ways many pro bono legal clinics cannot—unlike how lawyers typically operate, Bread’s intention is, in the words of CEO George Jones, to work itself out of business.

I thought, though, that it might be better for me to recount the experience I’ve had with one of my clients as an example of the sort of work Bread does.

Bread for the City, along with the Legal Aid Society of DC, staffs a project commonly referred to as the “Attorney of the Day” program at DC Superior Court’s Landlord and Tenant Branch. If you’ve never been summoned to Landlord and Tenant Court in DC, consider yourself lucky—the court hears 250 cases per day, in one courtroom, in front of one judge.

The defendants in these cases are largely guilty of nothing more than not having enough money to pay the full amount of one month’s rent—that is, they are guilty only of being poor. The contempt with which they are treated by the court system is visible and striking—something that any attorney who has appeared there on behalf of a tenant can tell you.

The “Attorney of the Day” program was established by Bread and Legal Aid to throw sandbags in front of the flood of unknowing and unrepresented tenants who are summoned to court and who daily, sign away rights when prompted to by the presiding judge. We maintain an office in the court building and take referrals from the courthouse’s Resource Center, attempting to help as many people as we can on any given day.

One day while staffing the program, I met a man who had nowhere else to turn. He spoke little English, and he came to us with a terrible story. Six months before, he had prepaid several months’ rent and left for his home country to see his wife and child. When he returned, he found another man living in his apartment, watching his TV, and even wearing his clothes. Within an hour, we were able to move for a temporary restraining order restoring his access to the property, to vacate the default judgment against him, and to void the settlement agreement that had been falsely entered on his behalf.

Later, at Bread for the City’s offices, I was able to introduce him to someone who spoke his language and could help him find better housing, introduce him to a food program where he could pick up both nonperishable goods and fresh produce, and even showed him around the rooftop garden to discuss his love of gardening. For me, this has been a life changing experience. For the full time Bread attorneys like Esther Adetunji and Su Sie Ju—two of the fiercest lawyers that I have ever met—this is just another Tuesday.

Of course, not all of us are called to be litigators and we each find different ways to use our talents and our privileges to help those around us. When we talk about pro bono service, we shorten the full phrase, “to practice pro bono publico”; that is, “for the public good”. While there is much public good to be done on the national and international stages, the concept of the public good—in my estimation—carries with it a profound sense of the local, the immediate.

When I came to Venable, I noticed immediately that it was engaged with the world directly around it. And I thank those who have committed themselves to contributing to the public good right in front of our eyes.

Venable has a strong history of being a part of the community in which we practice. The Venable Foundation contributes heartily to causes from our own block to the very edges of the District and beyond. Venable lawyers contribute to pro bono clinics in some of DC’s most impoverished neighborhoods. Even our new office looks out upon, by my count, two different homeless shelters.

Venable has given me a tremendous opportunity to engage with the community in which I live, and I hope that each of you has found the same chance to help that I have. I thank you for all that you’ve done and all that you’ll continue to do.

 

*BFC’s “Attorney of the Day” project is made possible through public funds awarded by the DC Bar Foundation.

How Social Security Gets Racist Without Really Trying – Part 2

The SSI Resource Limit and Home Ownership Exclusion

Ms. Smith, a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipient, came to me with a writ of restitution. That meant that her landlord would soon show up at her door with Federal Marshalls and a moving crew to throw her and her stuff out on the street.

Her landlord/tenant case was a straightforward non‐payment of rent, so she could still prevent her eviction by paying all that she owed plus court costs.

Non‐payment of rent cases occur for a variety of reasons; but frequently, it is because the cost of living is simply higher than the income people receive.SocialSecurityCheck

This is very common for people like Ms. Smith, whose sole income was Supplemental Security Income–the safety net program for elderly people and people with disabilities who do not have enough of an earnings record to qualify for a higher benefit through Social Security disability or retirement insurance. Such people have a maximum benefit of $733, approximately 75% of the federal poverty line for a household of one. In DC’s housing market, $733 is not even enough for a one bedroom apartment, much less the other costs of living that SSI is meant to cover.

My client, however, had a housing choice voucher, so she paid 30% of her income for rent, and the government paid the rest. Covering the cost of food, toiletries, transportation, clothing, entertainment, and life’s other costs, with a budget less than $500 per month is by no means easy, but our clients are pretty resourceful and we can help fill in some gaps.

Prior to coming to see me, Ms. Smith had faced some unexpected expenses that broke her already strained budget. Her father was dying, and he had some medical bills and final expenses that needed to be covered. This fell on his impoverished, disabled daughter, who did all she could to help her father in the final few months of his life. Unfortunately, this meant the rent did not get paid, and thus she arrived at our door.

Just for a second, let’s play “blame-the-victim.” Let’s wag our fingers and say that Ms. Smith should have had some money saved away for a rainy day. If you’re going to live so extravagantly off the public dole that you can afford to pay your dying father’s incidental expenses, you probably should have saved enough money so you could still pay your $219 in rent every month.Social Security

Surely she did not need every dollar of her $733 benefit (SSI rules rely on a premise that people can afford to live on 90% of their benefit), so she could have afforded to put a little money away each month. Maybe she received an inheritance or a birthday present from some cousin, kept the back-payment from the initial SSI award that took a half decade to be approved, or won a small lottery—it happens—and she should have done what all responsible Americans ought to do and save her money.

Unfortunately, because Ms. Smith was on SSI, she was not allowed to behave like a responsible American. The general rule that one is supposed to save—a rule encouraged by generous tax policies for retirement and capital gains—does not apply to people on SSI. You see, SSI is not payable to people with over $2,000 of countable resources, a number that has not changed since 1989 . Cash, savings and retirement accounts, valuable artwork, certain life insurance policies, extra cars, and everything except a few excludable items can disqualify someone from receiving SSI.

This policy is presumably meant to conserve SSI resources for those who really need it. In reality, however, it forces people to modify their behavior and keeps them from being able to handle emergencies or save for major purchases. Furthermore, the disabled members of wealthy families—in the unlikely event that they end up on SSI at all—have a variety of ways around the resource limit such as special needs trusts that are difficult to access for the poor.

Another exception to the resources limit is housing; and here, Social Security taps one of the great kegs of American racism.

declinedA home, regardless of its value, can be excluded as a resource for SSI purposes. While the aforementioned client could not save a year’s rent without triggering the resource limit, another beneficiary could own a million dollar home.

According to data from the US Census Bureau, the home-ownership rate for African Americans is 42.1 percent compared to 72.3 percent for whites. This is the effect of a long history of legalized discrimination, income inequality, predatory lending practices, limited access to credit, and good old-fashioned American violence. For anyone reading this post who has not read Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “The Case for Reparations,” I thank you for your readership and strongly encourage you to spend your time more productively.

Among SSI recipients, homeowners have a tremendous advantage over non-homeowners. When they have a little extra money, they can take care of repairs without the money counting as benefit-affecting income or a resource. If they need to move, Social Security gives them some time to sell and buy before counting the resources against them. If they want to grow vegetables in their backyard, the produce does not count as in-kind support and maintenance that would lower benefits.

Example after example of preference to homeowners is sprinkled throughout the Social Security rulebook, useless to so many African-Americans who have been excluded from the “American Dream.”

Allowing SSI recipients to have a stable source of housing through home-ownership is a good thing—it keeps a lot of people from the situation our client was in. Ultimately, it is not Social Security’s fault that American society has made it so much easier for white Americans than black Americans to buy houses and accumulate wealth. (Well, maybe a little bit. Read Coates’s article closely or continue reading this series to find out how!)

However, we need to stop compounding centuries of oppression and start resisting them. We need to allow all people on SSI to take the steps necessary for their survival and flourishing.

Congress has had the opportunity to do so through legislation such as the SSI Restoration Act of 2014 and the SSI Restoration Act of 2015 that we and others have advocated for in the past. It is time that we start enacting policies that keep people in their homes.

Blog Series: How Social Security Gets Racist Without Really Trying – Part 1

The Social Security Act (Act of August 14, 1935) [H. R. 7260] “An act to provide for the general welfare by establishing a system of Federal old-age benefits, and by enabling the several States to make more adequate provision for aged persons, blind persons, dependent and crippled children, maternal and child welfare, public health…”Social Security

Along with Medicare, to which Social Security’s success is inextricably linked, Social Security is the most successful anti-poverty measure in our country’s history.

Social Security keeps 22 million Americans out of poverty, including 15 million elderly Americans, according to research from Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and pays more money to children than any other government program. In the tattered remains of the American social safety net, Social Security remains of the strongest links.

But beneath the surface of this New Deal mainstay, there is a history, and a present reality of exclusion, discrimination, and loss.

In this blog series “How Social Security Gets Racist without Really Trying,” I will explore the ways that Social Security perpetuates, exacerbates, and is affected by structural racism.

We don’t talk about it much, compared to more obviously urgent issues like affordable housing, but helping people obtain, manage, spend, and retain benefits administered by the Social Security Administration is a huge part of our work.

About a fifth of Bread for the City’s full-time staff members work primarily on issues relating to Social Security benefits, and every program is affected by Social Security in one way or another.

At Bread, we try to examine all aspects of our work through a racial equity lens, so I will try to do that over the course of the next several weeks.SocialSecurityCardWe will explore how Social Security redistributes money to whites from African-Americans, Hispanics, and other non-white ethnic and racial groups.

This may be surprising to those who know that Social Security’s benefit formula redistributes money from high earners to low earners and that whites out-earn other groups, but we will show how other program aspects lead to white people receiving a higher benefit to contribution ratio than other groups.

We will discuss how Supplemental Security Income keeps people poor and disincentives work and savings. This program has a disproportionate number of African-Americans enrolled, but the program perpetuates racism further when special rules and exclusions benefit white people because they are more likely, as a direct effect of racist practices, to own homes and maintain normative family structures.

In this blog series, we will also examine the racist origins of the Social Security Act and examine some possibilities for the future. We will hear from some beneficiaries of Social Security’s programs, and I will try to tell the stories of some others. FDR-SS-act

One thing you won’t hear—at least not from me—is any criticism of Social Security’s employees. They are, for the most part, dedicated civil servants committed to providing for the welfare of the elderly, the disabled, the widowed, and the orphaned. They are more likely to be people of color than the general population, although non-white (and female) employees are less common in higher ranking, higher paid positions.

Furthermore, they are vastly under resourced for the task we have given them: from 1995 to 2010, Social Security staff capacity has increased by about 5.5%. In that time, the total number of beneficiaries went up 25.5%. If you think that this gap could be made up by technology, you’ve probably never waited two years for a hearing that gets dismissed because the notice was sent to your old address and the nine databases that SSA uses did not communicate after you waited 6 hours at a field office to give someone your updated address.

For all the good intentions and hard work of SSA staff, they function in a system where race prejudice combined with power, continually leads to health and social outcomes being determined by race.

So, if we don’t blame Social Security, who do we blame? Broader structures of racism? Congress? Roosevelt and the other designers of the New Deal? Ourselves?

I hope that over the course of the next few weeks, we can offer a few observations that will help answer those questions and cause you think about Social Security in a new light.

Looking Into the Future

Two Sundays ago, the combined boards of Bread for the City, Inc. and Bread Inc. (our supporting umbrella organization) had an all-day meeting with the senior staff of Bread and many of our staff members to chart Bread’s way forward over the next five years. Our planning is still in progress, but much was covered, and the essentials of our course have been laid in.

Our supporters should not worry, we will continue to do what we already do. The plan supports our mission – to alleviate the burdens of poverty and help address the conditions that cause poverty with an unchanged motto: Dignity, Respect, Service and Justice. We just plan to do more, and to do more even better than we do now.

As you know, we serve over 30,000 people in the District of Columbia each year, with a range of services from social work support to food distribution, from legal advice and representation to medical care, from free clothing to vision care, and from pre-employment trainiSE Centerng to dental care. We make a huge difference in the lives of our clients. We are committed to making that difference. And we continually expand and improve our services, offering better quality meats and fresh vegetables to ever more people across the city, expanding our medical services, and expanding the pre-employment training program so people can get a leg up on a job.

Our new strategic plan builds on our strengths. Virtually since we opened our Southeast Center on Good Hope Road in Anacostia 11 years ago, we have been at and over capacity. The need in that part of the city swamps our ability to serve it. So we are planning to at least double the size of that center. It’s an expensive and long-term project, and it will be the subject of a fund raising campaign to pay for its substantial cost, but we would not be true to our mission if we did not step up to meet the very real needs.

Our plan also includes expanding our medical, dental and vision services, continuing to improve our delivery of high quality food, streamlining and expanding our legal services, and reaching more people with pre-employment training.

Our social workers have had notable success finding housing for our clients most in need, serving as key points of contact to help them obtain public housing assistance. But because housing is one of the key factors in helping alleviate the conditions that cause poverty, and because the District is facing a crisis in affordable housing as it gentrifies, we are planning to ramp up our advocacy with DC and federal officials to ensure that DC regains the 22,000 units of affordable housing it has lost over the last decade. So as part of Bread’s focus on justice, to keep our city the kind of diverse environment that protects the most marginalized among us, Bread will initiate a directed advocacy effort, working with other housing organizations, to ensure that 22,000 affordable housing units are added back into the District’s housing mix.

And all of these efforts would not be complete without reference to racial equity. I’ve written praffordablehousing4(2)eviously about Bread’s recognition that poverty in our city is in no small part due to systemic racial inequity. We reaffirmed at our weekend retreat that Bread will continue its focus on racial equity, on training for our staff and Board members, and on efforts to affect systemic inequity based on race.

We have an obligation to affect the conditions that contribute to poverty, and although the hurdles are dauntingly high, that does not mean that we can ignore them. Three factors are the most significant in addressing and alleviating poverty: housing, education and employment.

Until recently, Bread’s major focus has been in addressing the effects of poverty: lack of access to food, clothing, medical care, legal representation and social worker assistance. And we are not backing away from that focus; indeed, we will continue to expand our services and extend our programs. But we need to do more. We are of course not in a position to build housing, to educate our youth directly, or to be an employment agency; we are, however, in a position to advocate for increased access to affordable housing, to support calls for better education, and to help position our clients for employment. All of these things can make a difference and we are committed to doing our part to help be an agent of change. So that level of advocacy, focused on housing for now, will be a new area of Bread’s efforts.

None of this could happen though, without our supporters, without the dedicated staff at Bread and without the devotion of a truly special set of Board members, who sacrifice time, money and energy to keep us going. There are no quick fixes or easy solutions to the problems we address, but with focus, effort and support we can, and will, make a difference.

Women’s Wellness Day 2015

Many of the women who walk into Bread for the City spend much of their time taking care of other people-be it children, husbands, parents, grandchildren-and have very little time left over to take care of themselves. Bread for the City’s Women’s Wellness Day provided a space for women to take a step back from their busy lives and focus on celebrating themselves with healthy food, exercise, and pampering.

On Friday June 5th, 2015, a group of women came together at the Anacostia Library to learn, grow, and celebrate themselves. Women’s Wellness Da18490258878_e0c6763cd5_oy 2015 included live music, professional relationship advice, how to travel on a tight budget, fitness exercise, and even massages. Women enjoyed learning about ways to implement self care into their lives from real experiences of peers and clients just like them.

Our very own Courtney Dowe started the day off with beautiful singing and guitar playing. Courtney’s stunning voice and inspiring lyrics prompted the women in the room to throw up their hands and clap along.

Relationship expert Aiyana Ma’at, MSW, LICSW, LICSW-C, gave important advice on how to create and maintain healthy relationships- starting with taking a look at yourself. Women spoke openly and honestly about how they implement self-care into their lives including getting plenty of sleep, praying regularly, and even implementing some herbal remedies.

Bread for the City’s Community Organizer Aja Taylor gave advice on how to travel on a tight budget- it can be done! The first step is saving- every little bit counts. Personal trainer Megan McCoy taught exercises that can even be performed in a chair to strengthen knees, back, and core muscles. Each participant left with a resistance band and exercises they could perform with it- thank you to Athleta DC for the donation!18673272442_6ed84c1211_o

ISCOPES, a George Washington University student service group, made a delicious healthy smoothie and provided easy, healthy recipes to prepare at home. At the end of the day packed with learning, women could have their nails painted and enjoy a massage to leave feeling relaxed and refreshed.

Women’s Wellness Day 2015 was a great success! It was a day full of celebrating the strong, courageous women who walk through Bread for the City’s doors every day.

View more photos from the event. (Thank you to Jessica Del Vecchio Photography for donating her services!)


Bread for the City’s WomenStrong DC is proud to be a consortium member of WomenStrong International (WSI), a new network of organizations worldwide dedicated to empowering women and girls and to sharing what works. For more, and to learn what you can do as part of this effort, see www.womenstrongintl.org.

Ms. Johnson comes home

This morning Ms. Johnson received a calendar in the mail. It was from her rental office and read “Welcome Home 2015.” Ms. Johnson smiles widely as she tells me this and says, “Isn’t that something?” This is the first time in many years that Ms. Johnson has had a place to put her calendar. As housing prices in DC have skyrocketed she has struggled to maintain housing, often forced to rely on friends or shelters. She lives with several disabling conditions that have impacted her ability to maintain employment.

Ashley Moore, a social worker with the BFC SOAR program, worked with Ms. Johnson to apply for Social Security disability benefits and about a year later she was approved. However, even with stable monthly income Ms. Johnson was unable to find housing within her budget. The federal SSI benefit is set at $733 – well below what is needed to afford a one bedroom apartment in DC.

welcomeAt Bread for the City we work daily to support the community in the constant fight for housing dignity. Our Housing Assistance Program (HAP) is often a starting place for folks thinking about long term housing stability. We understand that safe and affordable housing is the foundation necessary to thrive. We make an effort to link clients from all departments with HAP even while focusing on other projects. Ashley connected Ms. Johnson to HAP during SOAR and they assisted her in filling out applications for several local buildings. Ms. Johnson is thankful for Ashley’s help she says “She was my life saver. She is a wonderful young lady and she’s been with me for four or five years. She fought for me and I’m thankful for everything she’s done for me and I’ll never forget her.”

After receiving her SSI benefits, Ms. Johnson continued staying between friends and shelters in the area. Finally, in April 2015, her name came to the top of the wait list at one of the subsidized buildings that HAP had helped her apply for. Her rent is set at 30% of her income and she will be able to afford her housing ongoing. Ms. Johnson is fortunate, recent studies show that 64% of low income DC residents now have to devote half or more of their income to housing costs.

Ms. Johnson has benefited from many of the services offered at Bread for the City. She’s a fan of the chicken and turkey offered in our food pantry as she doesn’t eat red meat. Together with the support of our SOAR and HAP teams Ms. Johnson has a future where she doesn’t have to worry about where she will sleep. This is a simple yet profound experience that we hope to see become a reality for everyone we serve.

Your continued support of Bread for the City allows us to be here for those in need as they work towards sustained stability. As Ms. Johnson said to me today: “This problem, trying to get housing, get my life straightened out, deal with this and that, now I’m in a place where I can take care of myself. I hope Bread for the City is open for many years to come and continues helping people that need it in the nation’s capitol. It’s a wonderful program.”

Going, Going, Gone: DC’s Vanishing Affordable Housing’ DC Fiscal Policy Institute <http://www.dcfpi.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Going-Going-Gone-Rent-Burden-Final-3-6-15format-v2-3-10-15.pdf>

$24,000 MATCH on #DoMore24!

DM24_HomepageWe’re set to DO MORE in the next 24 hours:

• More to alleviate joblessness in DC
• More to support job-seekers
• And more to help free our clients from the cycle of poverty

And to make more possible, the Dweck Family has offered a challenge: if we raise $24,000 in 24 hours for our job services, they’ll match those gifts, dollar for dollar.

Now in its tenth year, Bread for the City’s Pre-Employment Program (PEP) helps unemployed and under-employed clients develop the skills necessary to secure and retain employment. We then take it a step further and offer successful graduates the chance to apply for a 6-week paid internship at Bread for the City. And this is where we need your help.

We are asking you to please give today so that more PEP graduates can benefit from a paid internship. And with the challenge, your $24 gift today will instantly double to $48–four hours of an intern’s salary.

“I got a new vision for my life, and I am very grateful to all who helped me get here,” says PEP graduate and current intern Tyron.

Choose today to make a meaningful impact on someone’s life. Your gift of $24, will immediately double and go twice as far to help us end joblessness for our clients

Let’s get working!

Thanks for the new wheels!

We schlepp a lot of food. Like, a lot. Every week, our drivers retrieve thousands of pounds of healthy, wholesome, delicious groceries from all across the city, which means our trucks get more than their fair share of wear and tear.

When it became obvious late last year that one of our two trusty box trucks wasn’t going to make it past Valentine’s Day, we reached out to our community for help covering this un-budgeted expense. And we were blown away by the response. I’m pleased to introduce our fab new truck (with lift!) in all its glory. BEHOLD!

new truck 1new truck

This would not have happened without our supporters. A special shoutout to MCN Build, WilmerHale, Clark Construction, and the Dweck Family for investing the start-up capital to make this purchase happen. We’re so grateful for all of your kindness and will repay you by collecting more food for those in need and helping more people in the years to come.

I feel like this gorgeous new addition to the team needs a nickname. Share your ideas in the comments below. I’m thinking Henrietta. She totally looks like a Henrietta.

Bread for the City Remembers Judy Stahl

Judy Stahl

Bread for the City lost a dear friend recently, Judy Stahl. Judy served Bread for 22 years as a weekly volunteer, donor, advocate, and fundraiser. She loved our clients, our staff, and her fellow volunteers. She was smart, compassionate, and fun.

I had the privilege of speaking at Judy’s memorial service, and I thought that, to honor Judy, I would share my thoughts with you. Here goes…

“Thanks to Judy’s family for allowing me to speak at today’s memorial service. I’m extremely honored.

As you know, Judy volunteered at Bread for the City for many years, often with her band of merry women, Ellen Rosenthal and Muriel Martin-Wein. At Bread we provide food, clothing, medical, legal and social services. A big part of our mission is to alleviate the pain that poverty causes.

I really only got to know Judy during the past two years. She volunteered mostly out of our Southeast Center, and I spend most of my days working out of our Northwest Center. Still, as I began to think about Judy and my remarks today, immediately part of one my favorite poems came to mind. The poem is called Success, written by Ralph Waldo Emerson. In his poem, Emerson writes,

…to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived. This is to have succeeded.

When I emailed the staff to announce that Judy had passed, Social Worker Stacey Smith replied “… this brings a tear to my heart. I really enjoyed having Judy with us…. It will not be the same. I am personally touched by her true essence and the love she showed with the baked goodies and [her] sense of humor. She has really touched my life….. I will miss her so.”

Lynda, our SE Center Director said that “despite the fact that Judy came from such a different world than most of the people we serve, she was not only committed to helping them but seemed somehow connected to them and the struggles they faced.” Lynda chuckled when she shared that “even though we told Judy that volunteers should not give client’s money directly, when she felt only cash alone could address their problem, (the need to get an ID, or pay a small fine, or turn back on a cell phone) she took money from her own purse and gave it to people. She was simply unwilling to turn away from the person when she thought she could make a difference.”

And from Emily Torruellas “[My] final memory of Judy makes me smile: after Judy got the scrapbook [we made for her]…, she called to say thanks and spent the better part of 15 minutes telling me how amazing her Bread family was and how much she valued her work with the clients and specifically, Lynda. Judy wrote us a very kind thank you note that’s still on my desk.”

Perhaps, however, Lynda summed up the staff’s feeling best when she said, “Judy was one of us. She was family.””

We love you, Judy, and we miss you.

Judy Stahl and Valentine BreitbarthJudy Celebrating SE Center 10 Year Anniversary

 

 

Missed the gala? You missed a GREAT night!

bfc-gala15-3

WOW. Just WOW! That’s all there is to say about Saturday’s Good Hope Gala. We had a blast enjoying great food, bidding on awesome auction items, dancing the night away with the Brass Connection Band, and of course, raising money to support our poverty relief services in the District.

How much money, you ask? Together, we shattered all of our goals and raised a whopping $770,000 through our Good Hope Gala. Nowbfc-gala15-2 that deserves a virtual round of applause!

Keep the applause going for the 425 guests who packed the house and kept the momentum high all night long. Our guest list included more than 30 amazing BFC clients, who inspired us on Saturday and continue to inspire us every day.

We also had a chance to share a brand new video celebrating client-led victories–check out the video here!

Our successes on Saturday and all year round wouldn’t be been possible without you: our friends and neighbors. You are behind every bag of groceries we distribute, every patient we treat, and every person to whom we provide guidance and support.

Thank you for standing with us!