The mission of the North Carolina Bar Foundation is to unite the talent and generosity of our profession to be a power of greater good for the people of North Carolina.
The Foundation’s vision is a vibrant North Carolina where legal services are available to all, regardless of ability to pay; where members of the legal profession provide community service and leadership that profoundly impacts the public, thereby demonstrating the value of our profession to society; and where all North Carolinians understand and have confidence in a legal system that serves them.
To further the Foundation’s mission and vision, we uphold the values of justice, service, education and professionalism.
The Foundation Task Force on Recognition and Grant Initiatives was created following the 2021 Report Regarding Relationships between the NCBA and Systemic Racism in North Carolina. The Task Force was asked to review and make recommendations regarding the diversity and inclusion of individuals recognized by Foundation Justice Funds (the development of new Justice Funds was halted during the review); and to consider and make recommendations to the Foundation Board regarding appropriate grant and program initiatives to encourage greater equity, diversity and inclusion in the practice of law and delivery of legal services in North Carolina.
The Task Force met eight times during the 2021-22 bar year, in addition to breakout meetings with various NCBA groups. As a result of its work, the Task Force made multiple recommendations to the Foundation Board regarding the Justice Fund program and related events, the description of the Justice Fund program and Fund recognition, the development of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Fund and other steps to lay the groundwork for additional work, efforts and initiatives.
At the conclusion of the final meeting of the Task Force, a recommendation was made to adopt the following additional value (which was adopted by the Foundation Board of Directors unanimously on June 23, 2022): We value diversity, equity and inclusion. We acknowledge and are committed to addressing inequities in access to legal services and participation in the legal profession experienced by historically excluded or disadvantaged individuals and communities in North Carolina.
This value is discussed further in this Report and its addition serves to complete the mission, vision and values of the Foundation. A great deal of thanks is owed to the Task Force for their good work, as well as all those who have labored to remove barriers and address inequity.
As always, we offer our sincere and humble thanks to everyone who has given time, energy, resources and care to our many funds and programs. Significant access to justice needs exist in our state and we thank you for your help in meeting those needs, easing the pain of others and, in many cases, improving the future.
Jason M. Hensley
Executive Director, North Carolina Bar Foundation