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Justice & Diversity Center’s Annual Gala Raises More Than $360,000 to Support Pro Bono and Diversity Programs in Bay Area

September 29, 2017 – San Francisco -- Over 400 members of the legal community, representing over ninety firms and legal departments, were in attendance to celebrate the work of the Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) of The Bar Association of San Francisco on September 28 at JDC’s Annual Gala.  The Gala filled the Bently Reserve to near capacity as guests celebrated the 40th anniversary of JDC’s work in the community, while enjoying gourmet food, delicious drinks and extraordinary desserts.   The gala raised more than $360,000 to support the Pro Bono Legal Services Program, the Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP), and Diversity Educational Programs including School-To-College (STC), the Bay Area Minority Law Student Scholarship Program, and Law Academy. This year’s Gala Co-Chairs, David Kelly, JDC Board Member and General Counsel and Vice President for Basketball Legal Affairs, Golden State Warriors, and Roxane Polidora, Managing Partner of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman’s San Francisco office, set the tone for the evening by sharing their personal commitment to JDC’s work.

Highlights of the evening included a drawing for a signed and authenticated Golden State Warriors basketball and two guest speakers, both JDC clients, who inspired the crowd..

The first speaker put a human face on San Francisco’s housing crisis.  After 30 years as building maintenance manager, a position for which he received no pay beyond his rent-free apartment, the new owners told Mike he was “obsolete” and served him with an eviction notice.  At risk of becoming homeless, he approached HAP for help.  HAP was able to save his apartment, at an affordable rent, secure a substantial settlement, and get Mike signed up for the social security benefits that were due to him.

The next speaker— a senior at Academy High School in San Francisco, showed incredible courage by addressing over 400 adults.. Originally from Brazil, Pedro is a competitive soccer player and active member of JDC’s School-To-College Program. Pedro came to this country as a freshman in high school.  He had to adjust to a new culture, a new language, and a new school all in a very short period of time.  With the help of STC Coordinator Alvaro Carvajal, he is now ready to apply to and attend a four-year university and realize his dream of becoming a doctor.

Visit www.sfbar.org/gala to hear their stories first hand.

For more information about the Justice & Diversity Center, visit www.sfbar.org/jdc.