The Elder Law and Special Needs Section (ELSNS) Board has had a carryforward of funds from one budget to the next.
While the board will use some funds in an emergency or for unforeseen circumstances, it also plans to spend funds each year to further the goals of the section, its members, and the public.
The board has a policy to set forth the use of the funds. The board plans to spend funds on the following:
Education, such as pamphlets, books, education materials, videos, or other methods to educate on elder law and special needs topics including legislation, to the members, the public, public officials, and courts. This may also include paying for national speakers to come to Wisconsin for elder law and special needs education.
Scholarships to encourage practice in the field of elder law and special needs for public interest lawyers, young lawyers, and solo practitioners, and to match scholarships offered by others such as the State Bar of Wisconsin or the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).
Recruitment of attorneys to practice in the field of elder law and special needs, which might include sponsorship of events.
Sponsorship of events and media to promote elder law and special needs attorneys or issues that we care about. This might include State Bar of Wisconsin events, speakers, or publications.
Donations or grants to support nonprofit public interest firms or agencies who serve the elderly and those with disabilities.
Increase visibility of members such as supporting their events or organizations that are consistent with ELSNS priorities.
Advocacy, both legislative and case related, before public officials consistent with the State Bar policies, and with necessary board approval, such as amicus briefs, lobbying, etc.
Grant Applications Accepted
Each year the section seeks grant applications that meet these requirements. The Elder Law and Special Needs Section Board considers spending at least 5 percent of the carryforward funds each year to ensure that they are serving their members with the funds, keeping in mind the desire to maintain dues at a reasonable amount for members.
Marquette 2018, is an associate attorney with Becker, Hickey & Poster, S.C., in Milwaukee, where she practices in family law, elder law, estate planning, special needs planning, trust administration, guardianship, and probate matters.
Each fall, the section notifies members in the ELSNS journal of the opportunity to seek funds. All grant requests should be submitted to the section chair by Dec. 31, in anticipation of the January board meeting. The subcommittee meets in January before the board meeting to discuss the requests and make a recommendation to the board at the January board meeting.
At the January meeting, the board determines funding under the carryforward policy, so funds can be disbursed in that fiscal year.
If you or a group you are involved with has a need for funds that meets the policy, you may submit a grant request at any time. Nothing prevents consideration of other requests that come in during other times of the year, but the goal is to have decisions made early enough for both funding in the current fiscal year and consideration in the budgeting process.
Examples of Past Grants
Examples of grants the board has previously supported include $2,000 for the Advocacy Day in May. This was proposed by Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources, Inc., and Advocacy Day helps educate the state legislators about priority issues affecting older adults and caregivers in Wisconsin.
The board also supported a grant of $2,500 for The Arc Wisconsin. The Arc Wisconsin works to promote awareness and understanding of ABLE accounts by families that include a person with a disability.
Finally, the board supported $2,000 for Legal Action of Wisconsin’s (LAW) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. LAW DEI takes steps to foster a diverse staff attorney by participating in the State Bar’s Diversity Clerkship Program.
For More Information and How to Apply
Consider submitting a grant to help any of the policy goals. Further information on the carryforward policy is available to section members in the October 2020 Elder Law and Special Needs Journal (log in required). Non-section members may email section liaison Jane Corkery for more information. Funds are available to support Elder and Special Needs issues.