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            Phone: (212) 760-2554 x485     Email:

            Leah Margulies, Project Director, LawHelp/NY
            City Bar Justice Center
            Phone:  (212) 382-4712        Email:

For immediate release

LawHelp/NY Consortium is Named Finalist for $250,000 Nonprofit Collaboration Prize

January 15, 2009 - New York – The LawHelp/NY Consortium, which developed and runs, a one-stop legal information portal for low-income New Yorkers, has been named one of eight finalists for The Collaboration Prize, a national cash award of $250,000 presented to an outstanding model of nonprofit collaboration.

The Lodestar Foundation, in association with the Arizona-Indiana-Michigan (AIM) Alliance, created The Collaboration Prize in an effort to demonstrate how nonprofit resources can be used more effectively to create greater impact. The LawHelp/NY Consortium, which is made up of 11 legal aid, bar and pro bono organizations throughout the state, was selected from a competitive pool of over 644 U.S.-based nominations.

“LawHelp/NY has helped tens of thousands of low-income New Yorkers get access to crucial legal services as well as high quality resources they need to understand their rights,” said the Hon. Juanita Bing Newton, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Justice Initiatives for the New York State Unified Court System.  “In addition, it provides a worthy model of cooperative decision-making and resource sharing.”

The Consortium was nominated by Judge Newton, whose office partnered with the LawHelp/NY Consortium to create a Going to Court channel for LawHelp/NY, and promotes awareness of LawHelp/NY among litigants without lawyers.

By pooling resources, the Consortium has made LawHelp/NY into the leading online destination for those seeking help with legal problems ranging from eviction, foreclosure and internet fraud, to child custody, domestic violence and discrimination. In 2008, the LawHelp/NY site had approximately 280,000 visitors and 1.6 million page views. 

LawHelp/NY has provided a model for other collaborations.  Since 2001, Pro Bono Net, a founding member of the Consortium, has replicated the LawHelp model in 27 additional states as part of its mission of increasing access to justice through the innovative use of technology.

The LawHelp/NY Consortium consists of City Bar Justice Center, Legal Services NYC, The Legal Aid Society of New York, Pro Bono Net, Volunteers of Legal Service, Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, Empire Justice Center, New York State Bar Association, Legal Assistance of Western New York, Legal Services of the Hudson Valley and Nassau/Suffolk Law Services.

The Collaboration Prize winner will be announced on March 5, 2009 at a seminar in Scottsdale, Arizona on nonprofit effectiveness hosted by Lodestar and the Association of Small Foundations. The winner – chosen by a Final Selection Panel of leaders from the nonprofit and business worlds – will provide the most successful model of collaboration meeting the prize’s criteria (as described on the award’s Web site, All eight finalists will be invited to attend the seminar and to participate in panel discussions to share their experiences.

The announcement of the winner will come at a time when many nonprofits are desperately seeking ways to remain viable in an increasingly harsh fundraising environment.

“The economic crisis has decreased charitable giving and that has dramatically increased interest in collaborations and mergers among nonprofits, particularly with respect to eliminating duplication and sharing resources,” says Lodestar board chairman, Jerry Hirsch. “Though such strategies can be an imperative during this economic crisis, collaborations and mergers are best practices that should be considered even in the best of economic times.”

To speak with someone from The Lodestar Foundation, the AIM Alliance or any of the other finalists, contact Claudia Gunter at or (212) 584-5000 x 226. For more information on The Collaboration Prize or for more details on the finalists, please visit

The other seven Collaboration Prize Finalists are:
(in alphabetical order)
1.    Cancer Vaccine Collaborative, New York, New York, Cancer research collaboration promoting learning over competition
2.    Chattanooga Museums Collaboration, Chattanooga, Tennessee,  Administrative collaboration among The Creative Discovery Museum, The Hunter Museum of American Art and the Tennessee Aquarium
3.    Crittenton Women’s Union, Boston, Massachusetts, Merger of two organizations serving low-income women
4.    Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, Texas, Merger among the Dallas Children’s Museum, The Science Place and Dallas Museum of Natural History
5.    Ready, Set, Parent, Buffalo and Lackawanna, New York, Collaboration between organizations supporting at-risk new parents
6.    ShoreBank Enterprise Cascadia, Ilwaco, Washington, Merger of two community development financial institutions
7.    YMCA/JCC Integration, Sylvania, Ohio (Greater Toledo), Merger of Jewish Community Center and Young Men’s Christian Association in Greater Toledo

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